Am. Ins. Co. v. R&Q Reins. Co., No. 16-cv-03044-JST, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141467 (N.D. Calif. Oct. 12, 2016)

A California federal court granted a reinsurer’s motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The dispute arises from the settlement of asbestos losses that were ceded to several facultative certificates. The reinsurer refused to pay the billing based on late notice and the cedent commenced an action for breach of contract and declaratory relief.

In granting the reinsurer’s motion to dismiss, the court found that there was no general or specific personal jurisdiction over the reinsurer under California law. As to general jurisdiction, it was clear, said the court, that the reinsurer was not “at home” in California, in spite of its status as a California licensee. The court also found no specific jurisdiction given the limited contacts by an out-of-state party with an in-state party. The court held that the establishment of an agreement with a California entity alone is insufficient for the exercise of specific jurisdiction. In granting the motion to dismiss, the court also granted the cedent leave to amend the complaint to add facts establishing personal jurisdiction.