The Northern District of Illinois recently granted a motion to remand filed by an insolvent insurer’s assignee because the removal contravened the forum-selection clauses of the reinsurance agreements at issue. Pine Top Receivables of Illinois LLC (PTRIL) sued Transfercom Ltd. (Transfercom) in Illinois state court for breach of contract and certain state law claims. Pine Top Insurance Company’s rights to certain accounts receivable due from reinsurers were assigned to PTRIL when the insurer became insolvent. Transfercom was one of the reinsurers that was indebted to Pine Top Insurance Company.
Transfercom removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and PTRIL filed a motion to remand. PTRIL argued, and the court agreed, that the reinsurance agreements contained an agreed-upon clause to accept plaintiff’s choice of forum. The court noted that this clause meant that Transfercom agreed to “submit to the jurisdiction of any Court of competent jurisdiction within the United States.” Further, the court held that “[t]his clause’s ‘plain and ordinary meaning’ constitutes a ‘clear and unequivocal’ waiver of Transfercom’s removal rights.” As a freely negotiated forum selection clause, the court held, the parties must be bound by it. Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC. v. Transfercom, Ltd., No. 15-CV-8908 (USDC N.D. Ill. Dec. 14, 2015).