Lincoln Memorial Insurance Company and Hannover Life Reinsurance Company of America became engaged in a long-running reinsurance dispute, arising from an allegedly fraudulent scheme by Lincoln and others in the sale of pre-need funeral service contracts. Hannover reinsured some of those contracts. The matter was arbitrated, and Lincoln claim that Hannover wrongfully accused Lincoln of fraud and intentional misconduct during the court of that arbitration.

Ultimately, Lincoln became insolvent and entered into receivership in Texas. Lincoln asserted that Hannover’s conduct in the arbitration was a factor in driving it to insolvency. The Texas Department of Insurance appointed a receiver and issued a permanent injunction, which, among other things, enjoined further arbitration against Lincoln, before the arbitrator ever issued an award.

The Special Deputy Receiver, Jo Ann Howard & Associates, thereafter brought claims in federal court against several entities alleging, among other things, RICO, breach of fiduciary duty, and gross negligence, which purportedly caused or contributed to Lincoln’s insolvency.

As we previously reported, one of the defendants in the action brought by the receiver, National City Bank, subpoenaed the arbitrator in the Hannover Re arbitration, seeking his un-issued award. National City also asserted several special defenses to the receiver’s suit, including failure to mitigate damages. The receiver moved to quash the subpoena and to strike National City’s failure to mitigate affirmative defense. The court granted both motions.

National City thereafter moved for reconsideration and clarification of the Court’s order. Construing the motion as a Rule 60(b) motion to amend, the Court held that National City was not entitled to the “extraordinary relief” available under that rule, as it had not met the high burden of demonstrating “exceptional circumstances” warranting the correction of any error, even if a substantial error had been made, which, the Court duly noted, was not the case. Jo Ann Howard & Associates, P.C. v. Cassity (USDC E.D. Mo. July 15, 2014).