A New York federal district judge denied Plaintiffs McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP (“McKenna”) and Vincent W. Sedmak (“Sedmak”) motions for summary judgment which sought to stop an arbitration action from Ironshore Specialty Insurance Company (“Ironshore”).
Five years ago, Eidos, LLC (“Eidos”), with McKenna serving as counsel, obtained a $20 million loan from Stairway Capital Management II LP (“Stairway”) to finance an enforcement litigation program. As a precondition for the issuance of the loan, Ironshore provided a loss reimbursement policy in case the original loan was not paid back. The arbitration provision in that policy provided the framework for this litigation. Ironshore refused to pay Eidos pursuant to the loss reimbursement policy due to the alleged misuse of loan funds from Sedmak. Ironshore sued to compel arbitration under the policy and McKenna and Sedmak simultaneously moved for summary judgment. As both McKenna and Sedmak did not sign the loss reimbursement policy agreement, the court noted that the arbitration provision therein would only be enforced under the following theories–1) incorporation by reference; 2) assumption; 3) agency; 4) veil-piercing/alter ego; and 5) estoppel.
The court found “no triable issue as to whether plaintiffs have directly benefited from the Policy, or as to whether McKenna was an intended third-party beneficiary of the Policy and knowingly accepted benefits stemming from the Policy.” The court noted that McKenna was estopped from denying arbitration as they were the direct recipient of over $11 million in legal fees. Furthermore, as part of the loan was used to pay Sedmak’s salary and certain loan proceeds were transferred to a corporation owned by Sedmak, Sedmak was a third party beneficiary and therefore could not contest Ironshore’s right to arbitration. McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP v. Ironshore Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-CV-6633 KBF, 2015 WL 144190, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2015).