A group of litigants involved in two reinsurance-related lawsuits agreed to de-escalate the disputes by voluntarily withdrawing certain motions and claims in each case.

In the first lawsuit (National Indemnity Co. v. Stonewall Insurance Co., Case No. 08 Civ. 3718 (USDC S.D.N.Y.)), National Indemnity sued Stonewall Insurance and Seaton Insurance for allegedly violating confirmed arbitration awards and judgments by, among other things, demanding rearbitration of a claim for rescission of a reinsurance agreement. National Indemnity sought declaratory and injunctive relief precluding Stonewall and Seaton from further violating the awards and judgments and from rearbitrating the matter. In response, Stonewall and Seaton filed a motion to stay and to compel arbitration. The motion argued that “NICO’s complaint should be seen for what it is: an attempt to preempt arbitration by masquerading as arbitrable defense as an affirmative claim for relief.”

In the second lawsuit (National Indemnity Co. v. Greenwich Street Investments II, LLC, Case No. 08 Civ. 4067 (USDC S.D.N.Y.)), National Indemnity claimed that a group holding companies (collectively, the “Dukes Place” companies) operating under the domination of Greenwich Street Investments – a group of private equity/hedge fund investors – purchased Seaton during Seaton’s run-off, and agreed to purchase Stonewall if National Indemnity agreed to provide retroactive reinsurance agreements similar to that issued to Seaton. Although National Indemnity assumed Seaton’s and Stonewall’s liabilities, according to National Indemnity, Dukes Place and Enstar Group hatched a scheme to coerce National Indemnity into relinquishing its contractual right to be claims servicer of Seaton and Stonewall in the event of a change of control of Seaton or Stonewall, notwithstanding Duke Place’s and Enstar’s alleged fiduciary duties to National Indemnity.

In the second lawsuit,National Indemnity asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, interference with a contract, and inducing a breach of contract. The defendants Dukes Place and Enstar subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the fiduciary duty claims.

As noted, however, agreements were reached to reduce the litigation. In the first lawsuit, the parties stipulated that any reply papers filed in support of the motion to stay and to compel arbitration would be adjourned until February 1, 2009, or fourteen days after a decision by the court on any motion to dismiss the counterclaims that would be filed in the second lawsuit. In the second lawsuit, National Indemnity agreed to withdraw its claim for inducing a breach of contract, and Dukes Place and Enstar withdrew their motion to dismiss the breach of fiduciary duty claims without prejudice.