Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Century Indemnity Co., No. 6:13-CV-995, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162070 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 13, 2019). 

According to the complaint, after the cedent paid claims under its primary policies, a reinsurer refused to pay it under their 1973 and 1975 certificates. Cedent sued for breach of contract. Before trial, each party filed several motions in limine, seeking to exclude various evidence. This particular decision addressed no less than 22 of the parties’ motions.

The court indicated that it was proper to grant a motion in limine only when the evidence is so clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds. While the court’s ruling was near evenly split between granting the motions and denying them without prejudice, a few common themes emerged.

The court consistently determined that evidence and arguments from other cases could not be used in this case, including how the policy language had been interpreted, as well as the cedent’s disputes with other reinsurers. Nor was evidence relating to the lack of aggregate limits in the underlying primary policies relevant to this dispute. Next, evidence of the parties’ litigation reserves had no place in the trial. The court also precluded the reinsurer from arguing that another reinsurer was actually responsible for the cedent’s claims, even though neither party had located the formal 1975 reinsurance agreement.

Following a jury trial, on October 1, 2019, the court entered judgment in favor of the cedent, which included a significant award of prejudgment interest. The reinsurer filed two post-trial motions, both of which have been fully briefed and remain pending. One asked the court to correct the method used to calculate prejudgment interest, and the other asked that the court enter judgment in its favor as a matter of law.