Case Summaries - Insurance
The attorneys at Snyder Miller & Orton LLP have specialized in insurance coverage and recovery matters. Below, please find summaries of some of our notable cases and see our insurance recovery page for more information about this area of our practice. To speak with us about your insurance matter, contact us to schedule a consultation.
Plant Insulation Co. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., et al.
Snyder, Miller & Orton represents Plant Insulation Company in a declaratory judgment action currently pending in San Francisco Superior Court. Plant, a defendant in several thousand pending asbestos bodily injury and wrongful death lawsuits, seeks a court declaration interpreting over forty years of policies issued by fourteen of its primary and excess liability insurers, including OneBeacon American Insurance Company, USF&G, Fireman's Fund, ACE Fire and ACE P&C and AIG member companies American Home Assurance, Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania and Granite State. The lawsuit asks the court to determine whether, and to what extent, insurance coverage is available for the asbestos cases against Plant. The case involves the duty to defend and indemnify, trigger and scope of coverage, application of non-products coverage, and the alleged
exhaustion of the policies. The firm has tried two phases of the case. The potential value of the insurance in issue is in excess of one billion dollars.
In re Thorpe Insulation Company
SMO served as Special Insurance Counsel to Thorpe Insulation Company. SMO assisted in the negotiation of settlements with Thorpe's insurance carriers, advised Thorpe with respect to seeking and obtaining insurance coverage for asbestos-related lawsuits, and analyzed potentially responsive coverage. Settlements in excess of $600 million were obtained.
Our client, a sub-contractor, was virtually the only defendant left in a construction defect case. Despite repeated requests, the insurers were either refusing to offer settlement monies or refusing to provide coverage at all. An insurer filed a motion seeking declaratory relief to determine that it had no duty to defend or indemnify our client.
We represented the client in the ultimate settlement of the construction defect case. The client was not required to pay any more in to the settlement. The insurers tried to recover back from the client the settlement money they had paid. We filed a cross complaint for declaratory judgment, breach of insurance contract, and insurer bad faith. Ultimately, our client was not required to pay out any money for settlement of the underlying construction defect case, nor was it required to pay out any money in the various insurer actions against it.
Western MacArthur Litigation
SMO lawyers represented Western MacArthur Co. and MacArthur Co. in protracted litigation over insurance coverage for asbestos liabilities. As a distributor and applicator of Johns-Manville asbestos-containing products, the MacArthur Companies were sued in thousands of asbestos injury and death claims. SMO lawyers, notably Steve Snyder, Jennifer Shoda and Rebecca Kassekert, worked for years on various aspects of the coverage disputes, culminating in reorganization of the companies under section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code and recovery of over 2 billion dollars from several insurance carriers.
Rebecca Kassekert represented API, Inc. in its coverage dispute with several major insurance carriers, including Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, OneBeacon American Insurance Company, St. Paul Fire and Marine, Great American and United States Fire. Ms. Kassekert was on the trial team which established coverage under "missing policies" issued by General Accident Insurance Company and obtained a jury verdict of $52.5 million in favor of the policyholder. The representation included two appeals and a Bankruptcy Code section 524(g) reorganization of API.