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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Asbestos Products Company Demands that ACE Unit Indemnify 17, 2011 - Wayne, New Jersey  A New Jersey manufacturer has asked a federal court to order Century Indemnity Co. to shoulder its legal fees stemming from its drawn-out battles against environmental lawsuits.

G-I Holdings Inc. accused Century of breach of contract and bad faith dealing in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Like its parent, ACE, Century is based in Philadelphia.

G-I, of Wayne, N.J., has been in court since the mid-1980s after plaintiffs started to accuse it of injuries caused by asbestos-containing building products that it used to manufacture. G-I, which was formed from GAF Corp., carried a general liability insurance policy between 1953 and 1975 that was issued by Century’s predecessor, Insurance Company of North America.

The company alleged that after many years of paying for legal bills run up in the lawsuits, Century “has now reversed course and, in bad faith, is refusing to pay for G-I’s defense” of a $500 million lawsuit filed against it by the New York City Housing Authority. Century is reportedly balking despite a 1987 agreement that its predecessor signed as a result of a lawsuit the manufacturer filed against its insurers to compel them to defend it and pay its legal bills.

G-I said that Century has asserted “baseless” objections to reimbursing it hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees. In one instance it said that Century even challenged G-I’s status as a beneficiary of the 1987 defense agreement.

Century has allegedly contended that G-I’s legal bills were too high. But G-I said the insurer has not paid what it might consider to be reasonable.

G-I asked the court to rule that Century has a duty to defend it, and it has a duty to abide by the 1987 defense pact. It also wants to court to rule the Century must indemnify it.

G-I asked for unspecified damages and legal fees from Century. It also seeks compensatory damages from three of its causes of action.

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