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ACE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY et al v. ENSTAR (US) INC. et al

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Case Number: 
2:14-mc-00171 Search Pacer
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Date Filed: 
Jul 8 2014

ACE PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY and ACE FIRE
UNDERWRITERS INSURANCE COMPANY'S PETITION TO COMPEL
ARBITRATION AND FOR AN ORDER DIRECTING SELECTION OF THE UMPIRE
Petitioners, Ace Property & Casualty Insurance Company and ACE Fire Underwriters
Insurance Company (collectively "ACE"), seek an order compelling Enstar (US) Inc. and Enstar
(EU) Limited ("Enstar") to arbitrate a dispute between the parties in accordance with the terms
of a reinsurance contract known as the Blanket Excess of Loss Cover, effective July 1, 1982 (the
"Global Slip Treaty"), as amended by the parties for this dispute by their April 8, 2014 Umpire
Selection Agreement, and directing Enstar to complete the process for selecting the neutral
umpire for this arbitration.
There is no disagreement between the parties that the underlying dispute is subject to
arbitration under the arbitration provision in the Global Slip Treaty. Likewise, there is no
disagreement that the umpire for the arbitration panel is to be selected under the Umpire
Selection Agreement, the terms of which were negotiated specifically for this dispute and have
already begun to be implemented by the parties. The next step in the Umpire Selection
Agreement is the obligation to rank the four remaining candidates to select the neutral umpire, a
step which Enstar refuses to complete.
Thus, the parties are at a temporary impasse and ACE seeks this Court's intervention to
order Enstar to proceed with the next step in the agreed umpire selection process. In support of
its petition, ACE relies upon the Memorandum of Law filed with this petition and further states
as follows:

THE PARTIES
1. ACE Property and Casualty Insurance Company is a Pennsylvania insurance
company with its principal place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2. ACE Fire Underwriters Insurance Company is a Pennsylvania insurance company
with its principal place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3. ENSTAR (U.S.) Inc. is a Delaware company with its principal place of business
in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is responsible for the run-off and management of certain United
States-domiciled insurance companies, including Seaton Insurance Company and Constellation
Reinsurance Company, which are citizens of Rhode Island and New York, respectively.
4. ENSTAR (EU.) Limited is non-U. S. company with its principal place of business
in Hamilton, Bermuda. It is responsible for the run-off and management of certain non-US
insurance companies.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
5. This Petition is submitted under Chapters 1 and 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9
U.S.C. §§ 1-16 and §§201-208.'
Chapter 2 of the FAA provides for enforcement of the New York Convention on the
Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of June 10, 1958 (the "New York
Convention").
6. Both the FAA, § 4, and The New York Convention, as implemented by Chapter 2
of the FAA, provide this Court with the power to compel arbitration.
7. Section 4 states: "A party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect, or refusal of
another to arbitrate under a written agreement for arbitration may petition any United States
district court which, save for such agreement, would have jurisdiction under title 28, in a civil
action or in admiralty of the subject matter of a suit arising out of the controversy between the
parties, for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such
agreement."
8. This Court has jurisdiction over Enstar (US) Inc. and its United States domiciled
insurance companies, Seaton Insurance Company and Constellation Reinsurance Company,
under 28 U.S.C. 1332, because each are citizens of Delaware, Rhode Island and New York,
respectively, and ACE is a citizen of Pennsylvania, and the amount in controversy exceeds
$75,000. Diversity of citizenship also applies to Enstar's non-US owned and managed
companies as well, but original jurisdiction is also available under 9 U.S.C. § 203.
9. Section 203 of the FAA states: "An action or proceeding falling under the
Convention shall be deemed to arise under the laws and treaties of the United States. The district
courts of the United States (including the courts enumerated in section 460 of title 28) shall have
original jurisdiction over such an action or proceeding, regardless of the amount in controversy."
10. Section 206 of the New York Convention specifically provides that "[a] court
having jurisdiction under this chapter may direct that arbitration be held in accordance with the
agreement at any place therein provided for, whether that place is within or without the United
States." 9 U.S.C. § 206.
11. Venue is proper in this district because Section 4 of the FAA provides that a party
aggrieved by another's failure to arbitrate under a written agreement "may petition any United
States district court which, save for such agreement, would have jurisdiction under Title 28, in a
civil action ... of the subject matter of a suit arising out of the controversy between the parties" 9
U.S.C. § 4. In the absence of an agreement to arbitrate between the parties, ACE could have sued
Enstar in this District.

BACKGROUND
12. In a reinsurance contract, a reinsurer typically agrees to indemnify the reinsured
with respect to a portion of the reinsured's obligations under an insurance policy issued by the
reinsured, in exchange for a portion of the premium paid to the reinsured for the underlying
policy.
13. Under a type of reinsurance contract known as a "treaty," the reinsurer assumes
all or part of an entire category or "book" of insurance policies issues by the reinsured company.
14. Effective July 1, 1982, various insurance and reinsurance companies that are now
owned or managed by Enstar participated as reinsurers of ACE's predecessors under the Global
Slip Treaty. (See Exhibit 1 to the Declaration of Larry P. Schiffer, dated July 7, 2014 ("Schiffer
Dec.").)
15. Under the Global Slip Treaty, ACE was permitted to cede and Enstar was
obligated to accept a percentage of ACE's excess liabilities. (Id. at Art. 1) The Global Slip
Treaty requires that disputes between ACE and Enstar be submitted to arbitration as follows:
[a]s a precedent to any right of action hereunder, if any dispute shall arise
between the Company and the Reinsurers with reference to the interpretation of
this Agreement or their rights with respect to any transaction involved, whether
such dispute arises before or after termination of this Agreement, such dispute,
upon the written request of either party, shall be submitted to three arbitrators, one
to be chosen by each party, and the third by the two so chosen. If either party
refuses or neglects to appoint an arbitrator within thirty days after the receipt of
written notice from the other party requesting it to do so, the requesting party may
appoint two arbitrators. If the two arbitrators fail to agree in the selection of a
third arbitrator within thirty days of their appointment, each of them shall name
two, of whom the other shall decline one and the decision shall be made by
drawing lots.
(Id at Art. 21).
16. ACE has settled and paid asbestos claims arising from two insurance policies
issued by ACE to the Plant Insulation Company.
17. These insurance policies come within the coverage of the Global Slip Treaty and
ACE submitted reinsurance billings to Enstar for its share of the Plant Insulation losses.
18. Enstar has refused to pay the amounts billed.
19. On November 11, 2013, ACE demanded arbitration against Enstar under the
arbitration clause in Global Slip Treaty because of Enstar's non-payment of the Plant Insulation
loss as billed. (See Ex. 2 to Schiffer Dec.)2
20. On November 18, 2013, in-house counsel for Enstar responded to ACE's
Arbitration Demand on behalf of all Enstar managed companies, thereby acknowledging that the
present dispute is ripe for arbitration. (See Ex. 4 to Schiffer Dec.)
21. Enstar's outside counsel also responded to ACE's Arbitration Demand on
November 25, 2013, further confirming that the present dispute is ripe for arbitration. (See Ex. 5
to Schiffer Dec.)
22. On December 16, 2013, in keeping with the terms of the Global Slip Treaty and
as agreed between the parties, and further acknowledging that the dispute between the parties
2
On November 25, 2013, ACE amended its arbitration demand to rectify the inadvertent clerical
error in not originally demanding arbitration on behalf of both ACE Property & Casualty
Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, ACE Fire Underwriters Insurance
Company. (See Ex. 3 to Schiffer Dec.) The billings from ACE to Enstar expressly included the
amounts due for both ACE companies.
should be resolved in the arbitration commenced by ACE's Arbitration Demand, Enstar
appointed Michael L. Cohen as its arbitrator. (See Ex. 6 to Schiffer Dec.)
23. Also on December 16, 2013, ACE appointed its arbitrator, but on December 20,
2013, replaced its original arbitrator with Paul Dassenko as its arbitrator. (See Ex. 7 to Schiffer
Dec.)
24. Enstar also entered into a highly customized written Umpire Selection Agreement
with ACE on April 8, 2014, following negotiations that began on November 26, 2013. (See Ex. 8
to Schiffer Dec.)
25. The Umpire Selection Agreement provides that it replaces the portion in the
arbitration clause "contained in the Blanket Excess of Loss Contract (Layers 1, 2 and 3) that
directs the two party-appointed arbitrators to select a 'third arbitrator,' and sets forth a procedure
to follow when the two arbitrators fail to agree on the selection of the third arbitrator."
26. A key feature of the customized Umpire Selection Agreement is a provision that
eliminates many of the experienced candidates that each party might have otherwise nominated
to act as neutral umpire. For example, under the Umpire Selection Agreement the parties agreed
not to:
. . . nominate any Umpire Candidate who has previously served as an expert
witness, arbitrator or umpire in any prior reinsurance arbitration between the
Parties and their affiliates within the past 7 years. . . . This provision, however,
shall not preclude the Umpire in this dispute from serving as an Umpire in
disputes between any one of the Parties, their affiliates or counsel and another
party not related to the Parties in this arbitration. . . .
(Ex. 8 to Schiffer Dec.)
27. As provided for in the Umpire Selection Agreement, each party was to name, and
did name, four qualified neutral umpire candidates and were to jointly send a mutually agreeable
form of umpire questionnaire to each of the eight umpire candidates via e-mail.
28. Upon receipt of all completed umpire questionnaires, "each Party will strike two
(2) names from the other Part's [sic] list of four (4) Umpire Candidates." (Id.)
29. The parties were to then rank the remaining candidates and the umpire candidate
with the lowest combined ranking will serve as the umpire. (Id.)
30. The parties simultaneously exchanged lists of umpire candidates on April 14,
2014.3
31. The parties then negotiated an umpire questionnaire, which was sent to the umpire
candidates on April 28, 2014. (See Ex. 9 to Schiffer Dec.)
32. Prior to sending the questionnaire, Enstar replaced one of its nominees.
Subsequent to sending the questionnaire, ACE replaced one of its nominees. A dispute arose
concerning the qualifications of one of Enstar's nominees, and Enstar eventually agreed to
replace that nominee as well.
33. As required by the Umpire Selection Agreement and as agreed by the parties after
all the replacement candidates had completed their umpire questionnaires, on June 3, 2014, the
parties each struck two candidates from the other party's list of nominees.
34. The next step in the umpire selection process is for each party to rank the four
remaining neutral umpire candidates.
35. On the same day that the parties exchanged the strikes under the Umpire Selection
Agreement, both counsel asked each other when the other party would be ready to exchange the
rankings of the remaining four candidates so the neutral umpire could be chosen.
3
The umpire candidate nomination letters, the names of the candidates, including the candidate
at issue here, and e-mails containing the parties' strikes have not been included as exhibits or
have been redacted because disclosure would alert the potential candidates to the identity of the
nominating party and jeopardize the neutrality of the umpire.
36. That evening one of the remaining four umpire candidates advised the parties that
he had been selected as a neutral umpire in a different reinsurance arbitration between ACE and
an unrelated reinsurer, but where the underlying claim was the same claim at issue in the
arbitration between ACE and Enstar. (See Ex. 10 to Schiffer Dec. (redacted).)
37. The Umpire Selection Agreement provides guidance for such a circumstance and
allows candidates to remain eligible to act as a neutral umpire in other disputes that involve one
of the parties: "[t]his provision, however, shall not preclude the Umpire in this dispute from
serving as an Umpire in disputes between any one of the Parties, their affiliates or counsel and
another party not related to the Parties in this arbitration." (Ex. 8 to Schiffer Dec.)
38. On June 5, 2014, counsel for ACE e-mailed counsel for Enstar indicating that
ACE was ready to exchange the rankings of the remaining four candidates that day. (See Ex. 11
to Schiffer Dec.)
39. Instead of agreeing to exchange rankings, counsel for Enstar asked if ACE would
agree to a replacement of that nominee with another umpire candidate. On June 13, 2014,
counsel for ACE advised counsel for Enstar that ACE would not agree to a replacement of that
umpire candidate, primarily because the umpire selection process had already winnowed down
the candidates and this candidate was not disqualified under the carefully drafted limitations of
the Umpire Selection Agreement. (See Ex. 12 to Schiffer Dec. (redacted).)
40. Counsel for ACE reiterated the request for a date to exchange the rankings of the
remaining four remaining neutral umpire candidates. (Id.)
41. Counsel for Enstar has continued to delay in acting on that obligation. (See Ex.
13 to Schiffer Dec. (redacted).)
42. Section 5 of the FAA provides that if an arbitration agreement contains a
provision "for a method of naming or appointing an arbitrator or arbitrators or an umpire, such
method shall be followed." 9 U.S.C. § 5
43. Under Section 208 of the New York Convention, "Chapter 1 [of the FAA] applies
to actions and proceedings brought under [the New York Convention] to the extent that chapter
is not in conflict with [the New York Convention]." 9 U.S.C. § 208.
44. The Global Slip Treaty (Ex. 1 to the Schiffer Dec), as amended solely for this
dispute by the parties' Umpire Selection Agreement (Ex.8 to the Schiffer Dec), provides the
method for selection of the neutral umpire.
45. Enstar willingly participated in the agreed-upon method for the selection of the
umpire up until the present delay.
46. The parties each nominated four umpire candidates and struck two candidates
from the other's list.
47. All that has to happen to select the neutral umpire is for the parties to rank the
remaining candidates and the candidate with the lowest combined ranking will serve as the
neutral umpire.
48. The Umpire Selection Agreement also has a tie-breaking mechanism. (Ex. 8 to the
Schiffer Dec.)
49. Although Enstar exchanged lists of umpire candidates with ACE and exchanged
lists of strikes, Enstar has delayed its ranking the remaining four candidates unless a replacement
is made for one candidate, a candidate it no longer likes, because of his separate and coincidental
appointment for the neutral umpire role in another arbitration.
50. Nothing in the Umpire Selection Agreement bars the candidate from serving as a
neutral umpire in this case just because he has been selected as a neutral umpire in another,
similar case. (Id.)
51. Consistent with Section 5 of the FAA and Section 206 of the New York
Convention, this Court should direct Enstar to complete the umpire selection process as required
under the Umpire Selection Agreement.
52. Enstar should be required to rank the remaining four umpire candidates, including
the candidate Enstar wants to see replaced, so that the neutral umpire in this case may be chosen
as agreed to by the parties.

REQUEST FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, ACE has properly demanded arbitration under the Global Slip Treaty,
Enstar does not contest that the dispute concerning the Plant Insulation loss is arbitrable, and the
contract provides a method for umpire selection, as supplemented by the parties Umpire
Selection Procedure, the Court should enforce the clear terms of the Global Slip Treaty and the
Umpire Selection Agreement. For the reasons stated above and in the accompanying
memorandum of law, ACE requests that this Court enter an Order:
1. Directing that the arbitration commenced by ACE's proceed forthwith
before a single arbitration panel consisting of Paul Dassenko, Michael L.
Cohen, and an neutral umpire selected under the Umpire Selection
Agreement agreed to by the parties;
2. Directing that Enstar immediately rank the four remaining umpire
candidates, including the candidate that Enstar wants to see replaced, and
proceed forthwith to select a neutral umpire as agreed in the Umpire
Selection Agreement; and
3. Directing Enstar to pay ACE its reasonable attorney fees and costs
incurred because of the filing of this Petition.

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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