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

INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA et al v. SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION, LLC et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
1:11-cv-07736 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Insurance Company of North America
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Southern District of New York
Date Filed: 
Oct 31 2011

"13. Petitioners and respondents Novartis and BASF (through its predecessor Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation) entered into a Settlement Agreement and Release effective January 13,1999. The agreement was finalized after a two day mediation in New York City. Among other things, the settlement agreement resolved a litigation between Petitioners and Novartis and BASF's predecessor Ciba-Geigy Corporation, which was pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County, entitled Ciba- Geigy Corporation v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, et al, No. L-97515-87. In that action, Ciba-Geigy sought insurance coverage for liabilities arising from numerous contaminated sites throughout the United States. See In re Environmental Ins. Declaratory Judgment Actions, 149 N.J. 278, 288, 693 A.2d 844, 848-49 (1997) (summarizing nature of the Ciba-Geigy action).

14. The Settlement Agreement provided that any dispute relating to the agreement would be resolved through arbitration in New York City and that Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq. would be the sole arbitrator. A true and correct copy of the arbitration provision of the Settlement Agreement and Release is attached as Exhibit " 1 " to the Declaration of Robert F. Walsh.1

15. On September 30, 2008, respondent Syngenta Crop filed a lawsuit against Petitioners and others in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, styled Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v. Insurance Company of North America, et al,
Docket No. UNN-L-3230-08 (the "Union County action"). Syngenta Crop sought declaratory relief that it was entitled to insurance coverage, as an alleged successor to Novartis, under primary and excess liability insurance policies that Petitioners issued to Geigy Chemical Corporation and Ciba-Geigy Corporation from 1958 to 1986, which were at issue in the Ciba-Geigy action. Syngenta Crop sought coverage for a lawsuit filed against it in Madison County, Illinois, styled Holiday Shores Sanitary District v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. and Growmark, Inc., No. 04-L-710 (Cir. Ct. 3d 111. Madison County) (the "Holiday Shores action"). Syngenta Crop also sought damages for breach of contract.

16. Petitioners had denied coverage for the Holiday Shores action when it was tendered by Syngenta Crop on the ground that it was released by the Settlement 1 The Settlement Agreement contains a confidentiality clause. Accordingly, Petitioners have submitted a copy of the arbitration provision of the Settlement Agreement through the separate Declaration of Robert F. Walsh, Esq. and are simultaneously filing a Motion To Seal the declaration.  Agreement. On February 26, 2009, the court in the Union County action entered a
Consent Order providing that: Syngenta and [petitioners] will arbitrate the issue of whether Syngenta's claims for insurance coverage in connection with the underlying action at issue herein, Holiday Shores Sanitary District v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., No. 04-L-710 (Cir. Ct. 3d Cir. 111. Madison Co.) were released under the terms of the January 13,1999 Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement") between Novartis Corporation and Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation, on the one hand, and [petitioners] and their affiliated companies, on the other hand. The arbitration will be conducted pursuant to the arbitration provisions of the Settlement Agreement.

17. On March 25, 2009, Petitioners submitted to the American Arbitration Association a demand for arbitration against Respondents. Petitioners requested a determination that the claims asserted in the Union County action filed by Syngenta Crop were released under the Settlement Agreement.

18. On April 21,2010, Syngenta Crop amended its complaint in the Union County action to seek declaratory relief that it was entitled to insurance coverage, as an alleged successor to Novartis, under the primary and excess liability insurance policies that petitioners issued to Geigy Chemical Corporation and Ciba-Geigy Corporation from 1958 to 1986 for another lawsuit filed against Syngenta Crop in the Southern District of Illinois, styled City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., et ano., No. 10-188-
JPG (S.D. 111.) (the "City of Greenville action"). Syngenta Crop also sought damages for breach of contract. The City of Greenville action was similar to the Holiday Shores action.

19. On May 27, 2010, the court in the Union County action entered an Amended Consent Order providing that: Syngenta and [Petitioners] will arbitrate the issue of whether Syngenta's claims for insurance coverage in connection with the underlying actions at issue herein, Holiday Shores Sanitary District v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., No. 04-L-710 (Cir. Ct. 3d Cir. 111. Madison Co.) (the "Holiday Shores action") and City of Greenville, Illinois, et al. v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., et al, No. 10-188-TPG (S.D.I11.) (the "City of Greenville action") (collectively referred to herein as the "Underlying Actions") were released under the terms of the January 13, 1999 Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement") between Novartis Corporation and Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation, on the one hand, and [Petitioners] and their affiliated companies, on the other hand. Arbitration of this issue will be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Settlement Agreement.

20. Thereafter, Petitioners amended their arbitration demand to request a determination that both the Holiday Shores action and the City of Greenville action were released.

21. Syngenta Crop has advised Petitioners that it has incurred defense costs in the Holiday Shores and City of Greenville actions far in excess of $75,000, and that it seeks to recover those costs from Petitioners, as well as future defense costs and any damages that may be awarded against Syngenta Crop in those actions.

22. On June 14-15, 2011, Petitioners and Respondents participated in a twoday evidentiary hearing in New York City in connection with the arbitration.

23. On October 7, 2011, the arbitrator, Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq., issued a Final Award of the Arbitrator, in which he found:
A. The underlying Holiday Shores and City of Greenville claims are "property damage" products liability claims, not "personal injury" claims.
B. The Settlement Agreement unambiguously and clearly released Syngenta Crop's claims for insurance coverage for Holiday Shores and City of Greenville.
C. Given the unambiguous language of the Settlement Agreement, the Arbitrator need not rely on any extrinsic evidence presented at the hearing to determine the scope of the Release.
D. petitioners' request for an award of attorney's fees and costs is denied.
E. The administrative fees of the American Arbitration Association totaling $4,500.00 and the compensation and expenses of the arbitrator totaling $39,518.97 shall be borne equally by the parties. Therefore, Respondent Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. shall reimburse petitioners the sum of $1,125.00, Respondent [BASF] shall reimburse [petitioners] the sum of $1,225.00 and Respondent Novartis Corporation shall reimburse [petitioners] the sum of $1,224.99 representing that portion of said fees and expenses in excess of the apportioned costs previously incurred by [petitioners].
F. This Award is in full settlement of all claims and counterclaims submitted to this Arbitration. All claims not expressly granted herein are hereby, denied. A true and correct copy of the Final Award of the Arbitrator is attached hereto as Exhibit."

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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