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

REGIONS INSURANCE, INC. v. ACE PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY 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: 
3:14-cv-00198 Search Pacer
Opposing Party: 
Regions Insurance, Inc.
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Middle District of Louisiana
Date Filed: 
Apr 3 2014

III. FACTS AND BACKGROUND

ABSHIRE SUIT

5.
On or about June 23, 2011, Emile G. Abshire and Elizabeth Abshire filed a
lawsuit captioned ''Emile G. Abshire and Elizabeth Abshire v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty
Insurance Company, Star Net Insurance Company, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Company, Scott D. Picard, and Patrick Ashworth Logging, Inc.," Suit No. 2011-002915, in the
14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu, State of Louisiana ("Abshire Suit").
6.
Ace and Loggers were named as defendants in the Abshire Suit. Loggers was
alleged to have issued an insurance policy with uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance
affording coverage to Patrick Ashworth Logging, Inc. ("Ashworth Logging"). Ace was also
alleged to have issued an insurance policy to Ashworth Logging ("Ashworth Ace Policy") with
uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage.
7.
On information and belief, the Abshires claimed injury, damages, and loss as a
result of a vehicular accident on or about September 15, 2010, at which time Emile Abshire was
operating a vehicle which was owned by Ashworth Logging ("Abshire Accident") during the
course of his employment with Ashworth Logging.
8.
On information and belief, the vehicle owned by Ashworth Logging, and operated
by Emile Abshire, was insured by the Ashworth Ace Policy.
9.
On information and belief, during the course of the Abshire Suit, Loggers and
Emile Abshire both filed motions for summary judgment in 2012 related to the
underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage ("UM Coverage") under the Ashworth Ace Policy
based, in part, on an alleged rejection of UM Coverage form executed on behalf of Ashworth
Logging ("Ashworth Rejection Form"). Loggers claimed the Ashworth Rejection Form was
valid and enforceable, and Emile Abshire claimed the Ashworth Rejection Form, executed in
connection with the Ashworth Policy, was invalid.
10.
On information and belief, Ace never sought summary judgment on the issue of
the validity of the Ashworth Rejection Form, nor did Ace ever file pleadings or submit a
memorandum to the Court to oppose Emile Abshire's motion for summary judgment.
11.
The Ashworth Rejection Form was provided by Regions' Baton Rouge, Louisiana
office to Loggers, on Ace's behalf, after it was signed on or about March 3, 2010 by Janet
Ashworth for of Ashworth Logging.
12.
Ashworth Logging was an insurance client of Regions, and Regions' alleged
obligations to Ace and/or Loggers, related to the Ashworth Rejection Form, arose out of
Regions' engagement to provide insurance services.
13.
On information and belief, the Court in the Abshire Suit ruled on or about
October 4, 2012 that the Ashworth Rejection Form was invalid, and that the Ashworth Ace
Policy provided UM Coverage to Ashworth Logging, and to the Ashworth Logging vehicle
Emile Abshire was operating at the time of the Abshire Accident.
14.
The summary judgment in the Abshire Suit was limited to Loggers, and was not
rendered against Ace, and Loggers never sought further modification of that interlocutory order
in the trial court, nor did Loggers seek appellate review of the summary judgment ruling.
15.
On information and belief, Ace settled the Abshire Suit for Patrick Ashworth
Logging, Loggers and itself, for an amount allegedly in excess of $500,000 and allegedly did so
because the Court in the Abshire Suit ruled that the Ashworth Ace Policy provided UM
Coverage.
16.
On or about August 16, 2013, Ace made a defense and indemnity demand to
Regions and also alleged at the same time that it relied on the Ashworth Rejection Form that
Regions sent to Loggers in March 2012, and claimed the Court determined that form was
outdated.
17.
Ace's settlement of the Abshire Suit was made without any notice to Regions.
18.
Loggers first made an indemnity demand to Regions, also claiming that the
Rejection Form Regions provided was invalid. The Loggers' demand to Regions was made after
Ace settled with the Abshires, and after the Abshire Suit was dismissed.
19.
On information and belief, Loggers' demands to Regions for indemnity related to
the settlement of the Abshire Suit is in part, based on, and arises out of, a contractual obligation
that Loggers has to Ace for indemnity that allegedly extends to the Ace settlement payment of
that litigation.
20.
On information and belief, the Abshire Suit was dismissed on or about December
10,2013.

IV. KAHN SUIT

21.
On or about June 23, 2011, Kenneth R. Kahn and Iva Kahn (collectively, "Kahn")
filed a lawsuit captioned "Kenneth Kahn v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance
Company," Suit Number 2011-002914 in the 14th Judicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu,
Louisiana ("Kahn Suit").
22.
On information and belief, Kahn claimed injury, damages, and loss as a result of
the same vehicular accident that formed the basis for the claims and allegations involved in the
Abshire Accident and also asserted in the Abshire Suit.
23.
Kenneth Kahn claimed that he was operating a vehicle owned by Bobby J. Cooley
("Cooley") at the time of the accident, and that Ace had in full force and effect, an insurance
policy providing UM Coverage that was issued to Cooley and also a policy to Bobby James
Logging, Inc. ("James Logging") and afforded insurance coverage to the vehicle Kenneth Kahn
was operating at the time of the accident. Ace, Cooley, and James Logging were all named as
defendants in the Kahn Suit.
24.
Notwithstanding those allegations of ownership, and insurance coverage, on
information and belief, Kenneth Kahn was operating a vehicle owned by James Logging that was
insured by Ace and, on information and belief, Kenneth Kahn was operating that vehicle as an
employee of James Logging.
25.
On information and belief, Ace, for itself and James Logging and Loggers,
asserted a peremptory exception of no right of action in response to the claims and allegations
named against it in the Kahn Suit, asserting that the uninsured motorist rejection form executed
by Bobby James Logging ("James Rejection Form") was properly executed, resulting in no UM
Coverage under the Ace Insurance Policy issued to James Logging that covered the Cooley
vehicle ("James Ace Policy").
26.
On or about November 3, 2011, the Court in the Kahn Suit converted the
exceptions filed by Ace, James Logging, and Cooley to a motion for summary judgment, that
was set for hearing on December 13, 2011; however, by subsequent order, the hearing on the
issue related to the validity of the James Rejection Form was continued and ultimately set for
May 31, 2012.
27.
On or about November 22, 2011, a motion for partial summary judgment on the
issue of coverage against Ace was filed on behalf of Kahn. In that motion, the Kahns asserted
that James Logging did not properly execute a valid UM Rejection Form, and consequently,
there was UM Coverage for the vehicle Kenneth Kahn was operating at the time of the accident.
The Kahns asserted, in part, that the James Rejection Form was invalid under Bulletin No. 08-02
issued by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
28.
On or about November 23, 2011, Ace, James Logging, and Cooley filed a
summary judgment claiming that James executed a valid waiver of UM Coverage.
29.
The James Rejection Form was provided by Regions to Loggers after it was
signed on or about March 5, 2010 by Cooley, the owner of James Logging.
30.
James Logging was an insurance client of Regions, and Regions alleged
obligations to Ace and/or Loggers related to the James Rejection Form, arose out of Regions'
engagement to provide insurance services.
31.
On information and belief, no hearing on the exception of no right of action, and
the summary judgment motions, was ever argued or decided by the court in the Kahn Suit.
32.
On information and belief, the claims and allegations asserted by the Kahns
against Ace, Cooley, and James Logging were resolved and settled prior to any such hearing.
33.
On information and belief, Ace settled the Kahn Suit for James Logging, Loggers,
Cooley and itself for an amount allegedly in excess of $75,000.00, and allegedly did so because
the Court in the Kahn Suit ruled that the James Ace Policy provided UM Coverage. In March
2014, Loggers made demand on Regions for indemnity for the settlement amount paid to resolve
and conclude the Kahn Suit.
34.
On information and belief, Loggers' demands to Regions for indemnity related to
the settlement of the Kahn Suit is in part, based on, and arises out of, a contractual obligation that
Loggers has to Ace for indemnity that allegedly extends to the Ace settlement payment of that
litigation.
35.
The Kahn Suit was settled, and the settlement payment was made, without any
notice to Regions.
36.
On information and belief, an order of dismissal with prejudice was entered in the
Kahn Suit on or about July 23, 2012, dismissing all claims and parties because of the settlement
reached prior to May 31, 2012.

V. DECLARATORY RELIEF

37.
Regions adopts and incorporates the allegations asserted in paragraphs 1-36 of
this Complaint.
38.
Regions acted at all relevant times as an insurance agent, broker, solicitor or other
similar licensee for purposes of La. R.S. 9:5606 with respect to its involvement with the
underinsured/uninsured motorist rejection forms on the Ace insurance policies involved in the
Abshire Suit and the Kahn Suit.
39.
More than three (3) years has passed since Regions sent the executed
underinsured/uninsured motorist rejection forms at issue in the Abshire Suit and Kahn Suit to
Loggers, and Loggers accepted those rejection forms, for itself and on behalf of Ace.
40.
Both Ace and Loggers had copies of and were aware of Bulletin No. 08-02 and
the UM Coverage rejection form issued therewith, at the time the Ashworth Ace Policy and
James Ace Policy were issued.
41.
Ace's demand for reimbursement, defense costs and indemnity against Regions in
the Abshire Suit is not based on any agreement. Loggers has made an indemnity demand against
Regions in both the Abshire Suit and the Kahn Suit. In both instances, defendants made
allegations that the Rejection Forms Regions provided were invalid.
42.
Regions disputes and denies any and all liability, for reimbursement, fees, costs,
defense, indemnity or otherwise, to Ace and Loggers for any amounts paid by either and/or both
Ace and Loggers to defend and/or settle the Abshire Suit and Kahn Suit.
43.
Alternatively, any right or claim to defense indemnity by the Defendants herein,
which is denied, has prescribed and/or is now preempted by applicable Louisiana law.
44.
An actual controversy exists between Plaintiff, Regions, and Defendants, Ace and
Loggers, related to the validity of the uninsured motorist rejection forms involved in the Abshire
Suit and Kahn Suit; the conduct and legal responsibility and/or fault of the parties herein with
respect to any uninsured motorist rejection form that is determined to be invalid; the validity and
scope of any contractual and/or legal rights and claims to indemnity and defense asserted by, or
which could be asserted by, the Defendants herein against Regions; the reasonableness of any
settlement in the Abshire Suit and Kahn Suit; the scope and timeliness of any defense,
reimbursement, and indemnity demand made on Regions, and resulting prejudice to Regions
arising out of or related to the timing and scope of demands for the defense, reimbursement, and
and indemnity; and the effect of the limitations period on any alleged claim Defendants have
against Regions, based on prescription and/or peremption, under applicable Louisiana law.
45.
Regions, with respect to the controversies between the parties, seeks a declaration
of the rights and relationships among the Parties, including the following:
A. The provisions of La. R.S. 9:5606, related to prescription and/or
preemption, preclude any claim, demand, or any legal rights of Defendants against Regions to
seek defense costs reimbursement, and indemnity related to any amounts, fees, expenses, costs,
and settlement payments made or incurred by Defendants in the Abshire Suit and the Kahn Suit;
B. Alternatively, Regions seeks a determination that:
1. Regions has no legal responsibility and/or fault herein with respect
to any UM Coverage rejection form that is determined to be
invalid;
2. One or both of Defendants have legal responsibility and/or are at
fault herein with respect to UM Coverage rejection form that is
determined to be invalid.
3. The scope of any alleged contractual and/or legal rights and claims
are inadequate, or do not trigger, or do not extend to, any
indemnity, reimbursement, and defense fees and costs asserted by
the Defendants related to the Abshire Suit and the Kahn Suit herein
against Regions;
4. The Defendants' payments in settlement in the Abshire Suit and
Kahn Suit were not reasonable;
5. Regions was prejudiced by the timeliness of any defense and
indemnity demand made on Regions arising out of or related to the
timing and scope of demands for the defense and indemnity on
Regions related to the payments, costs, and fees Defendants
incurred in the Abshire Suit and the Kahn Suit.
6. Ace has no standing or right to proceed against Regions for
defense, reimbursement, or indemnity.
46.
Region reserves the right to seek other declaratory relief consistent with the
allegations herein.

WHEREFORE, Regions Insurance, Inc. prays that defendants, Ace Property &
Casualty Insurance Company and Loggers Insurance Company, be served, and after due
proceedings, there be judgment herein granting declaratory relief in favor of Regions and against
the defendants, and that such relief as alleged herein and specifically, but not limited to, the
determination that any claim of Defendants for indemnity and defense costs and expenses against
Regions are time barred under applicable law, and alternatively that Regions has no indemnity
and/or defense obligations to Defendants.

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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