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ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY v. INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA complaint

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
EASTERN DIVISION
ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE )
COMPANY, )
) Cause No.: 14-1112
Plaintiff, )
) JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
vs. )
)
INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH )
AMERICA, )
)
Defendant. )
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Zurich American Insurance Company (“ZAIC”), as the successor in interest to
Zurich Insurance Company, US Branch, for its Complaint against Defendant Insurance
Company of North America, states:
PARTIES, JURISDICTION, AND VENUE
1. ZAIC is a New York corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois.
2. Upon information and belief, Defendant Insurance Company of North American
(“INA”) is a foreign insurance corporation organized and existing under the laws of, and with
its principal place of business in, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
3. Complete diversity exists for the matter in controversy because the parties to this
action are citizens of different states.
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 1 of 10 PageID #: 1
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4. The amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of
interest and costs, because this action involves insurance coverage and liability for an amount in
excess of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.
5. This Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
6. Venue is proper in this District under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because a substantial part
of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, and/or a substantial part of property
that is the subject of the action is situated, in this District because the insurance policies at issue
were issued to and covered an insured, Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC, f/k/a Anheuser-
Busch, Incorporated (“A-B”), which was located, at all times relevant to this action, in St. Louis,
Missouri.
7. All necessary and proper parties are before the Court for the matters in
controversy.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
8. For the period between July 1, 1967, and July 1, 1972, ZAIC insured A-B under
Policy No. 85-79-000, which provided, among other coverages, bodily injury liability coverage
and excess liability coverage. For the period between July 1, 1972, and July 1, 1980, ZAIC
insured A-B under Policy No. 87-13-500, which provided, among other coverages, bodily injury
liability coverage and excess liability coverage. Copies of Policy Nos. 85-79-000 and 87-13-500
are attached hereto as Exhibits 1 and 2, respectively, and are hereinafter referred to collectively
as the “ZAIC Policies.”
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 2 of 10 PageID #: 2
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9. Upon information and belief, during all or part of the time period between
approximately 1971 and 2008, INA insured A-B under insurance policies providing, among
other coverages, bodily injury liability coverage (the “INA Policies”).
10. On or about November 3, 2008, Francis X. Cotter, Executor for the Estate of
Elizabeth M. Tansey and Individual Heirs of the Estate of Elizabeth M. Tansey filed a lawsuit
against A-B and others in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, in the matter of
Cotter, et al. v. Am. Insulation Corp., et al., Docket No. MID L 9211 08 (the “Underlying
Lawsuit”). A copy of the plaintiffs’ Complaint in the Underlying Lawsuit is attached hereto as
Exhibit 3.
11. In the Underlying Lawsuit, the plaintiffs asserted that decedent Elizabeth M.
Tansey’s husband was exposed to asbestos between approximately 1971 and 1996, while
working at A-B; decedent became exposed to the dust that permeated her husband’s person and
clothing; and, as a result, decedent contracted mesothelioma and subsequently died in 2008.
12. In the Underlying Lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought to recover damages from A-B in
an amount in excess of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, which the plaintiffs allegedly
sustained as a result of decedent’s injuries and death.
13. In the Underlying Lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged claims sounding in negligence,
which were covered by the ZAIC Policies and the INA Policies.
14. Upon information and belief, all claims in the Underlying Lawsuit that were
covered by the ZAIC Policies were also covered by the INA Policies.
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 3 of 10 PageID #: 3
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15. A-B tendered the claims against A-B in the Underlying Lawsuit to ZAIC for
defense and indemnity. ZAIC, in turn, tendered the claims against A-B in the Underlying
Lawsuit to INA to obtain INA’s participation in the defense and indemnity of A-B.
16. To protect A-B’s interests, ZAIC agreed to defend A-B in the Underlying
Lawsuit, subject to a reservation of rights. INA did not participate in A-B’s defense.
17. To protect A-B’s interests, ZAIC paid all of A-B’s defense costs relating to the
Underlying Lawsuit (the “Defense Costs”).
18. On or about January 2014, the parties in the Underlying Lawsuit engaged in
mediation and entered into a fair and reasonable settlement agreement under which the
plaintiffs’ agreed to release their claims against A-B in exchange for, amongst other
consideration, payment of a confidential sum (the “Settlement Amount”).
19. To protect A-B’s interests, ZAIC paid the full Settlement Amount on A-B’s
behalf.
20. The plaintiffs in the Underlying Lawsuit subsequently dismissed their claims
against A-B.
21. The ZAIC Policies contain the following provisions:
6. OTHER INSURANCE
. . . .
WHEN BOTH THIS INSURANCE AND OTHER INSURANCE APPLY
TO THE LOSS ON THE SAME BASIS, WHETHER PRIMARY,
EXCESS OR CONTINGENT, ZURICH SHALL NOT BE LIABLE
UNDER THIS POLICY FOR A GREATER PROPORTION OF THE
LOSS THAN STATED IN THE APPLICABLE CONTRIBUTION
PROVISION BELOW:
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(A) CONTRIBUTION BY EQUAL SHARES. IF ALL OF SUCH
OTHER VALID AND COLLECTIBLE INSURANCE PROVIDES
FOR CONTRIBUTION BY EQUAL SHARES, ZURICH SHALL
NOT BE LIABLE FOR A GREATER PROPORTION OF SUCH
LOSS THAN WOULD BE PAYABLE IF EACH INSURER
CONTRIBUTES AN EQUAL SHARE UNTIL THE SHARE OF
EACH INSURER EQUALS THE LOWEST APPLICABLE LIMIT
OF LIABILITY UNDER ANY ONE POLICY OR THE FULL
AMOUNT OF LOSS IS PAID, AND WITH RESPECT TO ANY
AMOUNT OF LOSS NOT SO PAID THE REMAINING
INSURERS THEN CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE EQUAL
SHARES OF THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF THE LOSS
UNTIL EACH INSURER HAS PAID ITS LIMIT IN FULL OR
THE FULL AMOUNT OF LOSS IS PAID.
(B) CONTRIBUTION BY LIMITS. IF ANY OF SUCH OTHER
INSURANCE DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR CONTRIBUTION BY
EQUAL SHARES, ZURICH SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR A
GREATER PROPORTION OF SUCH LOSS THAN THE
APPLICABLE LIMIT OF LIABILITY UNDER THIS POLICY
FOR SUCH LOSS BEARS TO THE TOTAL APPLICABLE
LIMIT OF LIABILITY OF ALL VALID AND COLLECTIBLE
INSURANCE AGAINST SUCH LOSS.
7. SUBROGATION
IN THE EVENT OF ANY PAYMENT UNDER THIS POLICY, ZURICH
SHALL BE SUBROGATED TO ALL THE INSURED’S RIGHTS OF
RECOVERY THEREFORE AGAINST ANY PERSON OR
ORGANIZATION . . . .
EXCESS LIABILITY ENDORSEMENT
. . . .
LIMIT OF LIABILITY
THE COMPANY SHALL ONLY BE LIABLE FOR THE ULTIMATE NET LOSS
IN EXCESS OF EITHER
(1) THE AMOUNT RECOVERABLE UNDER UNDERLYING
INSURANCE AS SET OUT IN THE ATTACHED SCHEDULE
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OR
(2) $100,000 ULTIMATE NET LOSS IN RESPECT OF EACH
OCCURRENCE NOT COVERED BY SAID UNDERLYING
INSURANCE.
. . . .
(I) OTHER INSURANCE – IF OTHER VALID AND COLLECTIBLE
INSURANCE WITH ANY OTHER INSURER IS AVAILABLE TO THE
INSURED COVERING A LOSS ALSO COVERED BY THIS
ENDORSEMENT, OTHER THAN INSURANCE THAT IS IN EXCESS
OF THE INSURANCE AFFORDED BY THIS ENDORSEMENT, THE
INSURANCE AFFORDED BY THIS ENDORSEMENT SHALL BE IN
EXCESS OF AND SHALL NOT CONTRIBUTE WITH SUCH OTHER
INSURANCE. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO
MAKE THIS ENDORSEMENT SUBJECT TO THE TERMS,
CONDITIONS AND LIMITATION OF OTHER INSURANCE.
(J) SUBROGATION – INASMUCH AS THIS ENDORSEMENT IS “EXCESS
COVERAGE” THE INSURED’S RIGHT OF RECOVERY AGAINST
ANY PERSON OR OTHER ENTITY CANNOT BE EXCLUSIVELY
SUBROGATED TO THE COMPANY. IT IS, THEREFORE,
UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT IN CASE OF ANY PAYMENT
HEREUNDER, THE COMPANY WILL ACT IN CONCERT WITH ALL
OTHER INTERESTS (INCLUDING THE INSURED) CONCERNED, IN
THE EXERCISE OF SUCH RIGHTS OF RECOVERY. THE
APPORTIONING OF ANY AMOUNTS WHICH MAY BE SO
RECOVERED SHALL FOLLOW THE PRINCIPLE THAT ANY
INTERESTS (INCLUDING THE INSURED) THAT SHALL HAVE
PAID AN AMOUNT OVER AND ABOVE ANY PAYMENT
HEREUNDER, SHALL FIRST BE REIMBURSED UP TO THE
AMOUNT PAID BY THEM; THE COMPANY IS THEN TO BE
REIMBURSED OUT OF ANY BALANCE THEN REMAINING UP TO
THE AMOUNT PAID HEREUNDER; LASTLY, THE INTERESTS
(INCLUDING THE INSURED) OF WHOM THIS COVERAGE IS
EXCESS NECESSARY TO THE RECOVERY OF ANY SUCH
AMOUNTS SHALL BE APPORTIONED BETWEEN THE INTERESTS
(INCLUDING THE INSURED) CONCERNED, IN THE RATION OF
THEIR RESPECTIVE RECOVERIES AS FINALLY SETTLED.
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 6 of 10 PageID #: 6
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22. ZAIC has demanded that INA contribute to the Defense Costs and the
Settlement Amount, but INA has refused to contribute any such amounts.
23. An actual and justiciable controversy exists between the parties concerning
their respective rights and liabilities under the insurance policies at issue.
COUNT I – EQUITABLE CONTRIBUTION
24. ZAIC incorporates the allegations in Paragraphs 1-23 as though fully set forth
herein.
25. ZAIC and INA both provided coverage to the same insured for, at least in part,
the same interest and the same risk because both insurers provided bodily injury liability
coverage to A-B during the time period at issue in the Underlying Lawsuit.
26. Under the terms of their respective policies, ZAIC and INA had a duty to
defend and indemnify A-B in the Underlying Lawsuit.
27. ZAIC discharged its obligations and INA’s obligations due A-B by paying the
full amount of the Defense Costs and the Settlement Amount.
28. Under the terms of their respective insurance policies, all or part of ZAIC’s
coverage is excess to all or part of the INA’s coverage.
29. By paying the full amount of the Defense Costs and the Settlement Amount,
ZAIC paid more than its share of the loss, which should be shared by both ZAIC and INA.
30. INA would be unjustly enriched if it were not required to contribute to the
Defense Costs and the Settlement Amount.
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 7 of 10 PageID #: 7
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31. ZAIC has an equitable right to reimbursement from INA for INA’s share of the
Defense Costs and the Settlement Amounts.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Zurich American Insurance Company prays for a judgment
against INA in an amount in excess of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000), plus costs,
interest, and all such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
COUNT II – EQUITABLE SUBROGATION
32. ZAIC incorporates the allegations in Paragraphs 1-31 as though fully set forth
herein.
33. INA owed a duty to defend and indemnify A-B in the Underlying Lawsuit and
to attempt in good faith to settle the claims against A-B within its policy limits.
34. INA breached these duties by refusing to participate in A-B’s defense and
contribute to the Defense Costs and the Settlement Amount.
35. By paying all of the Defense Costs and the Settlement Amount, ZAIC became
subrogated to A-B’s right to recover INA’s share of such amounts from INA.
36. ZAIC has the right to recover all such amounts from INA under the INA
Policies and in equity.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Zurich American Insurance Company prays for a judgment
against INA in an amount in excess of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000), plus costs,
interest, and all such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
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COUNT III – UNJUST ENRICHMENT
37. ZAIC incorporates the allegations in Paragraphs 1-36 as though fully set forth
herein.
38. INA received a benefit at ZAIC’s expense when ZAIC paid all of the Defense
Costs and the Settlement Amount, including all amounts INA owed to A-B under the INA
Policies.
39. INA has retained this benefit by refusing to contribute to the Defense Costs
and the Settlement Amount.
40. INA would be unjustly enriched if it were permitted to retain this benefit at
ZAIC’s expense.
41. ZAIC has a right to restitution from INA of the amount of the benefit
conferred on INA.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Zurich American Insurance Company prays for a judgment
against INA in an amount in excess of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000), plus costs,
interest, and all such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 9 of 10 PageID #: 9
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Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Russell F. Watters
Russell F. Watters, #25758MO
rwatters@bjpc.com
T. Michael Ward, #32816MO
mward@bjpc.com
BROWN & JAMES, P.C.
800 Market Street, Suite 1100
St. Louis, Missouri 63101-2501
(314) 421-3400
(314) 421-3128 Facsimile
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Zurich American Insurance Company
#11766576
Case: 4:14-cv-01112-CDP Doc. #: 1 Filed: 06/18/14 Page: 10 of 10 PageID #: 10

Published under a Creative Commons License By attribution, non-commercial
date: 
Wed, 2014-06-18
AttachmentSize
D.E. 1 COMPLAINT against defendant Insurance Company of North America with receipt number 0865-4372947.pdf106.45 KB

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