Equitas as a party to suit in the United States





Case Name


Federal / State


Abstract of Points

Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London

No. 96-CV-006626, slip op. (Cir. Ct. Milwaukee Cty., Wis. July 13, 1999)


July 13, 1999


B.F. Goodrich v. Commercial Union Ins. Co.

No. CV 9902 0410, slip op. (Ct. Common Pleas, Summit Cty., Ohio Oct. 14, 1999)


Oct. 14, 1999


Boeing Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's

No. 99-2-03873 SEA, Slip op. (Sup. Ct., King Cty., Wash. Nov. 23, 1999, and Dec. 16, 1999)


Nov. 23, 1999


Central Maine Power Co. v. Ernest A. Moore

No. CV093-489 (Me. Super., Kennebec Co. Jan 11, 2000)



Jan. 11, 2000


Central Vermont Public Serv. Co. v. Adriatic Ins. Co.

No. I:96-CV-252 (D.Vt.Feb. 11, 1998


February 11, 1998


Employer's Mutual Casualty Co. v. Owens Insurance, Ltd.

No. MRS-C-51-96 slip op. (N.J. App. Div. Apr. 12, 1999)


Apr. 12, 1999


Employers Insurance of Wausau v. Certain London Market Companies, et al.

1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22027 (W.D. Wis. Oct. 27, 1997)


Oct. 27, 1997

Insureds sued for payment under the policies and the issue before the court was whether Equitas could be held to the forum clauses in the policies.  The court applied the rule that non-parties may be bound if closely related and found that the obligations Equitas took on in performance of the policies was enough to bind them to the contracts.   Therefore, pursuant to the forum selection clauses, the court had personal jurisdiction over Equitas.


The court relied on the language of the Reinsurance and Run off contract.  The Plaintiffs argued that it is not merely a reinsurance contract because of the great extent that Equitas assumed control of the management of the outstanding policies.  Equitas responded that the contract was for reinsurance only.  They also argue that the contract cannot give rights to a third party without a novation. 


The court concentrated on, not the Reinsurance Contract, but the policy made between Insureds and the Names and the forum selection clauses contained therein.  The rule to bind a close party is whether it would be foreseeable that the party would be bound by the terms.  The court looked to the relationship between Equitas and the Names and determined that there was a close relationship for it to be foreseeable that they would be bound, particularly since they took over the litigation of the claims. 

Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v. Owens Ins., Ltd.

No. MRS-C-51-96 (N.J. Super. Nov. 10, 1999)


Nov. 10, 1999


Equitas Reinsurance Ltd. v. Browning-Ferris Indus., Inc.

2001 Tex. App. LEXIS 2710


Apr. 26, 2001

Equitas appealed the trial court's denial of a special appearance.  The Court of Appeals found that Equitas did not meet "their burden of negating all bases of asserting specific jurisdiction." 


Plaintiff brought this action against Equitas for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing in violation of the Texas Insurance Code.  Equitas filed a special appearance to assert that the court had no personal jurisdiction over it and the trial court denied the special appearance. 


Equitas argued against general jurisdiction because it does not "conduct continuous and systematic business activities in the forum state."  Equitas argued against specific jurisdiction because the claims-handling activities are not actionable as to Equitas and that subjecting them to a Texas court violates the concept of fair play.


In general, the long arm statute reaches any nonresident "doing business" in the state, and a tort committed in the state is enough for jurisdiction up to the due process limitations.  For due process, the nonresident must have minimum contacts and if so the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice.


The court does not address general jurisdiction.  For specific jurisdiction, the cause of action must relate to defendant's contacts with the state.  Equitas does not argue that it lacks contacts for specific jurisdiction, but only that the claims handling activities are not actionable, the Insurance Code does not provide a cause of action against a reinsurer, and reinsurance is not "the business of insurance" under the Code. 


Equitas argued that the claim is not actionable because a duty of good faith only exists between the insured and the insurer, not the reinsurer.  However, the court found that the claim existed not in common law duty of good faith, but actions in violation of the Insurance Code.  The Code does not require privity. 


The court then acknowledges the dispute as to whether Equitas is a mere reinsurer or a successor in interest.  Looking to the contract, the court states that Equitas assumed claims handling duties from the original underwriters and that makes them potentially liable under the Insurance Code's settlement practices.  Further, the Code does not give immunity to reinsurers for deceptive practices.


With regard to fair play, Equitas claims first that Texas has no interest in the dispute, which the court immediately dispensed with the causes of action based on the Insurance Code.  Next, Equitas argues that all relief can be found with the underwriters and their presence is not needed. However, the deceptive claims are against Equitas itself, so the court dispensed with that argument.  Last, Equitas claimed excessive burden of defending in a foreign jurisdiction.   The court found that this did not present a hardship. 

GAF Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co.

No. L-980-97 (N.J. Super. Mar. 31, 2000)


March 31, 2000


Hartford Accident & Indem. Co. v. Equitas Reinsurance, Ltd.

200 F. Supp. 2d 102 (Conn. 2002)


March 5, 2002

This case is brought by insurance companies suing for breach of reinsurance contracts and seeking indemnification.  "Certain Lloyd's Underwriters" moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  The issue is whether the plaintiff must show that defendants failed to arbitrate in a motion to compel arbitration.  The court found it is necessary to show this and that plaintiffs did not. The court granted the motion to dismiss. 


Equitas was a separate defendant and this motion did not apply to them.  There is no other history reported for this case.

Idaho Power Co. v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, London

Civ. No. 97-0203-S-BLW, slip. op. (D. Idaho, Mar. 31, 1999)


Mar. 31, 1999


Long Island Lighting Co. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co.

1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13720 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 1997)


Sept. 10, 1997

Plaintiff sued for declaratory judgment for payment under insurance policies.  Lloyd's argues that the court lacked jurisdiction because of incomplete diversity between the parties. The court held that more discovery had to be conducted to determine jurisdiction.


Plaintiffs argue that Lloyd's and Equitas are British citizens for the sake of diversity.  The court however points to recent decisions that state that the citizenship of each Name must be determined for jurisdiction because they are the real parties in controversy. 


The Plaintiffs argue that Equitas has assumed Names' responsibility and therefore are the real parties in controversy.  The court disagreed stating that despite the reinsurance, the Names remain the real parties in controversy under Navarro.  


In this matter, not enough is known about the Names to determine jurisdiction, including the percentage of each Name's liability to meet the dollar amount requirements for federal jurisdiction.  The court ordered that the domicile and the percentage share of liability of each Name be presented before ruling on jurisdiction. 

Malone v. Equitas Reinsurance Ltd.

84 Cal. App. 4th 1430 (2000)


November 2, 2000

This is a suit by a Name against Equitas.  Equitas moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and the trial court granted it.  This appellate court affirmed. 


The Plaintiffs were trying to assert a defense against a claim that Equitas claimed set-off from paying claims because of amounts owed to them under the Reinsurance contract to which the Names were not a party.  Equitas moved to dismiss.


Under California law, the plaintiff must establish sufficient contacts by the defendant for jurisdiction.  For whether it is foreseeable to anticipate litigation in another court, the court uses the "purposeful availment" test.  Since the court held that Equitas did not have the minimum contacts necessary, they do not reach the question of whether jurisdiction would comport with fair play and substantial justice.


The court rejected the plaintiff's argument that their business was solicited in California creating jurisdiction under McGee.  The court said McGee is not that expansive.  Besides, Lloyd's argues that their agents solicited business, not them.  Hence, there is no connection with California sufficiently shown for jurisdiction. 

Millennium Petrochemicals v. C.G. Jago

50 F. Supp. 2d 654 (W.D. Ky. 1999)



Insured sued Equitas for payment on policies regarding litigation expenses.  Equitas moved to dismiss citing lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.  The court held that "1) reinsurer had not assumed liabilities of Names; 2) reinsurance agreement did not make reinsurer "closely related" to Names; 3) reinsurance agreement did not convert reinsurer into "successor in interest" or constitute sale of Names' business."


With regard to personal jurisdiction, Equitas argued that it had a lack of sufficient contacts.  Insured argued that Equitas was bound, like Names, to the jurisdiction consent clause in the insurance policy contract.  Plaintiff must make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction.  Insured argues here that Equitas is a successor in interest to the Names which makes it subject to the jurisdiction clause.  Insured used the wording of the Renewal and Reconstruction contract to show that Equitas assumed liability.  The court found that by the contract, Equitas assumed the defense of claims, but not the liability of claims.  The court found that the part of the contract where Equitas assumed the "run-off" merely meant that it assumed responsibility for payment and is only evidence of Equitas' indemnity to Names.   Last, the contract expressly states that the contract is for reinsurance only. 


The court then addressed the insured's argument that Equitas is a "closely related" to the Names such that it is bound by the policy.  Insureds cited Employer's Ins. Of Wassau for support.  This court rejects the application of the closely related analysis.  In Wassau, the court focused on the forum selection clause, not the relationship between Equitas and the Names.  Here the relationship is one of reinsurance by the express terms of the contract.


With regard to the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, Equitas argued that a policyholder cannot sue the reinsurer.  Insured argues that Equitas is a successor in interest and deals directly with policyholders in its claims handling capacity.  Again, the court relies on the contract wording itself and holds that it was for reinsurance only and that Equitas did not assume Names' liability. 


Insureds then argue that it was not reinsurance, but reinsurance to close, that Equitas offered and that it assumed liabilities in order to close the syndicates.  The court cited Long Island Lighting in holding that this does not change the fact that Names are ultimately liable on the policy. 


Finally, insureds argue that the Names were released from liability by the Settlement Offer, but the court rejected this outright as contradictory to the plain language of the Settlement Offer contract which stated that Names retain liability on policies they have written.

Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Equitas, Ltd.

987 P.2d 954 (Colo. App. 1999)



Insured brought suit for policies covering environmental clean up costs.  Equitas moved to quash service or dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The Colorado Court of Appeals held that "1) reinsurer did not bind itself to forum selection clause in underlying liability policy by entering into reinsurance contract, and 2) reinsurer did not purposefully avail itself of doing business in Colorado or establish minimum contacts necessary for assertion of personal jurisdiction by entering into reinsurance contract."


Plaintiff argues that Equitas consented to jurisdiction by entering into the reinsurance contract with Colorado Names.  They argue that Equitas is a successor in interest by virtue of the contract. The court found that the contract was merely indemnification of the Names by Equitas and did not relieve Names' liability on the policies nor did it make Equitas liable.  The court also found plaintiff's argument that it was reinsurance to close irrelevant.  Therefore, the reinsurance contract did not bind Equitas to the forum selection clauses in the policies. 


Plaintiff then argued that Equitas did have minimum contacts with Colorado.  The trial court found no agents or businesses of Equitas in the state.  The court found that Equitas did not purposefully avail itself of doing business there. 

Unisys Corp. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am.

No. L-1431-94S (N.J. Super., Middlesex co. Dec. 7, 1999)


Dec. 7, 1999


USX Corp. v. Adriatic Ins. Co.

64 F. Supp. 2d 469 (W.D. Penn. 1998)



Insured sued for breach of insurance contract then moved to amend their complaint to include Equitas.  The court found that the reinsurance contract is not an assignment and denied the motion.


Insured argued under the doctrine of assignment that Equitas assumed the liability of Names with its direct control of the claims handling and settlement of the policies.  Equitas argues that it is only a contract for reinsurance and insureds therefore have no right to sue.  The court then describes the structure of business at Lloyd's.


The court quotes the Reinsurance and Run-off contract extensively.  Plaintiffs argue the inclusion of Equitas under FRCP Rule 15(a) for the furtherance of the ends of justice.  Equitas argues the intent of the parties under the contract was to create reinsurance only regardless of Equitas' involvement in litigation. 


The court held that the reinsurance relationship gives no privity to the plaintiffs.  Merely handling claims is not enough for assumption of the contracts for an action against the reinsurer by the policyholder.  Last, the court relied on the plain language of the contract of reinsurance to hold against the argument that Equitas assumed the liability.    In addition, the contract is clear that no third party rights were being given. 

Wheeling-Pittsburgh Corp. v. Am. Ins. Co., et al.

2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16259, 267 B.R. 535 (N.D. W.Va. 2001)


September 27, 2001

Plaintiffs sued various insurers for indemnification for environmental clean-up.  After filing, plaintiffs filed for bankruptcy.  Insurers moved for change of venue and removal because the policies were now part of the bankruptcy estate.  Plaintiffs argued that this was forum shopping and wanted the state court proceeding to continue. 


The court ruled that mandatory abstention under Section 1334 applies, even to removed actions.  The court held it would abstain from hearing the case.  Because of this, it remanded the case to state court.