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Tuesday 01 February, 2005
Local News
Local lawyer won’t pay Lloyd’s of London
The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Lansdale lawyer Ed Mullin owes more than $570000 plus interest to Lloyds of London but Mullin says he has no plans to pay.

We will fight in court and wherever for as long as it takes Mullin said.

He is among roughly 300 who once underwrote insurance at Lloyds but refuse to pay mandatory settlements made in 1996 after billions in asbestos claims nearly toppled the market.

Jeffrey Peterson president of the American Names Association a group that has fought Lloyds did not return calls for comment.

The associations Web site charges that American investors were sought out in the 1980s to help absorb losses some at Lloyds anticipated but kept from investors.

British court however rejected a civil fraud suit in 2001.

At present more than 97 percent of underwriters known as names have made settlement payments according to Melanie Batley a spokeswoman for Lloyds.

Unlike traditional investments which cost buyers no more than theyre willing to risk Lloyds investors faced unlimited liability when Mullin joined in 1987. After losing billions Lloyds began in 1994 accepting limited liability investors.

Created in 1688 Lloyds is charged by Parliamentary Act with regulating its own insurance market.

Calling underwriters names is a throwback to the slips of papers passed around cafes frequented by wealthy aristocrats in the 17th century when underwriters agreed to insure ships by signing their names said Batley reached by telephone in London.

But Mullin finds fault with the venerable insurer image Batley presents.

We found out disputably that they were cheating the names by not advising us of asbestos liability that they had and consequently where we should have been making money we ended up losing it Mullin said adding that hed lost more than a million dollars. He refused to pay a 1998 judgment entered against him in British Court.

In March of 2003 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found in favor of Lloyds. Mullins appeal of the summary judgment was rejected in a May 5 2004 opinion.

Among other issues Mullin argued that accepting the English judgment was repugnant to the state.

Third Circuit Judge John R. Gibson disagreed writing that a cause of action for breach of contract is certainly not repugnant to Pennsylvania public policy.

Mullin said there are no further appeals to his case though petitioning to reopen it was still a possibility.

Batley however said that it was time Mullin and others pay up.

The remaining non-paying names have court judgments against them and there is no dispute about their obligation to pay she said in an e-mailed statement.

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