Firm Obtains Appellate Victory in The Third Circuit, Affirming The Dismissal of All Claims Against Insurance Company Client

The Firm obtained an appellate victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of an insurance company client, AXA Corporate Solutions S.A. (“AXA”), in a case in which another insurance company, Liberty Surplus Insurance Company (“Liberty”), was seeking equitable contribution from AXA for a claim that had been settled by Liberty.

The underlying insured, a leading manufacturer of metal packaging materials, was involved in a recall of canned tuna, and Liberty settled its insured’s claim. Liberty then sued AXA in federal District Court in Pennsylvania, contending that AXA also insured the underlying insured and its subsidiaries around the world pursuant to a global excess commercial liability policy, and thus should share the loss. However, AXA’s global excess insurance policy contained a forum selection clause requiring that all disputes to be adjudicated in Ireland pursuant to Irish law.

In the District Court, Liberty contended that AXA was subject to personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania, and that the forum selection clause in its global excess insurance policy did not apply. Following jurisdictional discovery, the District Court granted AXA’s motion to dismiss, holding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over AXA and that the forum selection clause in the AXA insurance policy required Liberty’s claims to be adjudicated in Ireland.

Following briefing and oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, that Court affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of AXA from the lawsuit, representing a complete victory for the Firm’s client. (Fine Kaplan & Black, R.P.C. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania also represented AXA in the litigation.)

A copy of the Third Circuit Opinion is attached.