160 F.3d 925 (2nd Cir. 1998), 97-9474, E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc. v. Accident & Cas. Ins. Co.

Docket Nº:97-9474(CON); 97-9476(CON); 97-9484(XAP).
Citation:160 F.3d 925
Party Name:E.R. SQUIBB & SONS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ACCIDENT & CASUALTY INSURANCE CO.; American Home Assurance Co.; Allan Peter Dennis Haycock; Accident & Casualty Insurance Co. of Winterthur; Alba General Insurance Co., Ltd.; Anglo-French Insurance Co., Ltd.; Anglo Saxon Insurance Co., Ltd.; Argonaut-Northwest Insurance Co.; Aviation & General Insura
Case Date:November 25, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 925

160 F.3d 925 (2nd Cir. 1998)

E.R. SQUIBB & SONS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

ACCIDENT & CASUALTY INSURANCE CO.; American Home Assurance

Co.; Allan Peter Dennis Haycock; Accident & Casualty

Insurance Co. of Winterthur; Alba General Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Anglo-French Insurance Co., Ltd.; Anglo Saxon

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Argonaut-Northwest Insurance Co.;

Aviation & General Insurance Co.; Bishopsgate Insurance

Co., Ltd.; British Aviation Insurance Co., Ltd.; City

General Insurance Co.; Commercial Union Insurance Co.;

Cornhill Insurance Co., Ltd.; Delta Lloyd Non-Life

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Dominion Insurance Co., Ltd.; Drake

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Eagle Star Insurance Co., Ltd.;

Excess Insurance Co., Ltd.; Fidelidade Insurance Co. of

Lisbon; Helvetia Accident Swiss Insurance Co.; Hull

Underwriters Association Ltd.; Lombard Insurance Co., Ltd.;

London & Edinburgh Insurance Co., Ltd.; London & Edinburgh

General Insurance Co., Ltd.; Minister Insurance Co., Ltd.;

Motor Union Insurance Co., Ltd.; National Casualty Co.;

National Casualty Co. of America Ltd.; New India Assurance

Co., Ltd.; New London Reinsurance Co., Ltd.; Northbrook

Excess & Surplus Insurance Co.; River Thames Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Royal Scot Insurance; St. Katherine Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Scottish Lion Insurance Co., Ltd.; Southern

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Sphere Insurance Co., Ltd.;

Stronghold Insurance Co., Ltd.; Swiss National Insurance

Co.; Swiss Union General Insurance Co., Ltd.; The

Threadneedle Insurance Co., Ltd.; Trent Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Turegum Insurance Co.; Unionamerica Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Vanguard Insurance Co., Ltd.; "Winterthur" Swiss

Insurance Co.; World Auxiliary Insurance Corp, Ltd.; World

Marine Insurance Co.; Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London;

Continental Casualty Co., Defendants-Appellants,

Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, Appellant,

American Motorists Insurance Co.; Lloyd's & Companies;

Aetna Casualty & Surety Co.; Andrew Weir Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Bermuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co.; British

National Insurance Co.; California Union Insurance Co.;

Centennial Insurance Co.; Columbia Casualty; Employers

Insurance of Wausau; English & American Insurance Co.,

Ltd.; Fireman's Fund Insurance Co.; Great American

Insurance Co.; Highlands Insurance Co.; Home Insurance

Co.; Insurance Company of North America; Liberty Mutual

Insurance Co.; London & Overseas Insurance Co., Ltd.;

Lumbermans Mutual Casualty Co.; Midland Insurance Co.;

Mission Insurance Co.; Mutual Reinsurance Co., Ltd.;

National American Insurance Co. of New York; Orion

Insurance Co., Ltd.; St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co.;

Southern American Insurance Co.; Sovereign Marine & General

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Transit Casualty Co.; United Standard

Insurance Co., Ltd.; Walbrook Insurance Co., Ltd.; The

Hanover Insurance Co.; Utica Mutual Insurance Co., Defendants.

Nos. 97-9468(L); 97-9470(CON); 97-9472(CON);

97-9474(CON); 97-9476(CON); 97-9484(XAP).

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 25, 1998

Argued Aug. 10, 1998.

Page 926

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 927

George Marshall Moriarty (John T. Montgomery, James W. Matthews, Rachel E. Hershfang, of counsel), Ropes & Gray, Boston, MA, for Defendants-Appellants.

Louis Solomon, Solomon, Zauderer, Ellenhorn, Frischer & Sharp, New York City (Hal S. Shaftel, Caroline S. Press, and Laleh Ispahani, Solomon, Zauderer, Ellenhorn, Frischer & Sharp; Robert S. Rifkind and David J. Stone, Cravath, Swain & Moore, New York City, of counsel), for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Charles A. Booth, Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser, New York City, for Defendant-Appellant Continental Casualty Co.

Before: JACOBS, CALABRESI, and STRAUB, Circuit Judges.

Judge JACOBS concurs in the opinion of the Court, and also files a separate opinion.

CALABRESI, Circuit Judge:

Appellants, a group of more than fifty insurers, appeal from a declaratory judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (John S. Martin,

Page 928

Jr., Judge ) following a jury trial on the insurance policies provided by Appellants to Appellee E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc. ("Squibb"). Although this case has been litigated in federal court for sixteen years, the existence of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (1994) has not been established. This is due to the presence in the suit of "Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London" ("Lloyd's"). 1 Accordingly, we vacate the judgment and remand to the district court for further proceedings on the jurisdictional issue.

BACKGROUND

In 1982, Squibb brought a declaratory action against its domestic primary and excess insurers seeking indemnification for product liability claims arising out of the use of the drug diethylstilbestrol ("DES"). In 1984, Squibb filed a new consolidated complaint against its insurers that included a host of new domestic and foreign defendants. 2 Among those named in the consolidated complaint was defendant Allen Peter Dennis Haycock ("Haycock"), a British subject, who was named "as a representative underwriter representing certain underwriters at Lloyd's [ of] London, being all underwriters who subscribed the policies of insurance issued to the plaintiff and upon which the plaintiff brings the present action." The parties subsequently stipulated that Haycock was "appearing in this action in his individual capacity, and for administrative convenience, as a representative of all Lloyd's Underwriters." Squibb, which is a citizen of Delaware and New Jersey, invoked diversity jurisdiction and New York law to support its claims. For the next thirteen years, the case proceeded with discovery and then culminated in a jury trial in which Squibb prevailed. 3

While the appeal of Squibb's judgment was pending, this court decided Advani Enterprises, Inc. v. Underwriters at Lloyds, 140 F.3d 157 (2d Cir.1998). Advani raised, but did not decide, the difficult questions involved in determining how the Lloyd's underwriters should be analyzed for purposes of the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. 4 See id. at 160-61. In light of the discussion in Advani, this court raised sua sponte the issue of whether, due to Haycock's status as a defendant representing "Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London," diversity jurisdiction existed in the district court. We requested additional briefing on that question. 5

In the course of that briefing, counsel discovered that Haycock had recently died. Squibb and Lloyd's now move to add Stephen Merrett, another Lloyd's underwriter and British subject, perhaps in replacement of Haycock, 6 and to find that diversity jurisdiction exists in this action.

Before addressing the complex jurisdictional issues raised by this case, we think it helpful to summarize our understanding of the unique structure that is Lloyd's of London.

Page 929

Lloyd's began as a coffee house but has developed into one of the world's leading markets for insurance. See Godfrey Hodgson, Lloyd's of London 49-75 (1984). This market, however, operates in accordance with age-old customs that are, to say the least, unusual in American business law.

The anonymous underwriters of Lloyd's insurance, who are commonly referred to as "Names," invest in a percentage of the policy risk. While the rewards of a Lloyd's investment can be great, each Lloyd's Name is exposed to unlimited liability, but only for his or her share of the loss on a policy that the Name has underwritten. In other words, the liability of each Name on any given policy, while unlimited, is several and not joint. Insurance from Lloyd's is typically subscribed to by hundreds of Names belonging to different subgroups known as "syndicates." Although syndicates within the Lloyd's market negotiate with each other to spread insurance risk, the syndicates themselves have been said to have no independent legal identity. See The Society of Lloyd's v. Clementson, [1996] 5 Re. L.R. 215.

The syndicate Names do not manage their own investments. Instead, each syndicate appoints one of its Names (who is usually an insurance broker) to represent the collective interests of the Names in that syndicate. This person is known as the "lead underwriter." The typical Lloyd's policy contains a clause providing that "any [Name] can appear as representative of all [Names]." In practice, however, since many Names from various syndicates are usually involved in any particular policy, the lead underwriter from one of the underwriting syndicates is designated as the representative of all the Names in any of the relevant syndicates, and he is the only Name disclosed on a policy.

When litigation over a Lloyd's policy occurs, only one Name (the lead underwriter disclosed on the policy) is ordinarily sued. Nevertheless, all the Names subscribing to that policy are liable for their several shares of any adverse judgment against the Lloyd's underwriters. This is because the standard Lloyd's policy running between the insured and each Name states "that in any suit instituted against any one of [the Names] upon this contract, [all the Names] will abide by the final decision of such Court or of any Appellate Court in the event of an appeal." Each Name is, therefore, bound by contract with the insured to adhere to the decision reached in the suit. 7

DISCUSSION

I

Since "subject matter jurisdiction is an unwaivable sine qua non for the exercise of federal judicial power," Curley v. Brignoli, Curley & Roberts Assocs., 915 F.2d 81, 83 (2d Cir.1990), we...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP