Cases & Deals

Brush Wellman succeeds in coverage litigation against its insurers

Clients Brush Wellman Inc.

Jones Day, on behalf of client Brush Wellman, sued its London Market Insurers for breach of contract and bad faith over their denial of coverage for product liability and environmental claims arising from work-place and residential exposure to beryllium. In August 2006, after developing through expert testimony evidence of the historical intent of the relevant U.S. bureau and London Non-Marine Association forms, the Firm won summary judgment in favor of the policyholder on each of the coverage issues presented by the parties to the trial court. The trial court's opinion established key principles of Ohio law with respect to the scope of the duty to defend, duty to pay defense costs, trigger of coverage, and allocation of losses under occurrence policies. The Firm also obtained recovery of the attorney fees and expenses that the policyholder had incurred in litigating its entitlement to defense costs under the London Market primary and excess policies.

Following the trial court's entry of judgment for damages against the insurers for breach of contract, and the trial court's denial of the insurers' motion for an interlocutory appeal under Civil Rule 54(b), the Firm pursued on behalf of the policyholder its bad faith claim against the London Market Insurers that, among other things, challenged the formation, operation, and claims-handling practices of Equitas, the company established to run off the pre-1993 liabilities of Underwriters at Lloyds of London. Before the start of trial on this bad faith claim, the parties reached a settlement that included the insurers' purchase on behalf of Brush Wellman of $150 million of new product liability coverage from a third-party insurer and the payment of $17.5 million in cash.

Brush Wellman Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London, et al., Case No. 03-CVH-OH9 (Common Pleas Court, Ottawa County, Ohio)

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