Reinsurance Arbitration Dispute Transferred To Venues In Which Arbitrations Were Pending


National Indemnity Company (NICO) sought an injunction in a Nebraska federal district court to prevent Transatlantic Reinsurance Company and its subsidiary (collectively, Transatlantic Re) from commencing arbitration against NICO in Chicago and New York under various reinsurance agreements. Both arbitrations involved asbestos liability transferred to NICO, and separately reinsured by Transatlantic Re. Transatlantic Re had commenced arbitrations in Illinois and New York (and initiated actions in those jurisdictions to compel NICO’s participation), pursuant to applicable forum selection clauses contained in Transatlantic Re’s reinsurance agreements with cedents. The Nebraska court elected not to adjudicate NICO’s injunction claim, but instead decided to sever it into two, and transfer the resulting two claims to Illinois and New York. The court analyzed venue provisions in the Federal Arbitration Act and different judicial approaches thereto, and concluded that Nebraska was limited in its jurisdiction over the claim. Illinois and New York were authorized under the FAA to compel arbitration if necessary, whereas Nebraska possessed jurisdiction only to enjoin NICO’s participation. Transfer, the court concluded, would promote judicial economy. National Indemnity Co. v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Co., Case No. 8:14-cv-00074 (USDC D. Neb. Mar. 31, 2014).

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