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Anti-Suit Injunction must be carefully prepared



I St. Paul Fire And Marine Insurance Company v. Amerisourcebergen Drug Corporation, and Bellco Drug Corporation v. ACE American Insurance Company and ACE Property And Casualty Insurance Company, No. 21-0036, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia (November 15, 2021) Insurance companies overturn a decision of a court in West Virginia, which ordered them to pursue a lawsuit in California.

An injunction against a writ of summons is a decision that prevents parties to an action in that State from initiating or prosecuting substantially similar litigation in another State. Whether the action of the foreign state is substantially similar involves assessing (1) the similarity between the parties; (2) the similarity between the questions; and (3) the ability of the act in that State to dispose of the act of the foreign State. An injunction against a writ of summons is appropriate when justice compels the district court:

  1. to address a threat to the jurisdiction of the court;
  2. to prevent the evasion of an important public order;
  3. to prevent a variety of lawsuits resulting in delays , inconvenience, cost, inconsistency, or will be a "race against them"; or
  4. to protect a party from annoying, unfair, or harassing litigation.

OPINION

For the past two decades, the United States has experienced an epidemic of overdose deaths involving prescription and illegal opioid drugs. Governments, corporations, and individuals have sued the drug distributors who sold prescription opioid drugs and "seek to recoup billions in government and financial costs that are alleged to have been incurred in providing a wide range of public services in response to the influx of opioids into their communities." 19659010] The district court passed an "anti-suit injunction" prohibiting the insurance companies sued in West Virginia from pursuing parallel litigation against the distributor in California. a wholesale distributor of prescription opioid drugs in West Virginia and throughout the U.S. This case stems from ABDC's efforts to establish that these prescriptions for prescription opiates, nationwide and in West Virginia, are covered by primary, umbrella and surplus insurance for commercial general liability insurance. by ABDC (or its predecessor or r subsidiary).

ABDC's insurance coverage. The lawsuit specifically sought a declaratory judgment from the district court that interpreted primary, umbrella, and overall general liability policies issued by defendant St.

After three years of discovery, St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company ("St. Paul") and the defendants Ace American Insurance Company and Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company ("Ace American") Paul filed a competing insurance policy lawsuit in California State Court against ABDC and its subsidiaries and affiliates. St. Pauls California's complaint claimed that St. Paul issued various insurances to the ABDC, but requested a declaratory judgment that St. Paul had no obligation to defend or indemnify ABDC in any opioid lawsuit against ABDC throughout the country. Alternatively, St. Paul's complaint named as responding seventy insurance companies (including companies such as ACE American) "which, for information and conviction, issued insurance to [ABDC] Affiliates covering periods between 1995 and 2018 [.]" In the complaint, the California court asked to issue a declaratory dom som, om St. Paul had an obligation to provide coverage for an opioid lawsuit, determined the extent and amount of coverage that must be provided by each insurance company to ABDC.

On November 19, 2020, ABDC filed a motion with the West Virginia District Court requesting an "injunction against lawsuit. " After months of supplementary information, the district court adopted a decision rejecting St. Paul's claim for summary judgment.

In a decision dated January 7, 2021, the district court granted ABDC's claim for a writ of summons and prevented all parties from conducting insurance disputes involving ABDC, in California or elsewhere.

Discussion

St. Paul and Ace American claim that the district court erred in issuing a lawsuit against the lawsuit that precludes prosecution of the California action. However, when the parties to the district court initiate parallel litigation in another court, a district court may order a party to pursue a parallel case in the courts of another state. An injunction against the writ of summons applies only to the parties before the district court, not to the other court or other judge presiding over the parallel case. 19659013] Comity forces a court to act cautiously and restraint. Generally speaking, when considering whether to issue an injunction against a writ of summons, the principle of courtesy requires that courts exercise the power to order foreign lawsuits sparingly and only in very special circumstances where a clear justice is presented that requires the court to intervene and prevent obvious errors. . Secrecy is a principle according to which the courts of one state give effect to the laws of another state, not as a state governed by the rule of law, but rather out of reverence or respect. interference in the court's jurisdiction, duplication of proceedings and annoying litigation. An injunction against a lawsuit is a decision that prevents a party to a lawsuit in that state from initiating or prosecuting substantially similar litigation in another state.

Paul on 165 specific opioid-related lawsuits in West Virginia for which ABDC claimed defense or damages costs from St. Paul. Paul. The Supreme Court found that the district court's conclusion that St. Paul initiated competing, parallel litigation in California was correct because both the West Virginia action and the California action involve, not only similar parties, but identical parties. Every single plaintiff and defendant in the West Virginia lawsuit is a party to the California lawsuit.

The district court found that its ability to successfully resolve the West Virginia lawsuit was threatened by St. Louis. Paul & # 39 ;s California Action. The district court fairly concluded that St. Paul's parallel lawsuit in California was filed for inappropriate purposes, namely forum shopping and the disruption of the orderly solution of the West Virginia process. to West Virginia's action from initiating or prosecuting all legal proceedings concerning ABDC's insurance coverage. Our concern is that ABDC's West Virginia complaint is limited in scope and seeks a declaratory judgment that only applies to sixteen insurances issued by five insurance companies. When ABDC's complaint is filed, it asks the district court for a ruling on whether these sixteen insurances cover the growing number of West Virginia-based opioid trials. The district court was within its right to protect its jurisdiction in resolving the dispute presented by the ABDC.

policies identified by ABDC. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that the decision of the district court was comprehensive and, as it has now been formulated, constituted an abuse of the court's discretion. The decision must therefore be set aside and the case remanded for reconsideration.

Although the district court apparently had the power to issue an injunction against the writ of summons. The district court's decision to issue an injunction was upheld. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the district court on January 7, 2021, and remanded the case for clarification of the decision or other necessary procedures.

West Virginia courts spent a lot of time and effort resolving the lawsuits before them and apparently became concerned when one party tried to go to another forum to get a "better" result against the same parties. The injunction was correct but it needs to be drafted more carefully to be fair to the parties.


© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his internship to the position of insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders.

He also acts as a mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as a lawyer for insurance coverage and claims management and more than 54 years in the insurance industry.

Subscribe to Excellence in Claims Handling at https://barryzalma.substack.com/welcome.

He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award. For the past 53 years, Barry Zalma has devoted his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurers and their claimants to become professionals in insurance claims.

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