In 2013, Quinn Emanuel’s Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation Group was once again honored as an “Insurance Group of the Year” by Law360, and the only firm chosen for its work representing insurers and reinsurers. This is the second time in the past three years Quinn Emanuel was given this honor. Group co-practice leader Jane Byrne was also named an “MVP” by the same publication. The group has also been chosen as a “Recommended Firm” for Insurance Litigation in the USA by Legal 500 and ranked by Chambers USA for Insurance Litigation in New York. According to Legal 500, which surveyed clients and practitioners in the industry:
“Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s insurance group fields ‘top-quality litigators’ who are ‘the best in litigation strategy and execution’, and the team is recommended for ‘the highest value/risk litigation’. Clients of the practice include One Beacon, Chartis, Berkshire Hathaway and Allstate. It has also been retained by MBIA in a number of litigations relating to the structured finance market. The team has also represented financial guaranty insurers in bringing fraud and breach of contract actions against various financial institutions in connection with policies covering payments of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Philippe Selendy is ‘the premier litigator for the recent financial crisis’; Jane Byrne is ‘extremely bright, tenacious and strategic’; and Michael Carlinsky is ‘intelligent, articulate and passionate’.”
Group co-leader, Jane Byrne, was one of only seven individuals recognized as a “leading lawyer” for advice to insurers on coverage issues. She has also been consistently recognized for several years as one of the top insurance litigators in New York by several leading global publications, including Chambers USA, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law, Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, and Law360. Co-leader Michael Carlinsky has consistently been recognized as one of the top litigation attorneys in New York by several leading global publications.
The group represents a veritable “who’s who” of the insurance industry, including American International Group, National Indemnity, Chartis, Great American, United Guaranty, MBIA, OneBeacon America, HDI-Gerling, Resolute, Mass Mutual, Excess Treaty Management Corp., Syncora, Allstate, and The Excess Casualty Reinsurance Association, in both cutting edge coverage and reinsurance matters as well as litigation and arbitration involving complex structured financial products. The firm and many of its attorneys are also active members of the AIDA Insurance and Reinsurance Society, also known as ARIAS. Our collective experience has helped us create a valuable database of knowledge with a broad range of arbitrators both inside and outside the United States.
United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company v. American Re-Insurance Company et al. (NY. Court of Appeals): We obtained a 5-0 victory in the New York Court of Appeals in a landmark decision on the “follow the fortunes” doctrine. Because most reinsurance agreements are governed by New York law, this decision is widely followed and will have a widespread impact on the insurance industry.
Ford Motor Co. v. National Indemnity Co. (E.D. Va.): We defended Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, National Indemnity Co., in a challenge to its business model of purchasing and running off policies on behalf of policy-issuing companies. Ford filed this action in federal court claiming that National Indemnity had violated Virginia’s Conspiracy statute and engaged in tortious interference with contract by causing its insurer to refuse to pay allegedly valid claims. The conspiracy statute carries severe penalties, including trebling of damages. We obtained summary judgment dismissing the conspiracy claims, thereby eliminating Ford’s claim for treble damages.
Various United Guaranty Reinsurance Litigation Matters: We are lead counsel for United Guaranty, which was named as a defendant in over ten class actions brought under Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA). The class plaintiffs all allege violations of RESPA’s anti-kick-back provisions arising from United Guaranty’s practice of obtaining reinsurance for its mortgage insurance policies from captive insurers affiliated with lending banks. We have obtained dismissals in nine of the class actions on various grounds including that the actions are time barred and that the class plaintiff lacked standing to bring the claims. See, e.g., White v. PNC Bank et al (E.D. Pa.);Menichino v. Citibank, et al (W.D. Pa.); Manners v. FifthThird Bank et al (W.D. Pa.); Cunningham v. M&T Bank (M.D. Pa); McCarn v. HSBC, et al (E.D. Ca.). Plaintiff has appealed Samp v. J.P. Morgan, et al (C.D. Cal.) and Orange v. Wachovia Bank (C.D. Cal.) to the Ninth Circuit. Three class actions remain pending and are proceeding to discovery: Riddle v. Bank of America et al (E.D.Pa.); Barlee v. First Horizon National Corp. (E.D. Pa.); Ba v. HSBC Bank (E.D. Pa.).
In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation (MDL)(E.D. La.): We represented AIG and its subsidiaries in numerous class action and individual lawsuits related to defective Chinese-manufactured drywall products, much of which was consolidated in a multi-district litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Royal Park Investments, SA/NV v. CIFG Assurance North America, Inc. (New York Supreme Court): We represented CIFG Assurance North America, Inc. (“CIFG”) in an action in which CIFG was alleged to have breached two agreements with Royal Park Investments, SA/NV (“RPI”) – a special purpose vehicle formed to hold Fortis Bank assets – arising from a mortgage backed securities bond issuance that RPI purchased and CIFG insured. RPI sought to recover its purported share of liquidation proceeds that CIFG obtained upon liquidation of the collateral on the grounds that in agreeing to forego RPI’s right to CIFG’s insurance on the bonds, RPI was entitled to its share of the liquidated proceeds. Following extensive summary judgment briefing and argument, we obtained a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of RPI’s claim.
MBIA v. Countrywide et al. (New York Superior Court): We secured another victory for our client, MBIA Insurance Corporation. In Justice Bransten’s decision on the parties’ summary judgment motions, she adopted virtually the entire legal framework advocated by Quinn Emanuel. The ruling impacts other insurers and investors in RMBS who have sued issuers of RMBS for fraud and breach of contract. First, insurers in New York now have a clear path to recovery on misrepresentation claims, where they need not show either reasonable reliance or loss causation (beyond inducement to enter the transaction, or transaction causation). Second, insurers and investors in RMBS now can enforce repurchase claims for material breach regardless of whether or why the defective loans are in default or delinquency. In other words, the contractual requirement of “material and adverse effect” is tested as of the closing date only, rendering the housing collapse and financial crisis irrelevant. Third, insurers and investors can rely on the “no default” provisions in mortgage notes to capture borrower misrepresentations even where the transaction documents do not contain a representation and warranty prohibiting borrower fraud.
MBIA v. Countrywide et al. (New York Superior Court): We secured a significant ruling for our client, MBIA Insurance Corporation, in connection with its multibillion dollar claims against Bank of America Corporation and Countrywide, filed in the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court. The Court held that: (i) New York, not Delaware, law applied to a de facto merger claim against Bank of America; (ii) reliance is not an element of a successor liability claim based on a theory of implied assumption of liabilities; (iii) the payment of billions of dollars for Countrywide’s assets is not relevant to a de facto merger claim; and (iv) a strict asset-for-stock sale is not necessary to establish continuity of ownership under a de facto merger claim. Numerous plaintiffs across the country have alleged that Bank of America should be held liable for Countrywide’s misconduct, and this ruling establishes the correct legal standards to prove such claims at trial.
Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. v. UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. (S.D.N.Y.): We represented Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (“Assured”) in its lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. (“UBS”) arising out of Assured’s issuance of financial guaranty insurance for RMBS underwritten and marketed by UBS. On May 6, 2013, after a series of procedural wins for Assured, UBS agreed to settle Assured’s claims for breaches of representations and warranties for $360 million plus an ongoing reinsurance obligation covering 85% of Assured’s forward liabilities with respect to the insured certificates.
Axa Vericherung AG v. New Hampshire Insurance Co. (2d Cir): We obtained a complete victory for our client, American International Group, when we convinced the Second Circuit to vacate a nearly $35 million judgment in a complex reinsurance case against several AIG subsidiaries and to remand the case to the district court for entry of judgment in AIG’s favor.
Horowitz v. American International Group, Inc. (S.D.N.Y): We obtained dismissal with prejudice and affirmation in the Second Circuit of that dismissal of a nationwide class action against Chartis Insurance Group brought by investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme who demanded that their insurers compensate them for loss of fictitious profits.
National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. v. American International Group, Inc. (E.D. Ill.): We obtained dismissal with prejudice of a $1 billion civil fraud and RICO action brought against AIG by a nationwide reinsurance pool, in a case that involves allegations of premium underreporting that had precipitated a $350 million settlement with former New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer.
Park Terrace LLC v. Transportation Insurance Co. (Supreme Court of Wisconsin): We were retained after trial and on appeal obtained a reversal of an $8 million award of bad faith and punitive damages, which was the largest award of such damages against an insurer in Wisconsin history.
In re: Arbitration Between Houston Casualty Co. and CineFinance Insurance Services: After a ten-day arbitration, we obtained a complete victory, including an award of $3.9 million attorney’s fees and costs for Houston Casualty Company and CineFinance Insurance Services (HCC) in a dispute concerning the financing of a motion picture entitled “Tekken.” HCC guaranteed the financiers of “Tekken” that the film would be completed and delivered by November 29, 2009, but the film was not delivered until December 2010, over a year later with no written extension or waiver of the delivery date. One of the financiers initiated an arbitration against HCC claiming $15.8 million under the completion guaranty. Although Newbridge never agreed to extend the delivery date, the Arbitrator found that Newbridge knew that the film could not be completed and delivered by November 29th and waived the delivery date. He denied Newbridge any relief and awarded HCC its attorney’s fees and costs.
Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. v. North Pacific Insurance Co. (9th Cir.): We were retained after trial and persuaded the Ninth Circuit to vacate a multi-million dollar judgment against our insurer client, finding on a case of first impression that the trial court had failed to consider whether an insurer targeted by an all sums election who seeks contribution must provide adequate notice to co-insurers.
Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. v. JP Morgan Chase and Syncora Guaranty Inc. v. Jefferson County (NY Supreme Ct): Assured Guaranty and Syncora retained us to recoup over $700 million in rescissionary damages from J.P. Morgan and Jefferson County, Alabama on claims of fraud and aiding and abetting fraud in connection with solicitation of bond insurance policies. These cases have been resolved.