Insurers Win Motion to Compel Arbitration of $115,000,000 Property Damage Claim

Founder Tim Wolf was recently recognized in an article by LAW360 as part of the litigation team who won a motion to compel arbitration of a $115,000,000  coverage dispute on behalf of his foreign insurance clients. The plaintiff, a St. Louis coal producer, claimed three of its mines sustained over $115,000,000 in damages from fire. The insurers disputed coverage under the policies for much of the claimed damages.

The foreign insurers’ policies contained arbitration provisions, which Tim’s clients sought to enforce.  However, Missouri’s Uniform Arbitration Act prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in insurance contracts.  As such, Foresight Energy, LLC relied upon Missouri’s anti-arbitration statute in its opposition.

U.S. District Judge John A. Ross acknowledged the “mounting precedent” favoring the enforcement of international arbitration agreements despite state anti-arbitration statutes in concluding the arbitration clauses in the policies are enforceable, which is consistent with prior decisions of the Fourth and Fifth Circuits.

Further, Judge Ross concluded the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent denial of certiorari of a similar case was significant in that the high court would likely agree with the result he reached.  The court’s full opinion can be found at Foresight Energy, LLC v. Ace American Insurance Company, 2023 WL 2585931 (E.D. MO, March 21, 2023).