Westport Insurance Corporation v. Vulcan, Inc.

On July 12, 2022 New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager granted GLLLP’s motion to dismiss an insurance coverage declaratory judgment action that was filed by DLA Piper on behalf of its client Westport Insurance, a subsidiary of insurance giant Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.  Over DLA Piper’s objections, Justice Ostrager agreed with GLLLP that the Westport action was barred by a prior action that Vulcan had filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.  The case is notable because Westport originally brought the New York action and sought a preliminary injunction barring the prosecution of the Washington federal action.  In December 2021, GLLLP notified DLA Piper that on December 21, 2021, the Appellate Division First Department decided a case, North Am. Elite Ins. Co. v. Space Needle, LLC, 200 A.D. 3d 425, 159 N.Y.S. 3d 396, rejecting the central choice of law and forum selection arguments DLA Piper had raised.  Within days of that notice, Westport withdrew its preliminary injunction motion but did not discontinue its action, which continued until Justice Ostrager’s July 12, 2022 Order dismissing the case.  Counsel representing insureds that are covered by insurance policies issued in states, such as Washington, that mandate force of law and forum selection should review carefully the Space Needle case, as it carefully and thoroughly discusses one of the more thorny and complex issues of multistate insurance coverage litigation.