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Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Randall & Quilter Reinsurance Co.

January 24, 2007

NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE CO., PETITIONER,
v.
RANDALL & QUILTER REINSURANCE CO., RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Algenon L. Marbley United States District Judge

JUDGE ALGENON L. MARBLEY

Magistrate Judge Kemp

ORDER & OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. Petitioner Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. ("Nationwide") brought a petition to confirm an arbitration award issued in proceedings with Respondent Randall & Quilter Reinsurance Co. ("R&Q"). R&Q disputes whether the Court has the statutory authority to confirm the entire award and petitions the Court to confirm a purported interim confidentiality award. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Nationwide's Motion for Summary Judgment, CONFIRMS the arbitration award, and DENIES R&Q's motion for confirmation of the purported interim confidentiality award.

II. BACKGROUND

Nationwide, one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, contracted to reinsure part of its risk portfolio with R&Q. A dispute arose over R&Q's contractual obligations and it stopped honoring some of Nationwide's claims. The parties agreed to arbitration and the panel awarded Nationwide $2.427 million in damages and interest. The panel rejected Nationwide's allegation that R&Q acted in bad faith and ordered each party to bear its own costs. The award also contained a provision ordering R&Q to pay or object in writing to Nationwide's future claims within ninety days of billing.

R&Q paid Nationwide $2.427 million, the full amount of the arbitration award. Nationwide filed a petition in this Court for an Order to Confirm the Arbitration Award. R&Q does not wish to vacate the award or challenge the panel's findings. Rather, R&Q disputes whether the Court has the authority to confirm the entire final award and petitions the Court to confirm a purported interim award safeguarding the confidentiality of the arbitration.*fn1 Both parties move for summary judgment.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact [such that] the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). But "summary judgment will not lie if the . . . evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); see Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Therefore, the movant has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Barnhart v. Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling Co., 12 F.3d 1382, 1388-89 (6th Cir. 1993). But the non-moving party "may not rest upon its mere allegations." Fed. R. Civ. P.56(e); see Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir. 1994). The non-moving party must present "significant probative evidence" to show that there is more than "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Moore v. Philip Morris Cos., 8 F.3d 335, 339-40 (6th Cir. 1993).

The standard of review for cross-motions of summary judgment is the same. Taft Broad. Co. v. U.S., 929 F.2d 240, 248 (6th Cir. 1991). The fact that "both parties have moved for summary judgment does not mean that the court must grant judgment as a matter of law for one side or the other; summary judgment in favor of either party is not proper if disputes remain as to material facts." Id. Rather, the court must evaluate each party's motion on its own merits. Id. In the case of cross-motions, the Court must "tak[e] care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences against the party whose motion is under consideration." Id.

IV. LAW & ANALYSIS

Nationwide petitions the Court to confirm the arbitration award. R&Q has fully satisfied the judgment and does not seek to vacate it. But R&Q has two objections to Nationwide's petition: (1) the action is moot; and (2) the Court lacks the statutory authority to confirm the award because R&Q only consented to binding arbitration in a few, but not all, of the underlying contracts. In addition, R&Q requests that the Court confirm a purported interim arbitration order guaranteeing the ...


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