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Resco Holdings, L.L.C. v. AIU Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 19, 2018

RESCO HOLDINGS, L.L.C. PLAINTIFF
v.
AIU INSURANCE CO., ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES Appeal by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Appellant

          Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-07-637166

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Daniel J. Lynn Donald C. Brown Timothy R. Dingilian Jackson & Campbell, P.C. Stephen W. Funk Ronald B. Lee Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A. Arthur M. Kaufman Kaufman, Drozdowski & Grendell, L.L.C. Richard C.O. Rezie Alton L. Stephens Gallagher Sharp, L.L.C. Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company Michael C. Brink Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P. Michele L. Backus Edward B. Parks, II James P. Ruggeri Shipman & Goodwin, L.L.P. Arthur M. Kaufman Kaufman, Drozdowski & Grendell, L.L.C. Keven Drummond Eiber Richard C.O. Rezie Gallagher Sharp, L.L.C.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For AIU Insurance Company Daniel J. Lynn Donald C. Brown Timothy R. Dingilian Jackson & Campbell, P.C. Ronald B. Lee Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A.

          For Employers Insurance Company of Wausau Eric E. Caugh Rolf E. Gilbertson Patricia St. Peter Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason, L.L.P. Thomas S. Mazanec Terry Williams Mazanec, Raskin & Rider Co., L.P.A. Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For First State Insurance Company Edward B. Parks, II James P. Ruggeri Shipman & Goodwin, L.L.P. Michael C. Brink Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P. Michele L. Backus Keven Drummond Eiber

          For Nationwide Indemnity Company Kaisa Adams Christopher R. Paar Rolf E. Gilbertson Patricia St. Peter Eric E. Caugh Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason, L.L.P. Thomas S. Mazanec Mazanec, Raskin & Rider Co., L.P.A.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company Arthur M. Kaufman Kaufman, Drozdowski & Grendell, L.L.C. Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P. Terry Williams Mazanec, Raskin & Rider Co., L.P.A. Stephen P. Brown Charles W. Browning Maryanne B. Foster Patrick E. Winters Plunkett & Cooney, P.C.

          For Travelers Casualty & Surety Company Henry G. Grendell Kaufman, Drozdowski & Grendell, L.L.C. Terry Williams Mazanec, Raskin & Rider Co., L.P.A.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For Travelers Casualty & Surety Company (Continued) Patrick E. Winters Maryanne B. Foster Charles W. Browning Stephen P. Brown Plunkett & Cooney, P.C. Arthur M. Kaufman

          For Travelers Indemnity Company Arthur M. Kaufman 29525 Chagrin Blvd. Kevin M. Young Tucker Ellis, L.L.P. Terry Williams Mazanec, Raskin & Rider Co., L.P.A. Maryanne B. Foster Charles W. Browning Stephen P. Brown Patrick E. Winters Plunkett & Cooney, P.C.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For Twin City Fire Insurance Company James P. Ruggeri Edward B. Parks, II Shipman & Goodwin, L.L.P. Keven Drummond Eiber Michele L. Backus Eric Weiss Cavitch, Familo & Durkin Co., L.P.A. Kevin M. Young Michael C. Brink Tucker Ellis, L.L.P.

          For Lexington Insurance Company, Granite State Insurance Company, Landmark Insurance Company and American Home Assurance Company Ronald B. Lee Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For Lexington Insurance Company, Granite State Insurance Company, Landmark Insurance Company and American Home Assurance Company (Continued) Daniel J. Lynn Donald C. Brown Timothy R. Dingilian Jackson & Campbell, P.C.

          BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., E.A. Gallagher, A.J., and Keough, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh ("National Union"), appeals a judgment that determined its equitable share of the costs of defending and indemnifying its insured, Rust Engineering Company ("Rust"), against thousands of asbestos-related bodily injury claims. National Union claims the following four assignments of error:

1. The trial court erred by not applying the pro rata methodology in determining the merits of the equitable contribution claims.
2. The trial court erred in ruling that Hartford was entitled to equitable contribution, even though Hartford did not pay more than its fair share of the liability.
3. The trial court erred in ruling that National Union owed equitable contribution to Wausau and Hartford jointly, instead of determining the amount of damages individually based upon the amount that each insurer paid in excess of its fair share.
4. The trial court erred in awarding an undefined amount of "interest" for past defense and indemnity costs.

         {¶2} We find no merit to the appeal and affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶3} Rust was a large construction and engineering firm that designed and built industrial facilities for a variety of clients including steel, tire, and chemical manufacturers, paper producers, and power plants. Asbestos-containing products were used in the construction, repair, and rebuilding of these industrial facilities over the course of several decades. Consequently, over 71, 000 claims for asbestos-related bodily injuries were filed against Rust since 1995. The claimants alleged they were exposed to asbestos at various work sites while Rust was conducting operations.

         {¶4} Rust obtained primary insurance from several insurance companies, including Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company ("Hartford"), Employers Insurance Company of Wausau ("Wausau"), Travelers Casualty and Surety Company ("Travelers"), Continental Insurance Company ("Continental"), National Union, and a few other carriers that are now insolvent. With the exception of the Continental policy, which contained unique provisions reducing its exposure, all of the primary policies issued to Rust or its corporate parents contained substantially similar language and were functionally equivalent. Under the policies, the insurers promised to pay all sums Rust is legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury caused by an occurrence during the policy period.

         {¶5} Rust filed a complaint for declaratory judgment against Hartford, Wausau, Travelers, Continental, National Union, and certain excess carriers in September 2007, seeking coverage for the thousands of underlying asbestos-related bodily injury claims. The primary insurance carriers filed cross-claims against each other for contribution. By stipulation of the parties, ...


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