The Texas Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court order denying New Hampshire Insurance Company’s motion to compel arbitration of Magellan Reinsurance Company’s nine common law and statutory claims. New Hampshire and Magellan entered into a reinsurance agreement whereby Magellan agreed to accept 100% of New Hampshire’s obligations under automobile dealer insurance policies. Pursuant to the agreement, Magellan established a trust account from which New Hampshire was authorized to withdraw funds to pay claims. A dispute arose after New Hampshire had emptied the trust account and demanded that Magellan make an additional $1.4 million deposit to replenish it. Magellan in turn questioned New Hampshire’s claims handling and accounting practices. New Hampshire responded by filing a petition in Turks and Caicos Island (TCI) courts seeking to wind up Magellan’s business, citing to the purportedly unpaid $1.4 million obligation and a TCI ordinance relating to a company’s inability to pay debt.

Several years of litigation in TCI, Texas, and New York courts ensued during which time, among other developments, New Hampshire successfully defeated Magellan’s attempt to stay the TCI litigation for arbitration. The TCI litigation, however, was ultimately concluded in Magellan’s favor in 2009 with a finding that New Hampshire was not a “creditor” of Magellan and thus could not wind up Magellan’s business. New Hampshire then sought to compel arbitration of Magellan’s action pending in Texas state court. The trial court denied the motion to compel. The Texas Court of Appeals affirmed holding that, because New Hampshire had convinced the TCI court to deny Magellan’s request to stay litigation for arbitration, New Hampshire was judicially estopped from seeking to arbitrate Magellan’s claims. New Hampshire Insurance Co. v. Magellan Reinsurance Co., No. 02-12-00196-CV (Tex. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2013).

This post written by Ben Seessel.

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