Travelers Insurance Ordered to Pay $36 Million
By: CPR @ Jan 18, 2016
A federal judge recently ruled that Travelers Insurance Company must pay General Refractories Co. (GRC) a total of $36 million, with $15 million of that being interest, in excess liability coverage for asbestos lawsuits against GRC.
GRC Settles Asbestos Cases
The recent decision involving Travelers Insurance stems from a slew of asbestos cases filed against GRC (totally approximately 33,000 asbestos lawsuits) that have been ongoing since 2004. GRC was implicated in the lawsuits because it had manufactured and supplied products containing asbestos, resulting in thousands of cases of asbestos-related diseases. GRC settled the tens of thousands of asbestos lawsuits against it in a $21 million settlement decision.
The Role of Travelers Insurance
To be clear, it was GRC, not the company’s insurance company (which happened to be Travelers) that paid the $21 million settlement amount to resolve the asbestos lawsuits. Due to a contractual agreement between GRC and Travelers Insurance, however, which was issued in the mid-1980s, GRC argued that Travelers not only owed the company the $21 million policy limit, but interest as well.
Travelers Insurance agreed to the principal amount per the contract ($21 million), but argued that if it did owe any interest on the principal amount, it should be limited to four percent; Pennsylvania law, on the other hand, mandates a six percent judgment interest for breach of contract claims.
The judge in the case, Judge Felipe Restrepo, concluded that, “There is a fundamental difference between Travelers’ obligation to indemnify GRC for certain risks or perils, and Travelers’ obligation to pay interest on money that has been withheld from GRC in breach of the insurance contracts.” The details of the case of General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co. Et. Al can be read online.
A Multimillion-Dollar Decision
Not only did Judge Restrepo determine that Travelers Insurance had indeed breached its contract with GRC and was therefore obligated to pay interest on the withheld money, but he also ordered that the amount to be paid should be a whopping $15 million, bringing the total owed to GRC from Travelers from $21 million to $36 million. Neither of the attorneys involved in the case, representing either party, responded to inquiry when contacted by The Legal Intelligencer.
What to Do If You Have an Asbestos-Related Illness
Companies that manufactured or/and distributed asbestos-containing products in the past may be held liable for any illnesses that develop as a direct result of contact with asbestos in those products. As is demonstrated in the case of, asbestos-related lawsuits can yield hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims and their families. While we cannot promise you a multimillion dollar settlement amount, at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. we can promise to work hard on your behalf.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed an asbestos-related disease as a direct result and believe that you may have a lawsuit, contact our experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania asbestos attorneys today. Your first consultation with us is always free, and we can answer any questions that you may have about suing the at-fault party and recovering damages. We are reachable now at 888-236-4230.
Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC (215) 567-3500