In Positive Software Solutions, Inc. v. New Century Mortgage Corp., No. 04-11432 (Jan. 11, 2006), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (in a case which did not involve reinsurance) affirmed the judgment of a District Court vacating an arbitration award due to the failure of the sole arbitrator to disclose that his law firm served as co-counsel in an unrelated case with counsel for one of the parties in 1990 – 1996. The Court found that the failure to disclose the prior relationship created a reasonable impression of possible partiality that warranted vacating the arbitration award. The evidence was undisputed that the party against which the arbitration award had been entered did not know of the relationship until after the entry of the award. On May 5, 2006, the Fifth Circuit granted a petition for rehearing en banc, setting the matter for argument in September 2006.
Arbitration Process Issues
In Century Indemnity Company v. Paladin Reinsurance Corp., Civil Action No. 05-3755, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Court denied a motion to stay the confirmation of an arbitration award on equitable or prudential grounds, due to the insolvency of the party against which the award had been entered. The Court rejected the arguments that confirmation would provide the holder of the award an unfair advantage over other creditors, or that confirmation would interfere with ongoing regulatory proceedings before the New York Insurance Department.
In , 2006 WL 851643 (7th Cir. April 4, 2006), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that whether an arbitration agreement contained in a reinsurance agreement prohibited consolidated arbitration with other reinsurers was a prodecural issue to be decided by arbitrators, rather than an in issue of arbitrability for courts to decide.
Court compels arbitration of disputes with respect to two excess of loss reinsurance agreements covering medical malpractice liability insurance. The court interpreted an exception to the arbitration provision to be limited to disputes over the validity or formation of the reinsurance agreements. Medical Insurance Exchange of California v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London, 2006 WL 463531 (N.D. Cal. Feb., 24, 2006) (slip opinion).