A reinsurance broker unsuccessfully sought an interlocutory appeal from a federal district court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment. The cause of action in the case was the Pennsylvania tort of negligent misrepresentation. It was alleged that the broker presented material misinformation to an Italian reinsurer that induced the reinsurer to reinsure various property and casualty risks in the United States. The broker argued on summary judgment that, under Pennsylvania law, this tort could not apply to it, since it was not a “professional information provider.” The court denied the summary judgment motion, and the broker subsequently moved to certify the question for immediate appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). The district court denied this motion, too. After noting that interlocutory appeals are generally disfavored, the district court found that there was no controlling question of law as to which there was a substantial ground for difference of opinion (a requisite of a § 1292(b) certification). Although the broker contended that Pennsylvania law does not impose liability for negligent misrepresentation on a reinsurance broker who negligently provides information to a potential reinsurer, the district court essentially determined that this was not a per se rule, especially given that part of the service of acting as a reinsurance broker is to provide information about the risk on which a reinsurer expects to be able to rely. The court found, therefore, that it was not clear that the broker’s proposed question was “controlling.” The district court also determined that an immediate appeal would not materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation (another requisite of certification), observing that the case was already “on the eve of trial.” For these reasons, the motion for leave to appeal was denied. United National Insurance Co. v. Aon, Ltd., Case No. 04-539 (USDC E.D. Pa. Apr. 7, 2008).
This post written by Brian Perryman.