Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London v. Chemtura Corp.
Delaware Supreme Court
160 A.3d 457 (2017)
Chemtura Corporation (Chemtura) (plaintiff) was a large international chemical company. In 2005 Chemtura purchased Uniroyal, formerly United States Rubber Company. United States Rubber Company’s principal place of business was in New York. In the 1950s, United States Rubber Company purchased insurance policies from Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London (Lloyds) (defendant) as well as other insurers. Uniroyal chemicals contaminated sites in numerous states and in Canada. In 2005, when Chemtura purchased Uniroyal, liability for damages at two sites remained: one in Arkansas and one in Ohio. Chemtura filed suit in Delaware state court against Lloyds, seeking coverage. Lloyds argued that New York law applied to Chemtura’s claim, and Lloyds and the other insurers were only liable for a pro rata share of Chemtura’s claim. Chemtura argued that Ohio law applied to the Ohio site and Arkansas law applied to the Arkansas site, making each insurer liable for the entire risk. Both parties filed motions for a choice-of-law determination, and the trial court held that New York did not have any recent contacts with the issues, and instead the law of the state where each site was located applied. Lloyds appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Strine, C.J.)
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