Pilkington Ordered to Share Documents in Insurance Payout CaseApril 15th, 2022 by Luly Hernandez
In its ongoing case against Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI), Pilkington North America, was ordered to share documents with the insurance company after experiencing a $60 to $100 million loss caused by a tornado striking its glass manufacturing facility in Ottawa, Ill., on February 28, 2017.
In early 2021, Nippon Sheet Glass, parent company of Pilkington, moved to dismiss a third-party complaint brought forth against it by MSI.
In February 2022, MSI filed a Motion to Compel against Pilkington to produce certain withheld or redacted documents over which Pilkington claimed work product protection, according to court documents.
The day after the tornado struck its factory, Pilkington sought compensation through a commercial property and business interruption insurance policy issued by MSI to NSG Group. Pilkington alleges that MSI revised the insurance policy fraudulently so that the loss caused by the tornado would not be fully compensable. It has also alleged that its insurance broker at the time, Aon Risk Services Central, provided faulty advice while brokering the policy, which allowed MSI’s fraud to succeed.
“Pilkington has not submitted any sworn testimony that it did not view Aon as a potential adversary,” says presiding U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, in court documents filed April 5, 2022. “In the absence of such evidence, and in light of the evidence of Aon’s critical role in obtaining the coverage at issue, we cannot find that Pilkington saw no potential for Aon to become its adversary with respect to the insurance dispute… litigation against Aon was a likely outcome as soon as Pilkington learned that the policy Aon had brokered contained, as Pilkington puts it, ‘an abnormal windstorm sublimit,’”
The change to the local policy occurred in an effort to mirror it with NSG Group’s master policy, which puts a $15 million sublimit on windstorm damage.
From 2009 to 2017, Pilkington procured commercial property insurance from MSI through Aon. Before 2015, Pilkington’s insurance policy with MSI offered coverage of up to $313 million for damages caused by certain windstorms. In June 2015, MSI proposed to Aon certain changes to Pilkington’s policy, including a change in the wording of a policy sublimit applicable to windstorms.
According to court documents, Pilkington alleges that it assented to the policy changes based on Aon’s representations that the changes would impact “the values of the Policy limit and sublimits only, and that it did not change the wording of . . . the Windstorm Sublimit.”
“On March 2, 2017, Aon alerted Pilkington to the provision of the MSI policy that limited certain windstorm losses to $15 million. Shortly thereafter, Pilkington retained Aon as a consultant to assist Pilkington with the preparation of its insurance claim under the MSI policy,” the documents say.
Pilkington, therefore, intends to file an appropriate response to Aon’s proposed counterclaims for breach of contract and contractual indemnification once they are filed, and to assert all applicable defenses against them.
Pilkington filed a Motion to Compel for the production of certain information withheld or redacted by MSI on “asserted grounds of attorney-client privilege, work-product protection, or lack of relevance, or in the alternative, an in camera inspection of the same.” The case’s docket lists an oral argument on this motion will take place on April 29, 2022, at 11 a.m.
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