Viking Pump, Inc. v. Century Indemnity Company, et al., No. 465-VCS (Del. Ch., Oct. 14, 2009), read opinion here

The Delaware Court of Chancery’s 90-page opinion in this case, involving esoteric issues of whether certain claims are covered by historic insurance policies, may qualify in some circles merely by virtue of its length only as a novella or a doctoral dissertation, but alas, it covers a topic that strays beyond the typical scope of this blog (and the court primarily applied New York law), so it will be relegated to “bullet point treatment” in order to highlight cursorily a few nuggets that are most likely to be of interest to the typical reader of these pages.

  • Warren Pumps LLC and Viking Pump, Inc. bought businesses from Houdaille Industries, Inc. and they seek to use insurance coverage that Houdaille purchased, in connection with pump manufacturing businesses that Houdaille used to own.
  • On cross-motions for summary judgment under Chancery Court Rule 56(h), the Court ruled that Viking Pump and Warren Pump could exercise the rights of the insured under the applicable policies. The Court also made related rulings. See also prior ruling at: Viking Pump, Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 2007 WL 2752914 (Del Ch. Apr. 13, 2007)(“Viking Pump I”).
  • The Court reminded us that Delaware employs the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws, and recited the five factors in Section 188 of the Restatement that are reviewed to decide what law governs a contract that is silent on the issue.  See also Section 193 that specifically applies to insurance contracts and Section 6 that provides “general” choice of law considerations.
  • For an extensive choice of law analysis in a different context, involving jurisdiction over partners of a Delaware partnership, see the very recent decision in the Total Holdings case, by the same author of this opinion, highlighted on this blog here.