Shook Resolves Insurance Dispute Stemming from Asbestos Personal-Injury Lawsuits

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri

Shook, Hardy & Bacon represented Evanston Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Markel Corp., in a two-week jury trial concerning breach of excess insurance policies and vexatious refusal to pay claims. Evanston retained Shook as trial counsel just six weeks before trial in a dispute that was more than 12 years old and involved a dozen defendants. At issue in trial was whether Evanston owed damages to plaintiff Nooter Corp. under several excess insurance policies for unreimbursed expenditures made by the St. Louis manufacturer to settle and defend hundreds of asbestos personal-injury lawsuits. Nooter sought more than $11 million in damages for (i) failing to provide defense costs and indemnity payments for the asbestos lawsuits, and (ii) interest, penalties and attorneys' fees under the statutory claim for vexatious conduct (a Missouri equivalent to a bad-faith claim). Although it found for Nooter, the jury awarded an amount that was significantly less than the case could have settled for at any point before or during trial. Nooter Corp. v. Allianz Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 4:2010cv00744 (E.D. Mo., 2014).