July 21, 2022

Fishkin Lucks Wins Summary Judgment in New York County

Fishkin Lucks obtained summary judgment for its client, National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (“National Union”) in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, dismissing a contribution action filed by Allied World Insurance Company (“Allied World”). Following Allied World’s payment of its $5M coverage limit to its insured, Sabra Dipping Company, the producer of the country’s top selling hummus, in connection with Sabra’s voluntary recall of certain hummus products, Allied World brought suit against National Union seeking contribution alleging that Sabra’s loss was also covered under a National Union policy issued to PepsiCo, Inc. Allied World contended that Sabra was an insured under the National Union policy and that the National Union policy should contribute to the loss, because Sabra was half-owned by a PepsiCo subsidiary, Frito-Lay. Following discovery, in which the Firm obtained a protective order barring Allied World from deposing National Union underwriting executives, which protective order was affirmed on appeal by the New York Appellate Division (First Department), the Firm moved for summary judgment, arguing that Sabra was not an insured under the National Union policy. Allied World cross-moved for summary judgment seeking a declaration that Sabra was covered under the National Union policy and thus, that Allied World was entitled to contribution from National Union. In granting the Firm’s motion and denying Allied World’s cross-motion, the Court agreed with the Firm’s arguments that the National Union policy was unambiguous, that Sabra was not an insured under it, and that the parties are highly sophisticated and entirely capable, had they wished, of drafting language to include Sabra as an insured.