William J. Cremer and Jennifer M. Lee Obtain Dismissal of Chinese Insurance Company From High-stakes Coverage Action


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the decision of the Oregon Federal District Court, dismissing with prejudice a Chinese insurance company for forum non conveniens in a high-stakes insurance coverage action. In the case, the plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment action against the Chinese insurance company, alleging that coverage was owed in connection with numerous property damage, products liability claims throughout multiple states in the U.S.  Bill Cremer and Jenni Lee argued successfully that the Chinese insurance company should be dismissed from the case on forum non conveniens grounds due to the presence of an arbitration provision and a venue provision in the applicable insurance policy.  After extensive briefing and oral argument, the Oregon Federal District Court found in favor of the Chinese insurance company and dismissed it with prejudice.  Plaintiffs appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.  It was a hard-won battle for the Chinese insurance company, as many of the complex international legal issues that were litigated involved issues of first impression.