Bradley attorney Marc Ayers was quoted in Law360 on his client, a Sinclair Oil Corp., urging the Wyoming Supreme Court to permit the company to pursue attorney fees from Infrassure Ltd., and other insurers, in a dispute over coverage for a 2014 petroleum refinery fire.
Ayers said that the $250 million policy that Infrassure and its co-insurers issued to Sinclair, its parent companies and more than 30 affiliates around the country was effectively "delivered" in the Cowboy State, such that the state's law applies to the policy.
A lower court judge originally concluded that the energy company’s fee bid was not viable because there was no evidence that the property policy was delivered or issued for delivery in Wyoming as required under the state’s insurance code.
However, Ayers emphasized that the policy contains language providing that, for each of the separate insured businesses, coverage "shall apply in the same manner, and to the same extent, as if individual policies had been issued to each such insured party."
For legal purposes, that language can be interpreted to say that all the insureds — including Sinclair— "got a separate policy," Ayers said. At a minimum, he argued, this establishes "constructive delivery" of the policy in Wyoming, which does not require the delivery of a physical copy of the policy to the insured.
Ayers further asserted that, before the Wyoming Legislature enacted the state insurance laws at issue, both legal precedent and insurance law treatises supported the notion that policies can be constructively delivered.
"If anything is to be assumed about the Legislature's use of the terms 'delivered' and 'delivery,' it would be that this industry-acknowledged meaning is incorporated into that," he said.
The original article, “Oil Co. Can Pursue Atty Fees From Insurer, Wyo. Justices Told,” appeared in Law360 on October 21, 2020.