Lexington Insurance Co. v. Southern Energy Homes, Inc.Annotate this Case
Lexington Insurance Company and Chartis, Inc. appealed a circuit court order that appointed a third arbitrator to the arbitration panel established to settle a dispute between Lexington and Southern Energy Homes, Inc. ("SEH"). From January 1, 2002, through October 31, 2004, SEH purchased from Lexington three commercial general-liability ("CGL") policies. An endorsement to a CGL policy insuring SEH from January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002, provided that SEH is responsible for a $100,000 self-insurance retention ("SIR") "per occurrence." Endorsements to two successive CGL policies that together provided coverage to SEH through October 31, 2004, provide that SEH is responsible for a $250,000 SIR per occurrence. The SIR applied both to costs of defense incurred by SEH and to amounts SEH pays in settlement or pursuant to a judgment. From January 1, 2002, through October 31, 2004, SEH was named as a defendant in 46 lawsuits alleging property damage and personal injury resulting from SEH's using a vinyl-on-gypsum product in the homes it manufactured. SEH gave notice of these lawsuits to Lexington, and that it had exhausted its SIR amounts in the litigation and was entitled to reimbursement from Lexington. More than 120 days passed without SEH receiving a decision from Lexington as to whether it agreed with SEH's claim for this amount. SEH made an arbitration demand pursuant to the arbitration clauses of the CGL policies, including the SIR endorsement to the 2002 policy. Upon review of the policies in question, the Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court erred in appointing the third arbitrator. The order was reversed and the case was remanded for further proceedings.