State ex rel. N. River Ins. Co. v. Circuit Court (Per Curiam Opinion)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed tort claims against Mine Safety Appliances Company (“MSA”). Plaintiffs settled with MSA under settlement agreements that assigned to Plaintiffs the right to recover the remainder of the settlement amount under an insurance policy that North River Insurance Company sold to MSA. MSA then amended their complaints to add claims against North River, and MSA filed cross-claims against North River. In the meantime, earlier-filed litigation between North River and MSA was pending in Pennsylvania and Delaware. North River filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for a stay of the proceedings, arguing that West Virginia was an inconvenient forum and the proceedings should be dismissed pending resolution of the out-of-state litigation. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition subsequently sought by North River, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) denying North River’s motion to dismiss where strong deference was according to Plaintiffs’ choice of forum and considerations relevant to a forum non conveniens analysis suggest no basis for dismissal of the action; and (2) denying the motion to stay the proceedings, as it would be unfair and prejudicial to Plaintiffs to delay the trials unnecessarily.