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Bank of San Pedro v. Forbes Westar Inc.

filed: April 24, 1995; As Amended May 30, 1995.

BANK OF SAN PEDRO, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
FORBES WESTAR, INC., A WASHINGTON CORPORATION; ROPNER INSURANCE SERVICES, LTD.; LLOYD'S UNDERWRITERS; THREADNEEDLE INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. D.C. No. CV-91-01173-IEG. Marilyn Huff, District Judge, Presiding. Original Opinion Previously Reported at:,.

Before: Robert R. Beezer, and John T. Noonan, Jr., Circuit Judges, and David A. Ezra,*fn* District Judge. Opinion by Judge Noonan.

Author: Noonan

Order AND AMENDED OPINION

NOONAN, Circuit Judge:

Bank of San Pedro (the Bank) appeals from the grant by the district court of summary judgment in favor of Lloyd's Underwriters and companies selling insurance on the London Insurance Market (the Insurers). We reverse the district court.

PROCEEDINGS

The Bank filed its complaint against the Insurers alleging breach of an insurance contract and various other claims in the Southern District of California on August 28, 1991. The Bank alleged jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship. The defendants were the Insurers that underwrote the insurance on the London Market and the two brokers through whom the insurance was purchased, Forbes Westar, Inc. (Forbes), an insurance broker based in the State of Washington, and Ropner Insurance Services, Ltd. (Ropner), a London insurance broker qualified to do business at Lloyd's. The brokers took no part in this appeal; "defendants" herein refers to the Insurers.

The Bank, the owner of a ship, the Princess Louise, sought recovery for its loss. The Bank moved to strike the answer of the defendants on the ground that they had failed to comply with California Insurance Code § 1616. On July 21, 1992, the district court denied the motion to strike holding that the insurance contract fell within two exceptions in § 1620. The Insurers moved for summary judgment, which was granted by the district court on July 27, 1992.

The Bank appeals both the denial of the motion to strike and the grant of summary judgment.

ANALYSIS

Jurisdiction

The Bank asserted jurisdiction in the district court on the basis of diversity of citizenship. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has since been substituted for the Bank and now is the proper party. We continue to have jurisdiction pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 1819(b)(2)(A).

Regardless of the source of jurisdiction, there can be no dispute that the contract to insure the Princess Louise is a contract of marine insurance. This court has observed that "whether federal or local law applies to a maritime insurance contract can present a troublesome ...


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