CLEVELAND—Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, seeking a declaration from the court that it has no obligation of asbestos-related claims filed against Goodyear.
Also, Berkshire Hathaway—formerly known as Stonewall Insurance Co.—also seeks reimbursement of claims it previously paid Goodyear.
In its April 5 complaint, Berkshire Hathaway said Goodyear is facing some 62,000 asbestos-related claims in states including New York, Maryland, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania. Those claimants allege asbestos-related diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural plaques and bronchogenic carcinoma.
Goodyear had an insurance policy with Stonewall in excess of other policies issued by Travelers Insurance and other companies, according to the complaint.
In November 2015, for the first time nearly 40 years after taking out the Stonewall policy, Goodyear said the policies underlying the Stonewall policy were exhausted, triggering the Stonewall policy, the complaint said.
Also, Goodyear claimed the underlying policies were exhausted in 2008 and demanded reimbursement for claims defense costs between 2008 and 2015, totaling several million dollars, it said.
Berkshire Hathaway has reimbursed some of Goodyear's post-November 2015 costs under a complete reservation of rights, according to the complaint.
Berkshire Hathaway seeks a court declaration that, under the terms of the policy, the insurer has no obligation to reimburse, defend or indemnify Goodyear for any asbestos-related claims until the underlying claims are exhausted.
It also wants the court to declare that it has no duty to pay any of Goodyear's claims prior to November 2015, and that it has the right to recoup the money it has already paid Goodyear.
A Goodyear spokesman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.