Insurance coverage litigation often involves document production requests for reinsurance information and communications. Courts are mixed on granting motions to compel production of reinsurance information. But what happens to reinsurance-related evidence when it comes to trial? One court recently answered that question.
In Fluor Corp. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 4:16CV00429 ERW (E.D. Miss. Jul. 16, 2021), the parties made a variety of motions in limine in advance of trial in an insurance coverage dispute. One of the insurer’s motion was to exclude evidence of reinsurance, including communications with its reinsurers concerning the underlying claims. The policyholder argued that many trial exhibits mentioned reinsurance and that it was not practical or justified to redact all those exhibits.
The court granted the motion based on Rule 411 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and cited a series of 8th Circuit cases on the prejudicial nature of allowing evidence of insurance or reinsurance. The court held that the evidence of reinsurance posed a high risk of prejudice to the insurer.
It’s a short decision. Not a lot of deep analysis, but the 8th Circuit cases were applied by the court to avoid prejudice to the insurer that was likely to arise by reference to reinsurance coverage at trial.