District Court Denies Summary Judgment to Trustee of Trust Account Maintained for Beneficiary of “Fronted” Reinsurance Program
The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina denied summary judgment to the trustee of an account established pursuant to a “fronted” reinsurance program. The plaintiff, Accident Insurance Co. (AIC), participated in the program with non-party Freestone Insurance Co. Freestone paid AIC a fee to use its name and paper as a “front,” while bearing the actual risk of the fronted policies by reinsuring them under a “Program Agreement” with AIC. That agreement required Freestone to deposit funds into a separate trust account to be maintained by a trustee for AIC’s benefit. The defendant, U.S. Bank National Association, was the trustee. After Freeman went into receivership, AIC sued U.S. Bank for civil conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things, after learning that nearly $7 million in trust assets seemingly disappeared. U.S. Bank moved for summary judgment on the civil conspiracy claim, arguing AIC could not have conspired with its wholly owned subsidiaries, and had no evidence of a “meeting of the minds” between these entities to “illegally transfer” trust assets. The court denied the motion, finding a genuine issue of fact as to each element of the civil conspiracy claim, and that breach of fiduciary duty is an independent tort that can give rise to a civil conspiracy claim under Delaware law.
Accident Ins. Co. v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, No. 3:16-cv-02621-JMC (D. S.C. Mar. 22, 2019).