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Star Insurance Company v. Continental Resources

April 19, 2013

STAR INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC., CYCLONE DRILLING, INC., PLASTER & WALD CONSULTING CORP., M-I, LLC, ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA, TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA, AND TORUS SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles S. Miller, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO BIFURCATE EXTRA-CONTRACTUAL CLAIMS; INITIAL RULE 16 CASE SCHEDULE

Before the court is Star Insurance Company's Motion to Bifurcate Extra-Contractual Claims (Docket No. 105). Also, the court needs to issue its Rule 16 Scheduling Order.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of an explosion that occurred during the drilling of an oil well in western North Dakota, and a subsequent lawsuit brought in state court by three employees of defendant Cyclone Drilling, Inc. ("Cyclone") against a number of parties including Continental Resources, Inc. ("Continental"), Plaster & Wald Consulting Corp. ("P&W"), and M-I, LLC ("M-I"), who are all defendants in this action. Continental, the well operator, had engaged Cyclone to drill the well and P&W and M-I to provide supporting services.

The additional parties to this action are:

C Plaintiff Star Insurance Company ("Star"). Star is Cyclone's insurance carrier and has issued a primary policy with a 1 million dollar per occurrence limit and an umbrella policy with a 5 million dollar per occurrence limit.

C Defendant Torus Specialty Insurance Group ("Torus"). Torus is P&W's insurance carrier. According to the complaint, Torus has issued a primary policy with a 1 million dollar per occurrence limit and an umbrella policy with a 5 million dollar per occurrence limit.

C Defendant Travelers Property Casualty Company of America ("Travelers").

Travelers is M-I's insurance carrier. According to the complaint, Travelers has issued a primary policy with a 1 million dollar per occurrence limit. C Defendant Zurich American Insurance Company ("Zurich"). Zurich is one of

Continental's insurance carriers. According to the complaint, Zurich has issued a primary policy with a 1 million dollar per occurrence limit.

C Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Company ("National Union"). National

Union is another of Continental's insurers. According to the complaint, National Union has issued an umbrella policy with a 25 million dollar per occurrence limit. In this action, Star seeks various declaratory determinations including its obligation, or lack thereof, under its primary and umbrella policies to provide a defense and liability coverage to Continental, P&W, and M-I based on obligations assumed by Cyclone in one or more agreements with Continental. Also among the claims asserted by defendants in this action are counterclaims brought by Continental and P&W against Star for "bad faith" handling of its insurance obligations and by Continental for fraud and misrepresentation. These claims go beyond a determination of the rights and obligations of the parties arising out of the contracts that Continental had with Cyclone, P&W, and M-I and the above-referenced insurance policies and they will be referred to herein as the "Extra-Contractual Claims."

II. MOTION TO BIFURCATE

In the motion now before the court, Star requests bifurcation of the Extra-Contractual Claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b). Continental and P&W have filed responses in opposition. Both ...


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