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Hartford wins dispute against opioid manufacturer


A federal appeals court Thursday affirmed a lower court ruling in favor of a Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. unit against an opioid manufacturer, agreeing the company had filed its complaint too late.

The claims-made provisions of the excess insurance policies issued by Hartford unit Navigators Specialty Insurance Co. to Newton, Pennsylvania-based KVK-Tech Inc., an opioid manufacturer, required it to provide notice of a covered claim when it was first made against it during the policy period, or “as soon as practicable,” said the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in KVK-Tech, Inc. v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Co.

It is undisputed that KVK-Tech had notice of the opioid lawsuit filed against it on or before Aug. 31, 2017, while the 2017-18 Navigators policy was in effect, the ruling said.

KVK-Tech had 30 days from the policy’s expiration, or until Sept. 20, 2018, to provide notice of the claims against it to Navigators, the ruling said. It notified other excess insurers of other opioid lawsuits that were pending against it on June 25, 2019, the ruling said.

Yet it did not notify Navigators of any of the opioid lawsuits against it until Jan. 27, 2020, “despite having notice nearly three years earlier” and it having notified its other excess carriers, the ruling said.

“In sum, KVK-Tech failed to provide timely notice to Navigators,” the brief ruling said, in affirming the U.S. District Court in Mobile, Alabama.

In court papers, the company said, “A question of fact exists as to whether the notice provided by KVK-Tech was reasonable under the circumstances.”

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.