Lightfoot Wins Non-Signatory Arbitration Opinion for Assurant, Inc.
Jul 1, 2009 Birmingham, Ala.
A unanimous Alabama Supreme Court sided with Assurant, Inc. and compelled a plaintiff to arbitration. Assurant, Inc. v. Mitchell, No. 1061754 (Ala. Jun. 26, 2009). The plaintiff sued Assurant under an insurance policy issued her by Assurant subsidiary American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida. The policy contained an arbitration clause, but Assurant was not a party to the policy, and the plaintiff did not sue American Bankers. Assurant moved the circuit court to compel arbitration but the lower court refused. The state’s high court saw the case differently. Because she had sued Assurant as the agent or alter ego of American Bankers, and because her claims arose from the American Bankers policy, she could not avoid the policy’s arbitration clause. Though it was not a signatory to the contract, Assurant was entitled to compel arbitration. Mike Bell, Drew Kelly, and John Mayo represent Assurant in the ongoing case, while Craig Rosler participated on the brief.