Viking Energy, others sue insurer for failure to defend in lawsuits

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 20, 2017

CHARLESTON – Viking Energy Corporation, M&S Properties and Viking Transportation & Disposal Company are suing St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company after they claim it failed to defend them in lawsuits in which they were named defendants.

St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Viking Energy and the other defendants are a series of related West Virginia corporations and limited liability companies engaged in the oil and gas industry, according to a complaint filed Nov. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court and later removed to federal court.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants are related insurers who have provided policies of insurance in West Virginia to the plaintiffs.

On Nov. 21, 2013, Viking Energy was named as a defendant in a civil action in Kanawha Circuit Court and Viking gave timely notice of the filing and its request for defense to St. Paul. The defendants agreed to render a defense to the 2013 civil action, according to the suit.

Viking claims the defendant still wrongfully failed to fulfill its obligation to its insured and, by reason of the failure and refusal to render a full and complete defense to the plaintiff and to satisfy the claims asserted against it in the 2013 civil action, Viking was caused to incur substantial attorneys’ fees and other costs.

Viking is entitled to an order from the court finding and declaring that St. Paul is obligated to continue to render a defense to Viking and to satisfy the claims asserted against it in the 2013 civil action, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim on Nov. 20, 2014, M&S and Viking Transportation were named as defendants in another civil action in Kanawha Circuit Court and St. Paul also failed and refused to render a full and complete defense to them and to satisfy the claims asserted in the 2014 civil action.

M&S and Viking Transportation are entitled to an order from the court finding and declaring that St. Paul is obligated to continue to render a defense to Viking and to satisfy the claims asserted against it in the 2014 civil action, according to the suit.

On June 16, 2015, Viking was again named as a defendant in a civil action filed in Kanawha Circuit Court and the defendant, again, failed and refused to render a full and complete defense to it and to satisfy the claims asserted in the 2015 civil action.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages. They are being represented by Stephen L. Thompson of Barth & Thompson.

St. Paul is represented by Peter G. Zurbuch of Busch, Zurbuch & Thompson PLLC.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:16-cv-12574

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