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As Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe III would frequently remind United States Fidelity & Guaranty outside counsel Mary Kay Vyskocil and Chet Kronenberg of Simpson Thacher, their client’s fight to recoup reinsurance payments for about half of its $987 million settlement with an asbestos policyholder has been kicking around his docket for quite a long time. Simpson filed the breach of contract suit in 2002, after USF&G’s reinsurers balked at covering their share of USF&G’s 2002 settlement with its policyholder Western Asbestos Co. But facts in the case stretched back all the way to 1948, when USF&G, now part of Travelers, first wrote a policy for Western Asbestos; some of the reinsurance treaties at issue in the case before Lowe were written more than 60 years ago.

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