On December 24, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that an arbitration award filed in connection with a petition to confirm constituted a “judicial record” to which the common law right of public access applies. The Court also held that the ceding company failed to demonstrate a “clearly defined” injury that would warrant keeping the award under seal. The award was thus unsealed and made available to the public, including the ceding company’s other reinsurers who were not parties to the arbitration. Pennsylvania Nat’l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. New England Reinsurance Corp., No. 20-1872, 2020 WL 7663878 (3d Cir. Dec. 24, 2020).
In April 2018, Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Company (“Penn National”) petitioned the District Court to confirm an arbitration award in order to reduce the award to judgment. The arbitration award was filed as part of the petition, and the District Court granted Penn National’s request to file the award under seal. The parties then settled, and the District Court took no action on the petition to confirm.