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CombiMatrix, National Union Dispute Reaches Appellate Court

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CombiMatrix said this week that it has filed appellate briefs with the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will set a date for oral hearings in its ongoing dispute with National Union Fire Insurance Company. National Union has also filed appellate briefs with the court.

According to CEO Amit Kumar, the filing shows that the case with National Union is "nearing its final stages." CombiMatrix is hoping to collect nearly $36 million from National Union within the next year and a half.

Last year, a US District Court in California entered a final judgment in favor of CombiMatrix for $35.7 million, to be paid by National Union, supporting CombiMatrix in its suit against National Union, which claimed that the insurance firm had refused to defend and indemnify CombiMatrix under its director and officer's insurance policy (see BAN 3/10/2009).

National Union appealed the judgment to the 9th Circuit Court. An American International Group company, National Union in September 2008 posted an appellate bond of $39.3 million to cover possible payment of the judgment, including additional interest and possibly additional legal fees, according to CombiMatrix.

Kumar has said that, given AIG's current financial problems, he has received enquiries from stockholders about National Union's ability to pay the settlement, should the appellate court enter final judgment in CombiMatrix's favor.

Kumar said that the firm is "looking forward to the oral hearing," though he declined to provide a potential date. Last month, Kumar told BioArray News that CombiMatrix expects that, if it is successful, the judgment against National Union should be paid within the next "five or six" quarters (see BAN 5/5/2009).

CombiMatrix raised $7.6 million last month from existing investors. Kumar said at the time that the new financing would "strengthen the firm's balance sheet" and enable it to continue expanding its portfolio of array-based tests through its CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics subsidiary as well grow its sales and marketing activities.

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