Vermont DFR Awarded $66.7 Million in Global Hawk Lawsuit

On July 21, 2023, Judge Christina Reiss of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont (Vermont District Court) awarded the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (Vermont DFR) $67.7 million in a lawsuit filed against Jasbir S. Thandi and Global Century Insurance Brokers (GCIB).

Thandi was the controlling officer of the Vermont-domiciled Global Hawk Insurance Company Risk Retention Group (Global Hawk) and the sole owner of GCIB, Global Hawk’s managing general agent. GCIB operated out of Livermore, California.

Global Hawk was a Transportation risk retention group that provided commercial auto liability to truckers. The Vermont DFR placed Global Hawk into liquidation in June 2020. The case pertains to the alleged fraud perpetrated by Thandi and GCIB.

The case, which was initially filed by Michael S. Pieciak in October 2022, and is now brought by Vermont DFR Commissioner Kevin J. Gaffney (the Plaintiff), brought nine causes against the defendants including violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and breach of contract.

The Vermont DFR brought the case in its capacity as the Liquidator for Global Hawk. “The Liquidator is vested with the title to all property, contracts, and rights of action of Global Hawk and he is authorized to, among other things, institute actions to collect moneys due and claims belonging to Global Hawk and prosecute any action on behalf of its creditors, members, policyholders or shareholders against any officer of Global Hawk or any other person,” as per the Vermont DFR website.

A default was entered against GCIB in February 2021 after GCIB “failed to plead, file an answer, or otherwise defend against this action.”

Thandi appeared in the action and the Plaintiff served Thandi document requests and interrogatories in April 2021. “Six weeks later, on June 4, 2021, Mr. Thandi asserted the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to every document request and interrogatory.”

The Plaintiff had a motion to compel discovery granted in part in December 2021 and the District Court ordered Thandi to produce “responsive GCIB documents in his possession, custody, or control” in addition to other documents requested by the Plaintiff. Thandi produced no documents.

Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment against Thandi in March 2022. Counsel for Thandi advised the Court that Thandi was not opposing the motion.

In the Default judgement filed on December 28, 2021, the court found that Thandi’s “blanket objections to [Plaintiff’s] documents requests as well as his complete disregard of the [c]court’s order reflect pattern of prolonged and vexatious obstruction of discovery with respect to highly relevant records.”
The Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Support of Damages against the Defendants in August 2022 and though Thandi sought an extension, no opposition was filed.

In her opinion and order Judge Reiss deemed the submissions and facts in the Plaintiff’s actions to be true, and thus made its findings “by clear and convincing evidence.”

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