Zurich American Objects to Defending Sony in Hacking Lawsuits

Zurich American Insurance Co. claims in a lawsuit it isn’t obliged to defend Sony Corp.’s U.S. unit against lawsuits and possible probes related to hacking of Sony’s PlayStation Network.

Sony has demanded that Zurich American and Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd., both units of Switzerland-based Zurich Financial Services AG, “defend and potentially indemnify them” from class-action lawsuits, miscellaneous claims and possible probes by state attorneys general over the hacking.

Zurich American and Zurich Insurance “are not obligated to defend or indemnify any of the Sony defendants for the claims asserted,” says the lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Sony restored full PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services in Japan earlier this month, closing a 2 1/2-month chapter in which hackers forced the company to shut down its global video-game and movie-streaming operations.

The April attack on Sony’s data centers in San Diego compromised more than 100 million customer accounts, the second-largest online data breach in U.S. history, and will cost the company an estimated 14 billion yen ($173 million) this fiscal year.

Patrick Seybold, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message yesterday.

The case is Zurich American Insurance Co. vs. Sony Corp. of America, 651982/2011, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).