Daniel F. Sullivan

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Dan Sullivan is a trial lawyer with over 30 years of experience representing clients in complex commercial disputes, with an emphasis on insurance coverage and extra-contractual claims litigation. He has represented clients in state and federal courts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. He has been involved in appeals to the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, and Fourth Circuits and the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Connecticut, as well as numerous arbitration and mediation proceedings. He has substantial trial experience, having tried more than 25 matters to verdict, final judgment, or final arbitration decision.

    Insurance Coverage Litigation

    Mr. Sullivan’s work representing insurance companies in complex property insurance coverage litigation includes serving as counsel for insurers in significant cases arising from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Katrina, and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has also litigated cases involving losses to residences and businesses arising from catastrophic fires and explosions, mold contamination, defective workmanship, and construction defects. In addition, he has litigated substantial cases arising under liability, marine, boiler and machinery, and builders’ risk policies.

    His experience includes coordinating a major insurer’s investigation, coverage analysis and litigation regarding claims for damages associated with Chinese-made drywall; representation of a commercial property insurer in a case involving a $100 million claim by a publicly traded company for claimed losses arising from an arson fire; and representation of an insurance carrier in coverage litigation initiated by a major Roman Catholic archdiocese seeking coverage for a multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

    Business Litigation

    Mr. Sullivan has also represented other businesses in a broad spectrum of commercial litigation. He was lead litigation and trial counsel for an international pharmaceutical company in its initial response to, investigation of, and litigation arising from an explosion that resulted in serious personal injuries and significant property damage. He has represented financial institutions in challenges to the validity of mortgages and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS). Most recently, he assisted in the successful defense of a national actuarial firm in a malpractice case involving claims asserted by a municipal pension system. His other case experience includes the trial and appeal of dissolution and shareholder derivative actions which established the scope of the business judgment rule in the state of Connecticut and a murder case that was a case study on the issue of time of death in Dr. Henry Lee's book Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crime.

    Mr. Sullivan has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Insurance Law since 2006 and selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers lists since 2007. For ten years, he was a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he developed and taught a graduate-level course in property insurance law. He frequently speaks on insurance and litigation-related issues to bar and industry organizations and provides in-house training sessions to insurance company personnel on coverage issues and trial tactics. Mr. Sullivan previously served as co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Section and chair of the firm’s Insurance + Reinsurance Practice Group. He also contributes to the firm's Property Insurance Coverage Insights blog.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

        Significant Decisions

      • Ardente v. Standard Fire Insurance Company, 744 F.3d 815 (1st Cir. 2014) - Obtained reversal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit of a district court judgment finding that manufacturing defect exclusion in yacht insurance policy was ambiguous. The First Circuit panel, which included retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, agreed with our client's position that the latent defect exception to the manufacturing defect exclusion was not ambiguous and the damage to the yacht did not fall within that exception, and directed the district court to enter judgment in favor of our client.

      • City of Providence v. Buck Consultants, 2015 WL 7083732 (D.R.I. 2015) – District court granted summary judgment in favor of pension actuary where City alleged the actuary erroneously overestimated the savings associated with negotiated pension reforms, including suspension of cost of living adjustments, with police officers, firefighter and retirees, on grounds that City’s damages were too speculative. 

      • Lombardi v. Universal North America Insurance Company, 2015 WL 600823 (Conn. Super. 2015) - In a case of first impression under Connecticut law, the Superior Court held anti-concurrent cause provision in property insurance policy was unambiguous and enforceable and applied to defeat claim for destruction of shoreline home resulting from Tropical Storm Irene.

      • City of Providence v. Buck Consultants, 2013 WL 4047133 (D.R.I. 2013) – District court granted motion to dismiss City’s false claims act count, concluding that the actuarial services were not “worthless” and the element of scienter had not been adequately pled. 

      • Boisse v. Miller, 2103 R.I. Super. LEXIS 155 (R.I. Super. 2013) – Following bench trial of liability issues, court found for insurer defendant in direct action statute action that it had no liability under CGL policy because claims involved pure economic injury, and thus they had not demonstrated they sustained property damage. The court also concluded there was no occurrence, because contractor’s work, while negligent, was not accidental. Finally, the court concluded that the loss resulted from the contractor’s negligent workmanship and was thus excluded by the express terms of the policy.

      • Emsbo v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, 950 F.Supp.2d 369 (D.R.I. 2013) – District court granted motion for summary judgment holding that damage to residence caused by torrential rainstorm fell within the scope of the water damage exclusion of homeowner’s policy.

      • Chapman v. Standard Fire Insurance Company, 2012 WL 3644778 (D. Me. 2012) – In case of first impression under Maine law, district court concluded that statutory unfair claims practices counts were time barred based on suit limitation provision in homeowner’s policy.

      • Colony Bank v. Hanover Insurance Company, 2011 WL 5419459 (M.D. Ga. 2011) – District court granted summary judgment on breach of contract claim for failure to pay $4.7 million dollar claim for fire damage to historic textile mill because court concluded that policy did not automatically renew under Georgia statutes. The district court also granted summary judgment of the bad faith claim, concluding that Hanover had reasonable grounds to contest the claim and no reasonable factfinder could conclude otherwise. The district court did allow the bank’s claim for breach of contract for failure to notify the bank of the non-renewal of the policy to survive.

      • Indian Harbor Insurance Company v. Assurance Company of America, 2010 WL 2346654 (D.R.I. 2010) – District court granted builders risk insurer’s motion for summary judgment on grounds that project owner’s procurement of permanent property policy terminated the coverage under the builder’s risk policy.

      • Imperial Trading Co. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, 654 F.Supp.2d 518 (E.D. La. 2009) – District court granted motion in limine to exclude the testimony of policyholder’s bad faith expert.

      • Pfizer, Inc. v. Mine Safety Appliances Company, 45 Conn. L. Rptr. (Conn. Super. 2008) – Denial of manufacturer defendant’s motion for summary judgment in cases arising from explosion at facility in Groton, Connecticut on grounds that there existed genuine issues of fact as to product liability and recklessness counts of case against manufacturer based on its claimed failure to account for and disclose relevant safety and storage information of risks involved in the transport and storage of chemical reagent at ambient temperatures. 

      • Figueroa v. Allstate Insurance Company, 105 Conn. App. 538, 938 A.2d 1264 (2008), cert denied, 286 Conn. 912, 944 A.2d 982 (2008) – Affirming Superior Court’s granting summary judgment in favor of insurer in $4.35 million direct action statute claim holding there was no coverage in effect when plaintiff was injured.  

      • Other Representative Matters

      • Represented insurer in connection with its investigation of a fire loss at a former manufacturing plant in Rhode Island where the authorities discovered an illegal butane hash oil manufacturing operation and violation of the policy’s protective safeguards endorsement.  

      • Represented builder’s risk insurer in its investigation and adjustment of a claim arising from the collapse of the steel structure of an indoor football practice facility being built on a university campus and claimed faulty workmanship of a subcontractor in its erection of the steel.

      • Represented affiliate of a national insurance company in its response to claims for losses associated with the effects of Chinese-made drywall, including development of investigative protocols and coverage analysis and representation in a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that there is no coverage under property insurance policies for the cost of replacing and remediating the effects of the drywall. After oral argument before the federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia, summary judgment was entered in favor of our client in the first federal court decision in the country deciding coverage issues for Chinese drywall under homeowners policies. On appeal, the coverage issues were certified to the Virginia Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in favor of our client's position.

      • Represented an insurance carrier in the defense of an adversary proceeding brought by Chapter 7 trustee and creditor banks of a publicly traded corporation involving a claim for over $100 million of inventory allegedly damaged in a warehouse fire.  Representation included coordination of fire investigation (determined to be arson), investigation of company’s books and records to help discover and quantify fraud in the insured’s business practices and in presentment of the inventory loss, and representation of carrier in criminal proceedings  involving company’s directors and officers.

      • Represented insurer in claim brought by Alabama based seller of Christian-based inspirational gift items, such as T-shirts and Bible covers, to recover business interruption losses and expenses in excess of $10 million and bad faith damages following a fire that damaged the insured's warehouse and inventory. 

      • Represented commercial property insurers in coverage actions involving claims arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

      • Represented commercial property insurers in several multimillion-dollar cases and claims involving business interruption losses in lower Manhattan arising from September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

      • Represented insurance carrier in coverage litigation initiated by major Roman Catholic archdiocese seeking coverage for multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

      • Represented property insurer in connection with a claim in excess of $20 million resulting from a catastrophic fire loss at a regional composting facility in Hartford, Connecticut.

      • Represented property insurers regarding coverage and claim analysis for property insurance claims for damage relating to presence of mold in a public school building.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      University of Connecticut School of Law
      Insurance Law Center, Adjunct Faculty (1998 - 2008)

      American Bar Association
      Section of Litigation
      Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Past Vice Chair of Property Insurance Law Committee

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Insurance Law Section
      Litigation Section

      Rhode Island Bar Association
      Federal Court Bench and Bar Committee
      Superior Court Bench and Bar Committee

      Rhode Island Bar Foundation
      Fellow
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Insurance Law since 2006

      Selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2007 to 2017.

  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Let’s Agree to Disagree – Undisputed Amounts and Partial Payments," co-authored with Laura Farach, published in the Winter 2018 edition of The Brief, a publication of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association (3/2018)

      "Proof of Lender’s Standing Required by Insurers," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored with Allison Blais (2/8/2010)

      "Property Insurance Litigation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: The Early Results," published in CPCU Society Claims Quarterly, co-authored with Gregory P. Varga and Christopher F. Girard (11/2006)

      "Insurance Coverage Litigation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," published in CPCU Society Claims Quarterly, coauthor (12/2005)

      "Suspension of Operations," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (12/2/2002)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," published in Tort and Insurance Law Journal, 35 Tort & Ins. L.J. 581, contributing author (2000)

      "Applying the Efficient Proximate Cause Doctrine in First-Party Coverage Disputes," published in CGL Reporter (1999)

      "The Standard Mortgage Clause in Property Insurance Policies," published in Tort and Insurance Law Journal, 33 Tort & Ins. L.J.81 (1997)

      "Explore Hartford: Twenty Terrific Tours," published by Leadership Greater Hartford (1996)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "The Role of the Defense Attorney – Thoughts on Cross Examination of a Fire Expert," co-presented with Deborah A. Vennos, at the Connecticut Fire Academy's 2018 Advanced Fire Investigation School (5/2/2018)
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      "Business Interruption Claims Arising from Catastrophes," co-presented with Eugene P. Murphy and Wystan M. Ackerman, webinar (3/22/2018)
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      "The Increasing Threat of Global Ransomware," co-presented with Eugene Choi, Zurich North America, at the 2018 Spring Meeting for the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Property Insurance Law Committee in Nashville, Tennessee. (3/2/2018)
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      "Bad Faith Law and the Origin of the Set-Up," presented at National Business Institute Seminar “Insurance Bad Faith ‘Set-Up’ in Connecticut,” in Hartford, Connecticut. (12/12/2017)

      "Business Interruption Issues Arising from Hurricanes," co-presented with Stephen E. Goldman, Wystan M. Ackerman and Eugene P. Murphy, at in-house presentation to 60 in-house lawyers and claim adjusters in New York, New York. (11/14/2017)

      "Let’s Agree to Agree: Undisputed Amounts and Partial Payments," co-presented with Laura Farach, at the Spring Meeting for the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s Property Insurance Law Committee in Orlando, Florida. (4/7/2017)
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      "Preparing and Providing Testimony in a Fire Case," co-presented with Eugene P. Murphy, at the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention 39th Annual Seminar in Ocala, Florida. (3/8/2017)

      "Cyber Security Risks and Challenges," co-presented with Jean Lehman, HSNO, at the PLRB Regional Adjuster’s Conference in St. Louis, Missouri (9/7 – 9/8/2016)

      "Developing & Recurring Issues In Property Insurance," co-presented with J. Tyler Butts and Raymond T. DeMeo, at in-house client presentation to 30 adjusters and claim managers (6/29/2016)

      "A View from Counsel Table – Cross Examination of Experts," at Connecticut Fire Academy Advanced Training Session in Windsor Locks, Connecticut (5/4/2016)

      "Critical Issues in Business Interruption Coverage / Daubert Challenges in Accounting," co-presented with Gregory P. Varga, at in-house client seminar in New York, New York (2/6/2015)

      "Business Interruption: Storms and Losses of Income: The Tough Issues," co-presented with Peter Kahn, Matson, Driscoll & D’Amico, Richard Lewis, Reed Smith, and Jim Errico at Windstorm Insurance Conference in Orlando, Florida. (1/28 – 29/2014)

      "Bank Claims," presented to New England Claims Adjusters (1/14/2014)

      "Property Policy Conditions," co-presented with Gregory P. Varga, in-house webinar (10/18/2013)

      "Foreclosure Issues with Property Claims," presented at the PLRB Regional Adjusters Conferences in Garden Grove, California (6/11 – 12/2013), Des Moines, Iowa (9/10 – 11/2013) and Concord, North Carolina (10/29 – 30/2013)

      "Catastrophe Response & File Management," co-presented with Michael Barrett, Engle Martin, at PLRB Regional Adjusters Conferences in Providence, Rhode Island (6/26 – 27/2012), Schaumberg, Illinois (9/5 – 6/2012) and Dallas, Texas (11/13 – 14/2012)

      "Preparing for and Providing Testimony," co-presented with Joseph Carey, at Rhode Island Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators Training Session. (3/21/2012)

      "Property Coverage Legal Update 2006: Hurricane Katrina and Beyond," at New England Claims Executives Association, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga (11/14/2006)

      "Weathering the Storm: An Update on First-Party Coverage Litigation Arising from Hurricane Katrina," at CPCU Society, Connecticut Chapter, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga (11/9/2006)

      "Hurricane Katrina: New Challenges Facing the Insurance Industry," at New England Claims Executives Association (11/8/2005)

      "Recent Developments in Discovery in Insurance Coverage Cases," at Connecticut Bar Association Insurance Law Section (5/18/2005)

      "Overview of Recent Bad Faith Cases Impacting Trials," at TIPS Property Insurance Law Committee program "Partnering With Counsel From Claim to Verdict: Bad Faith Trial of a Mold Claim" (4/12/2002)

      "Ordinance and Law Coverage," at New England Claims Executives Association, co-presented with Gerald P. Dwyer Jr. (3/12/2002)

      "The Economic Loss Doctrine," at program for mid-winter meeting of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section's Property Insurance Law Committee of the American Bar Association, "Subrogation – Investigation Through Litigation," Pebble Beach, California (4/15/2000)

      "Appraisal for the New Millennium," at half-day seminar for New England Claims Executives Association (4/13/1999)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (3/9/1999)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at National Business Institute (NBI) seminars (1/20 to 1/21/1999)

      "Collapse Coverage," at program at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "What Claims Professionals and Attorneys Should Know About Concurrent Causation, Ensuing Loss, and Collapse," New York, New York (12/14/1998)

      "What Is Efficient Proximate Cause," at ABA's Annual Meeting program of the TIPS, "Hot Button Topics in Property Insurance Coverage: Concurrent Causation, Ensuing Loss, and Collapse," Toronto, Ontario (8/1/1998)

      "Collapses Not Covered: Excluded Property and Settling, Cracking, Shrinkage, Bulging, or Expansion," at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "Collapse Coverage," Chicago, Illinois (6/11/1998)

      "Recent Developments in Civil and Criminal Fire Cases," at IAAI, Connecticut chapter (3/18/1998)

      "Meeting the Obligations of Good Faith and Fair Dealing," at Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) (3/6/1998)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (1/13/1998)

      "Maximizing Subrogation Recovery," at Blue Ridge Insurance Company, June 10, 1997; Travelers Property Casualty, June 20, 1997 (6/1997)

      "Contractual Period of Limitations, Fraud, and Concealment," at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "The First-Party Property Policy: Policy Conditions & Policy Defenses," Chicago, Illinois (5/1997)

      "Insuring to Value," at Connecticut Insurance Day (4/1997)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at NBI seminars (1/1997)

      "Recent Developments in Civil and Criminal Arson Cases," at Connecticut chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) (6/1996)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (3/1996)

      "Emerging Issues in Insurance Claims Litigation, 'Practical Aspects of Litigating of Concurrent Causation and Pollution Cases Under First-Party Policies'," at Lorman Education Services seminar (4/1995)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at NBI seminars (2/1995)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • August 20, 2018

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

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      • May 3, 2018

        Dan Sullivan and Deb Vennos Present at 2018 Advanced Fire Investigation School

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      • April 13, 2018

        Wystan Ackerman, Gene Murphy, and Dan Sullivan Present Webinar on Business Interruption Claims Arising from Catastrophes

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      • April 4, 2018

        Dan Sullivan Co-Authors Article Published in ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Magazine

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      • March 8, 2018

        Laura Farach, Dan Sullivan, and Greg Varga, Participate in ABA TTIPS Property Insurance Law Committee Spring CLE Conference

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      • December 18, 2017

        Dan Sullivan and Greg Varga Co-present on Bad Faith Law in Connecticut

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      • April 20, 2017

        Insurance Group Lawyers Present on Undisputed Amounts and Partial Payments

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      • March 24, 2017

        Insurance + Reinsurance Group Lawyers Present at 39th Annual Arson Seminar

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      • May 18, 2016

        Dan Sullivan Presents at Connecticut Fire Academy’s Training Session

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 17, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2017

        Fifty-Nine Robinson+Cole Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018

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      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • August 19, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • September 12, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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