Jonathan E. Small

Counsel

  • Overview

    Biography

    Jonathan Small represents insurance companies nationally in complex insurance coverage disputes. His experience includes litigation involving commercial property and liability policies, allegations of bad faith, unfair claim settlement practices, and other extra-contractual claims, as well as class actions and appeals. He is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Litigation Section and Insurance + Reinsurance Group. 

    Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation

    Jonathan’s wide-ranging insurance coverage experience includes the representation of property, liability, and excess insurance carriers in federal and state courts and in arbitration. He has handled multi-week arbitrations involving eight-figure insurance claims for business interruption, building, ordinance or law, civil authority, and inventory losses. Jonathan has also won pretrial dismissals on dispositive motions in commercial property, general liability, and excess insurance cases, often involving allegations of bad faith and unfair business practices. In addition, he has positioned clients for settlements on favorable terms in many significant insurance coverage disputes.

    Class Actions

    Jonathan’s class action experience includes the defense of insurance carriers and other business clients against claims involving property insurance coverage, liability insurance coverage, the federal civil RICO statute, and federal telecommunications statutes. In these class actions, he has conducted class-related discovery, defeated attempts at class certification at the trial and appellate levels, and won pre-trial dismissals.

    Appeals

    Jonathan’s appellate experience includes insurance and unfair business practices cases. He has successfully briefed two precedent-setting liability and excess liability insurance and bad faith cases in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. He has also argued and won appeals in Massachusetts and Connecticut appellate courts in cases involving unfair business practices, class actions, and defamation claims.

    Pro Bono

    Jonathan is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Pro Bono Committee and recipient of the firm’s 2018 Pro Bono Award. He maintains an active pro bono practice, including the representation of immigrant children in deportation proceedings and the coordination of matters referred to the firm by Kids In Need of Defense and the Center for Children’s Advocacy.
     

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Serving in a senior role as national coordinating counsel in COVID-19 business interruption litigation for multiple insurance clients.

      • Serving in a senior role advising a national insurer on commercial general liability and excess liability insurance coverage issues arising out of the national prescription opioid crisis. 

      • Represented national insurer as coordinating counsel for litigation arising out of defective concrete foundation insurance claims in Connecticut. Won dismissal and withdrawal of dozens of lawsuits. 

      • Represented national insurer in a multi-week arbitration involving a $20 million commercial property insurance claim for water damage to computer chips and other electronic equipment. The arbitration included the expert testimony of computer scientists on the technical specifications of the computer chips and electronic equipment, consultants on the valuation of the insured’s vast inventory, and forensic accountants on the alleged business income loss. 

      • Represented national insurer in a multi-week arbitration involving a $10 million commercial property insurance claim for fine arts losses due to a fire. The arbitration included the expert testimony of multiple art appraisers on the value of the damaged inventory and on representative sampling from the insured’s vast inventory. 

      • Represented national insurer in a multi-week arbitration involving a multi-million-dollar commercial property insurance claim for building damage and business interruption losses arising out of a structural collapse. The arbitration included the expert testimony of forensic accountants on the business income loss, structural engineers on the structural integrity of the roof, and mechanical engineers and electricians on the nature of the electrical and mechanical systems in the building. 

      • Represented national insurer in a precedent-setting commercial excess liability insurance and unfair claims settlement practices case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case involved an assigned claim under a commercial excess liability policy and extra-contractual damages arising out of a wrongful death suit. The coverage action was dismissed by the federal district court on a key coverage issue, and the dismissal was successfully defended on appeal to the First Circuit. When the plaintiff attempted to re-file the action in federal court, the case was dismissed on res judicata grounds.

      • Represented national insurer in a precedent-setting liability insurance and unfair claims settlement practices case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case involved an insurer’s refusal to indemnify a pre-suit settlement by the insured on claims involving professional and sexual misconduct. On appeal, the First Circuit held that the insurer had no duty to defend where no lawsuit had been filed against the insured, the demand letter under Mass. Gen. L. ch. 93A did not trigger a duty to defend, and there was no duty to settle where the insured asserted a novel theory of liability. 

      • Represented national insurer in a commercial property insurance and unfair claims settlement practices case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The case involved extensive tornado damage to the insured’s hotel. The court granted summary judgment because the additional payments sought by the plaintiff were excluded from coverage and the plaintiff’s evidence in support of its bad faith allegations failed to establish liability under Mass. Gen. L. ch. 93A.

      • Represented national insurer in a professional liability and unfair business practices case arising out of two underlying actions involving a tort judgment and a subsequent legal malpractice action. The plaintiff claimed that his former attorney, in concert with his malpractice counsel and insurer, improperly disclosed confidential information learned in the underlying case. On appeal, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that the Mass. Gen. L. ch. 93A claim against the professional liability insurer failed because the disclosure of confidential information in the underlying malpractice action was justified. The decision is significant in its articulation of the standard for evaluating the “case-within-a-case” proof in a legal malpractice suit arising out of an underlying litigation.

         

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association

      Boston Bar Association

      Connecticut Bar Association
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Selected as a Rising Star in the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2018 to 2020.

      Robinson+Cole Pro Bono Service Award Recipient, 2018

  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "When is a Breach of Contract really a Breach of Contract?" co-authored with Joseph A. Barra, published in BSCES News, a publication of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE (March 2018)
      • » more info
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    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "The COVID-19 Crisis and CGL Insurance Coverage," co-presented with Stephen O. Clancy, Rhonda J. Tobin, J. Gregory Lahr and Lawrence Klein, which addressed claim scenarios that insurers are likely to face in the COVID-19 era. (5/4/2020)
      • » more info

      "Choice of Law Principles in Disputes Arising Under Insurance Contracts," co-presented with J. Tyler Butts, webinar (12/11/2018)
      • » more info

      "Common Coverage Issues Arising from Catastrophes," presented during the 2018 Eastern Regional Adjusters Conference, hosted by the Property & Liability Resource Bureau, in Hartford, Connecticut (10/30/2018)
      • » more info

      "Flood, Wind, and Concurrent Causation," at HarrisMartin's Hurricanes Irma & Maria Conference in Miami Beach, Florida (11/14/2017)

      "Unique Insurance and Class Action Litigation Following Irma and Maria," at HarrisMartin's Hurricanes Irma & Maria Conference in Miami Beach, Florida (11/14/2017)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • December 18, 2018

        Tyler Butts and Jonathan Small Co-Present Webinar on Choice of Law Principles

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      • November 27, 2018

        Tyler Butts, Jessica Hamilton, and Jonathan Small Present During 2018 Eastern Regional Adjusters Conference

        • » more info
      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • June 25, 2018

        Joe Barra and Jon Small Co-author Article on Breach of Contract Published in BSCES News

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      • June 1, 2018

        Jess Hamilton and Jon Small Recognized by the Center for Children’s Advocacy

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      • November 21, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Participate at HarrisMartin's Hurricanes Irma & Maria Conference

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      • November 12, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Hosts Domestic Violence Restraining Order Program for Lawyers

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      R+C News Releases

      • November 18, 2020

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners and Counsel

      • October 15, 2020

        47 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized in Super Lawyers®

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      • October 19, 2019

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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        • View article
      • August 13, 2018

        Robinson+Cole Presents Annual Awards for Outstanding Contributions

      • November 27, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Promotes Eight Lawyers to Counsel

      • December 11, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Welcomes New Lawyers