Wystan Ackerman chairs the firm's Class Action Team. He has defended class actions in a variety of substantive areas and industries, including insurance, products liability, financial services, consumer contracts, and securities. Based in the insurance capital of Hartford, Connecticut, Mr. Ackerman's practice has a major focus on insurance. He writes the blog Insurance Class Actions Insider at www.insuranceclassactions.com, which was selected by LexisNexis as a top insurance blog. He also contributes to the blog Property Insurance Coverage Insights at www.propertyinsurancecoverageinsights.com, published by the firm's Insurance and Reinsurance Group.
Mr. Ackerman regularly serves as national counsel for various insurance companies in class actions, complex coverage litigation, and appeals. He currently represents insurance carriers across the country in various putative class actions involving insurance coverage and market conduct/claim-handling practices.
Mr. Ackerman has extensive experience with respect to issues of federal jurisdiction for class actions under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). He successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari and served as co-counsel on the merits in Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013), in which the Court rejected a plaintiff's attempt to evade federal jurisdiction by stipulating that the amount sought would not exceed the $5 million threshold under CAFA.
He has served on the defendants' steering committee and as a lead author of trial and appellate briefs on behalf of numerous insurers in high-profile class actions arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, such as In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation (flood exclusion), the Louisiana attorney general's class action against the insurance industry involving the Road Home program, and the class action litigation involving the Louisiana Valued Policy Law.
Mr. Ackerman also has substantial experience advising insurers with respect to complex coverage issues and litigating coverage cases at the trial and appellate levels. He has advised insurers with respect to homeowners, commercial property, and builders risk claims for Chinese-made drywall and was counsel for the insurer in TravCo Ins. Co. v. Ward.
Mr. Ackerman serves as national coordinating counsel and appellate counsel to insurers and to a major insurance industry association (as amicus curiae) in cases involving important coverage issues. He has litigated appeals in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, as well as in various state appellate and supreme courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Ackerman is also regularly asked to consult on important insurance cases in which he collaborates with lead counsel and in-house counsel on briefing and preparing for oral arguments, including participating in moot courts. He regularly works with lawyers across the country in this role.
Mr. Ackerman has been listed as a Second Circuit Litigation Star in Benchmark Appellate (2013) and as a Future Star in Benchmark Litigation (2013). He was listed as a Rising Star in Connecticut Super Lawyers ® in 2013 in the area of Class Action and from 2009 to 2012 in the area of Insurance Coverage Law (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.). Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Mr. Ackerman was associated with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where his practice focused on complex business litigation, including insurance and securities class actions and litigation involving commercial contracts and corporate governance.