Robinson+Cole's Insurance + Reinsurance Group has developed a national practice in the field of property insurance coverage. Our lawyers regularly handle property insurance cases throughout the United States and are at the forefront of cutting edge litigation in the property insurance field including class actions arising from property damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. We have litigated leading cases involving property insurance coverage issues and business interruption claims in courts throughout the Northeast and in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, and Texas.
We have substantial trial and appellate experience in cases involving all aspects of property insurance claims, including class actions and other complex litigation. In our work, we also routinely counsel insurers regarding coverage and claims issues, supervise fraud investigations, coordinate outside experts and consultants, take examinations under oath, provide coverage opinions, and counsel insurers participating in appraisals. Because many lawsuits involving property insurance claims also include allegations of bad faith and unfair insurance claims practices, we have developed considerable knowledge and experience in defending extra-contractual claims asserted against property insurers.
For updates on recent developments in property insurance law from around the nation, read our blog Property Insurance Coverage Insights at www.propertyinsurancecoverageinsights.com.
Represented numerous insurers in defending class actions as well as litigation involving individual claims arising out of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the 2004 Florida hurricanes. Class actions involve challenges to the applicability and enforceability of flood exclusions. Additional class actions involve challenges to the application of the Valued Policy Laws in Louisiana and Florida. Individual claim litigation involves these issues as well as disputes over coverage for business interruption and losses of income caused by orders of civil authority. Litigation is pending in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
Obtained summary judgment from federal court in Atlanta in defense of civil authority claim prosecuted by owner of airport stores throughout the United States.
Represented insurers in defense of numerous large lawsuits arising out of claims for business losses resulting from the September 11 terrorist attack. Largest claims were in excess of $100 million, and most were in excess of $10 million. Litigation spawned many of the country's most frequently cited judicial decisions in business interruption.
Representation of insurer in defense of litigation from construction defects from the "Big Dig" project in Boston. Specifically, the matter involved the failed installation of an underwater tunnel segment, resulting in flooding and movement of a large concrete tunnel segment. The issues included both design and workmanship concerns.
Represented property insurer in a property loss claim in excess of $30 million caused by anthrax contamination of a commercial building in Florida.
Represented commercial property insurer in litigation involving $100 million property insurance claim by publicly traded company for claimed losses arising from arson fire and in related bankruptcy, criminal, and civil enforcement actions in New York.
Represented insurer in claim brought by a 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. Robinson & Cole prepared the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment on several significant issues to the litigation and in opposition to plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. The firm also assisted local counsel in preparing the joint pretrial order and provided guidance regarding settlement negotiations and drafting the settlement agreement. The case settled shortly before trial with a settlement favorable to insurer.
Represented insurance company against $3.75 million claim for alleged water intrusion and mold damage to home. Prevailed in motion for summary judgment on mold exclusion and faulty design exclusion.
Represented insurance company in multimillion-dollar lawsuit involving claim for alleged sinkhole damage to shopping center complex, where insured waited several years to notify insurer of damage and sought coverage for business income losses suffered long after the last insurance policy expired. Moved for summary judgment on common law defenses (fortuity requirement and manifestation trigger) and policy defenses (late notice, faulty design exclusion, earth movement exclusion), paving the way for extremely favorable settlement.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer in coverage action arising from alleged hurricane damage to roof and interior of insured’s home, where insured had waited nearly two years to notify insurer of damage and instead attempted to repair damage himself.
Representation of insurer against claimant for extensive property loss. Claim involved separating water versus flood damage, damages versus betterment, and pricing issues.
Defense of insurer against claimant for demolition and hazardous materials remediation costs. Claim involved extensive overcharging.
Defense of insurer concerning $80 million coverage issue related to a deep rock tunnel built 100 meters underground through difficult geological conditions. The case involved issues relating to design defects, workmanship, and remedial costs as well as experts in tunnel boring, grouting, hazardous chemicals, and construction engineering/management.
Representation of an insurance company and its insured to liquidate $100 million in claims from approximately 70 claims against insured. Through mediation, the $100 million in claims was reduced to approximately $20 million and 100 percent of cases settled out of court.
Representation of insurer in complex dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Virginia, over coverage for Chinese drywall involving $5 million in claimed damages.
Representation of Fortune 500 insurer in threatened litigation pursuant to property policy where insured claimed an over $4 million loss because of an ammonia leak. Claim was resolved in one-day mediation session, avoiding litigation costs altogether.
Representation of insurer in $250,000 dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Virginia, involving mold and water damage, where plaintiff withdrew the action after a motion for summary judgment was filed.
Representation of insurer in $2.9 million lawsuit in federal court, Eastern District of New York, involving water and mold damage, which settled for less than 15 percent of original demand.
Knowles v. Standard Fire Insurance Company 133 S. Ct. 1345 (Supreme Court of the United States, 2013)— This appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States and resulted in a 9-0 opinion in favor of our client. Our petition for certiorari was granted by the Supreme Court after the Eighth Circuit had declined to hear a discretionary appeal and after the Supreme Court had denied a petition for certiorari on the same issue the year before. This is the first case in which the Supreme Court granted review under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The issue on appeal was whether a named plaintiff in a putative class action can defeat federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 by stipulating to limit damages to $5 million or less even if the amount potentially recoverable by the putative class would exceed the federal jurisdictional amount in the absence of the stipulation. The Supreme Court accepted our argument that the federal court jurisdiction could not be defeated by such a stipulation. The underlying case involved the alleged failure to pay the general contractor overhead and profit as part of the settlement of property insurance claims and was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff after the case was remanded to the federal district court.
Represented property insurer in $30 million coverage action pending in Houston involving insured's loss of permit for California landfill due to alleged contamination of groundwater.
Represented insurer in litigation in federal court in Iowa arising out of extra expense claim in excess of $25 million.
Successfully represented property insurer in trial of coverage case in Oklahoma involving claims in excess of $30 million for mold and other contamination.
Represented property insurer in Florida and Louisiana litigation arising out of $19 million contractor kickback scheme arising out claims by owners of subsidized housing for damage caused by Hurricane Andrew.
Representation of insurers in complex insurance dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Louisiana, involving Hurricane Katrina property damage and business interruption claim for over $27 million and bad faith claims of over $100 million, where bad faith claims were dismissed based on summary judgment briefing and expert was precluded from testifying as to damages included in initial report based on motion in limine. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case for the purpose of taking an appeal, and the district court's rulings were affirmed on appeal.
Defense of insurer in arbitration and state court proceedings in Florida in $300 million property damage, business interruption, and consequential damage claim brought by owners of Miami Beach resort because of Hurricane Andrew. After 23 days of evidentiary hearings, case was resolved on very favorable terms (less than was offered before arbitration commenced).
Travco v. Ward 468 Fed. Appx. 195 (4th Cir. 2012) and 284 Va. 547 (Va., 2012) – This was the nation's leading case on the question of whether coverage existed under property insurance policies for losses caused by the presence of Chinese Drywall. We brought this declaratory judgment action on behalf of the insurer, which was a Travelers subsidiary. We successfully obtained summary judgment from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On appeal, after briefing and argument, the US Fourth Circuit certified most of the coverage issues to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Virginia Supreme Court then affirmed the rulings of the federal district court, and the US Fourth Circuit subsequently affirmed the judgment in its entirety. Steve Goldman argued the motion for summary judgment before the district court and the appeals in both the US Fourth Circuit and the Virginia Supreme Court.