Insurance Litigation

When the Insurer Says “No” – Our Job Begins

Defendants commonly neglect to consider their insurance policies as a source to fund expensive litigation.  When they do seek coverage, insurers may try to avoid fulfilling their obligations for compensation.  At Lurie, Zepeda, Schmalz, Hogan & Martin, we research your insurance coverage when developing a strategy for your litigation.  We analyze the often complex wording of insurance policies to determine whether your coverage can offset the costs of defense and assist in the claim process.  Our experience representing major insurance companies on coverage-related matters means we are familiar with their handling and denial of claims, including refusal to pay a reasonable settlement.

Some of Our Insurance Litigation Cases

  • In federal court, obtained a summary judgment resulting in payment of $775,000 in damages to a small business investment corporation in an insurance bad faith/breach of contract action against a major national insurance company.  

  • While trial judge in a personal injury action kept jury’s verdict under seal, successfully engineered a three-way, multi-million dollar settlement between an insurer, driver (defendant) and injured passenger (plaintiff) for the insurer to pay for damages caused by defendant.  Insurer had filed a federal court declaratory relief action seeking to withdraw coverage during the personal injury trial.  On behalf of defendant, vigorously opposed the insurer’s declaratory relief action while concurrently monitoring insurance defense counsel in the on-going personal injury trial to ensure proper representation.  

  • Defended TIG Insurance Company (formerly Transamerica Insurance Company) in a one-month jury trial over a bad faith claim against Talbot Partners.  Claim resulted from a breach of performance and payment bond issued by client to Cates Construction, a real estate developer.  Established strategy for appeal wherein the California Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s $28 million decision in a landmark published decision in TIG’s favor.  The court found that the developer and the bank could not recover in tort for the surety’s alleged breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in the performance bond as a matter of law.  The court held that contract remedies provide adequate compensation for breach of a construction bond and a surety cannot be liable for insurance bad faith.  

  • Achieved a settlement and the dismissal of a breach of contract case for National Home Life Assurance Co., National Home Life Assurance Co. of New York and National Liberty Marketing, Inc. At issue was the performance of an agreement to telemarket mortgage insurance to recent home purchasers. The plaintiff, Ampac Insurance Marketing, Inc., alleged that client had misrepresented its experience, resources and capabilities for telemarketing mortgage insurance, fraudulently induced it to enter into the agreement and breached the contract.

  • Successfully reversed insurance company’s denial of client’s claim under a directors and officers liability insurance policy.  Client had been sued for breaches of fiduciary duty as a corporate executive of the company he had founded, legally entitling him to receive reimbursement from the insurer for attorney’s fees at market rates during the time that coverage had been denied.  However, the insurer failed to remit any reimbursement to client for such attorney’s fees.  Client settled claim with insurer in his favor.

  • Sued insurance company for bad faith and breach of insurance contract for refusing to contribute to settlement of very high profile wrongful death and personal injury case resulting from an explosion in an apartment complex caused, in part, from glycerine in the fire suppression system.  Insured contractor had settled without insurer’s consent because, although insurer was defending insured against plaintiffs’ case, it had failed and refused to defend or indemnify indemnity claims by other parties, leaving insured in untenable position.  Settled case at early mediation.