Practices in California & Beyond

Experienced in every aspect of insurance coverage, our attorneys and litigators achieve favorable outcomes in high-demand, highly contentious and complex matters throughout California and wherever our clients need us. We manage interpretation and litigation cases involving every type of insurance policies, including commercial general liability, directors & officers, errors & omissions and homeowners policies.

Covering the Risks of Coverage Disputes

Archer Norris attorneys help insurers mitigate, and when possible, avoid, the risks inherent in coverage disputes, including protracted litigation, reputation management and a diversion of business resources. We provide guidance on compliance with state regulations and manage insurance related unfair competition claims. Our complete litigation services include arbitration, mediation, jury trial, bench trials and appeals.

Focusing on Practical Results for Global, National and California Insurers

We have obtained favorable coverage dispute outcomes in complex cases involving construction defects, food contamination, environmental remediation, additional insured endorsements and allocation of defense and indemnity payments among multiple insurers.

Providing Comprehensive Coverage Counsel

From a bad faith claim involving The Beatles and Apple Computer, to mold exposure coverage disputes, our experience is extensive.  We counsel on claims-handling strategies and endorsements, issues of bad faith and contribution, duty to defend, duty to settle, breach of contract, third-party claims under reservation of rights, and good faith claims-handling practices.

Offering On-the-Ground Coverage Knowledge

Archer Norris attorneys focused on insurance coverage draft manuscript policies, provide coverage analysis and opinions, and train clients on coverage issues and claims handling. Other areas in our practice scope include examinations under oath, indemnity and subrogation, primary and excess carriers, reinsurers, agents, brokers and risk managers, and insurance agency and brokerage issues. 

Sharing What We Know with Whom We Know

Recognized for our industry knowledge, and the engaging way we share it, our attorneys frequently speak on topical insurance issues, including before the Defense Research Institute, Continuing Education of the Bar, American Bar Association and Risk Insurance Management Society.

NameTitlePhoneEmailV-card
Blumhardt, W. Eric Partner925.952.5408 vcard
Chritton, Rand Partner925.930.6600 vcard
Diaz, Charles Partner213.437.4000 vcard
Gallagher, Erin Associate925.930.6600 vcard
King, Andrew Associate925.952.5508 vcard
Latham III, Robert Partner213.437.4000 vcard
Lehavi, Limor Partner949.975.8200 vcard
Meyers-Lopez, Mariyetta Associate949.975.8200 vcard
Mondescu, Ioana Special Counsel925.930.6600 vcard
Rohatgi, Ruchi Associate949.975.8200 vcard
Stargardter, GailAnn Partner949.975.8200 vcard
Thames, Jonathan Partner415.653.1480 vcard
Ward, Kenneth Partner925.952.5425 vcard
White, Sean Partner925.930.6600 vcard
Whitfield, Paul Associate949.975.8200 vcard

Advertising Injury

  • Advertising Injury - FRCP 12(b) (6) motion granted in federal court finding no duty to defend under an advertising injury policy and the decision was later affirmed on appeal.

Bad Faith, including Business and Employment

  • Bad Faith - Summary judgment granted in a bad faith action in a situation in which no Insured Person had been sued, and no "entity coverage" had been purchased. The insured organization contended that defense and/or indemnity obligations existed, based on the possibility that insured persons could become parties to the underlying action.
  • Bad Faith/Employment Practices - Secured an arbitration award in favor of the defense in a bad faith action resulting from denial of an employment dispute brought under an EPL policy. The arbitration panel agreed that there was no coverage for the underlying employment dispute because it did not meet the "claim" definition and was limited only to unpaid contingent bonuses and benefits due the employee.
  • Bad Faith/The Beatles - Obtained favorable appellate opinion regarding a $100 million bad faith claim brought by Apple Computer arising out of a failure to defend a trademark infringement action prosecuted by The Beatles. The case was particularly difficult as it involved underlying litigation in Britain and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Judgment was rendered for the defense.
  • Bad Faith Verdict - Achieved a defense verdict in a federal court jury trial of an $11 million bad faith claim brought by a judgment creditor and an insured alleging failure to defend and indemnify. The case involved complex questions of insured capacity and collateral estoppel. The jury made a unanimous finding of no coverage in favor of the carrier.

Contribution/Subrogation

  • Contribution/Subrogation - West Coast Fire v. Financial Pacific Ins. Co. (2006) 2006 WL 1076756: This unpublished opinion addressed the doctrines of contribution and subrogation (and their differences) in the context of a dispute between co-insurers.

Crime Policy

  • Crime Policy - Achieved a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles holding that "direct loss" under a crime policy does not include loss of business reputation, good will or value.

D & O, E & O

  • D&O - Represent insurers in Directors and Officers high-demand coverage disputes, including ongoing representation of an insurer in $50 million coverage case with the board of directors of a bankrupt national retailer.
  • D&O - Achieved a unanimous defense verdict in a federal court jury trial of a bad faith claim under a D&O policy. Critical issue was whether an insured person was acting within his insured capacity, as defined in the policy. Jury verdict was upheld on appeal.
  • Outside Directorship Coverage/D&O - Successfully defended against a $50 million claim for coverage arising out of the demise and bankruptcy of At Home, on the ground the Insured Corporation did not qualify as a Minority Held Corporation under the Outside Directorship endorsement.

Duty to Defend

  • Duty to Defend/Wage and Hour Class - Secured a favorable AAA arbitration decision that neither carrier had a duty to defend in a multimillion-dollar bad faith claim. The claim was brought under two separate insurance policies for a wage and hour class action involving managers of a retail restaurant chain. More than 20 different legal issues were involved, including the choice of law between Canada and California.

Employment

  • Employment - Defended a client who suffered financial setbacks and laid off numerous employees, including the plaintiff who claimed that she was selected because she was an older, African-American female. The case settled after discovery established plaintiff was marginally competent at best and was a very reasonable candidate for termination.

Environmental and Toxic Torts, Asbestos and Mold

  • Bad Faith/Asbestos and Mold - Achieved an unanimous defense verdict in the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles in a long-cause insurance bad faith, fraud and unfair business practice trial arising from alleged asbestos and mold contamination following a fire.

Excess Carriers

  • Excess Carriers/Home Builder - Achieved favorable settlements on behalf of a Northern California home builder from four excess carriers in a complex, contentious case, which began with construction defect claims and was valued by the media at more than $100 million.

Indemnity

  • Home Demolition - Demurrer sustained in the Superior Court of California County of Orange finding no coverage under a homeowner's policy for the city's demolition of the insured home.

Inter-related Wrongful Act

  • Inter-related Wrongful Act - Obtained a decision from the Washington state appellate court upholding a summary judgment granted at the trial court level. These courts agreed that under a claim made policy, the Inter-related Wrongful Act definition did not require an insurer to pay defense and indemnity for a prior lawsuit which did not assert a "Claim" as defined.

Non-profit Liability

  • Nonprofit/D&O - Defended insurers and achieved an arbitration award holding that a Not for Profit D&O policy is not obligated to reimburse its insured for loss. As defined, the insured incurred a multimillion-dollar deficit leading to its bankruptcy because of insufficient funding and management errors.
  • Nonprofit/D&O - Defended insurer and obtained successful binding arbitration award holding that $13 million in charitable donations insolvent nonprofit insured failed to distribute to various designated charities did not constitute "Loss" under the policy and insurer had no duty to indemnify the insured.

Workers Comp

  • Workers Comp - Summary judgment granted in the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles, and affirmed on appeal, involving a malpractice claim by an insured under a workers compensation policy against in-house counsel appointed by the carrier.