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Robin Cohen

New York Office
Principal
New York Office

One Bryant Park
47th Floor
New York, NY 10036
TEL: 212.402.9801 FAX: 212.402.9444
rcohen@mckoolsmith.com

Robin Cohen, head of the firm’s insurance recovery practice, is one of the nation’s preeminent insurance litigators and focuses on representing insureds in complex insurance coverage matters. Ms. Cohen has been recognized as one of the "Top Ten" insurance litigators in the nation by Benchmark Litigation, and one of the "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal. She has also been named an "Insurance MVP" by Law360 each year since 2013. She was recently awarded a 2017 “Professional Excellence Award for Distinguished Leadership” by The New York Law Journal

With more than 30 years of experience, Ms. Cohen is a seasoned trial attorney who has tried and litigated many of the most significant and cutting-edge insurance coverage cases, including asbestos, product liability, toxic tort, environmental, directors and officers, first-party, employee dishonesty, and employment coverage matters. She has negotiated large insurance settlement recoveries for her policyholder clients, including recoveries of more than several hundred million dollars. In total, she has helped her clients obtain more than $5 billion in insurance assets.

In March 2017, Robin was recognized and profiled as "Litigator of The Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily following a significant insurance recovery victory for Verizon. She also received the 2017 "Best in Insurance & Reinsurance" award at the Euromoney "Women In Business Law Awards" and was awarded 2016 "Insurance Litigator of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation. Her talents have also been recognized in numerous publications, including 2017 Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2016 Chambers USA, 2015 Chambers USA, 2014 Chambers USA, 2013 Chambers USA (“outstanding in all aspects"), 2012 Chambers USA (“a real standout – innovative and fabulous all-around attorney”), 2011 Chambers USA (“spectacular and confidence-inspiring” and “she always knows how to resolve matters, whether to settle or fight”), 2010 Chambers USA (“an outstanding oral advocate and strategic thinker”), 2009 Chambers USA (“is always thinking three to five steps ahead on each issue”), 2008 Chambers USA  ("is always strategic and very thorough in her approach—she is someone you can trust for the truly large matters") and Lawdragon 500 (“a top-flight advocate for insurance clients”). Robin was selected by Business Insurance as one the 2011 "Women to Watch" and was recognized as both a national and local "litigation star" in Benchmark Litigation and Benchmark Plaintiff, as well as named as one of the "Top 250 Women in Litigation" by Benchmark for six consecutive years. Robin is noted as a "Leading Lawyer" in The Legal 500’s guide to outstanding attorneys nationwide for Insurance: Advice to Policyholders and has been consistently named as one of the Top 500 “Leading Lawyers in America” by Lawdragon. Robin was featured as a “winning litigator" by The National Law Journal in 2013, where she was one of only five attorneys recognized nationally for overcoming tough odds in a case with high financial stakes.

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel to Verizon Communications Inc., Verizon Financial Services LLC and GTE Corporation (collectively, “Verizon”) in securing a victory before the Delaware Superior Court, which ruled that the company's insurers must provide coverage for tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and costs incurred in successfully defending against a $14 billion lawsuit filed against Verizon in connection with the spin-off of its directories businesses, which later filed for bankruptcy.  The court granted summary judgment to Verizon, finding that the policy’s “Securities Claim” provision could be read to encompass a lawsuit alleging a violation of any statute or rule, including a common law rule, that must be followed to properly engage in a securities transaction, and that the lawsuit against Verizon contained such allegations. Ms. Cohen was recognized as "Litigator of the Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily as a result of her success in the case. 

  • Lead counsel to Givaudan Fragrances Corporation in securing a victory for corporate policyholders with far reaching implications in protecting a corporate insured’s right to reorganize its business as it sees fit, without fear of risking the forfeiture of its historic insurance coverage.  The unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court decision upheld an earlier appellate court ruling which affirmed Givaudan’s right to seek more than $500 million in insurance coverage for governmental and private claims related to environmental damage to the Passaic River and Newark Bay.
  • Lead counsel to Warren Pumps LLC. in a case seeking coverage from more than a dozen insurance companies for thousands of asbestos-related claims. The firm’s attorneys have secured several high-profile courtroom victories for Warren, including a decisive jury verdict worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and landmark decisions from the New York Court of Appeals on the allocation of long-tail claims, and the Delaware Supreme Court on critical issues, including assignment of policy rights and the trigger of coverage, which have allowed Warren to access more than $500 million dollars in asbestos insurance coverage limits.
  • Lead counsel to Eduardo Li, a former official of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) in securing a preliminary injunction ordering immediate insurance company payments to fund Mr. Li’s defense in a high-profile criminal action.  The Court also denied the insurers’ motion to dismiss based on jurisdictional grounds and a Swiss forum selection clause in the insurance policy, finding that such clauses were unenforceable against an official who did not specifically agree to forego the protections of a U.S. court. 
  • Lead counsel to Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”), College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”) and other related entities (collectively, “TIAA-CREF”), in an insurance coverage lawsuit filed in Delaware Superior Court in May 2014 against certain of TIAA-CREF’s primary and excess professional liability insurers seeking reimbursement of more than $60 million for the costs of defending and settling three class action lawsuits alleging claims relating to delays in processing account holders’ transfer requests in certain investment accounts.   Obtained a landmark decision from President Judge Jan Jurden granting summary judgment to TIAA-CREF on October 20, 2016 (which was further reaffirmed on November 16, 2016 when the court denied the insurers certification of an interlocutory appeal), finding that a civil settlement of a lawsuit involving claims for disgorgement was an insurable loss under New York law, and a jury verdict finding that one insurer waived its consent to settle defense and that TIAA-CREF was entitled to recover 100% of its defense costs as reasonable and necessary.
  • Lead counsel to Standard General, a private hedge fund specializing in distressed debt, in securing a victory before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York holding that The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut must provide coverage for legal fees and costs that Standard General incurred in successfully defending a defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dov Charney, the former CEO of American Apparel.

  • Lead counsel to Medidata Solutions Inc. in securing a Summary Judgment ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York allowing Medidata to access coverage under a Federal Insurance Co. commercial crime insurance policy for a loss that the company suffered as a result of a computer fraud incident.  The decision is one of the first involving coverage for email “spoofing,” a threat faced by many companies, in which fraudulent transfers of money are induced by emails to employees that appear to be from the email accounts of senior company officers, but are sent by the perpetrators of the fraud with replies routed back to accounts the perpetrators control. 

  • Lead counsel to Pella Corporation and various of its subsidiaries against numerous insurance companies in several Iowa federal court actions in which Pella is seeking insurance coverage for underlying lawsuits pending against Pella, including more than twenty class action lawsuits, which allege that certain Pella windows and doors were defective and, as a result, leaked and caused water damage.  On November 1, 2016, McKool Smith’s attorneys obtained a summary judgment ruling holding that various of the pending lawsuits against Pella alleged a covered “occurrence,” defined as an “accident,” despite insurers’ contention that “foreseeable” damage caused by an insured’s defective work cannot give rise to an “occurrence” under applicable Iowa law.   Because the existence of an “occurrence” was a threshold issue that Pella must establish in order to obtain insurance coverage, this ruling is significant to Pella’s pursuit of insurance coverage.

Prior to joining the firm: 

  • Lead counsel to IMO Industries, Inc. in securing a landmark appellate decision affirming policyholder rights to coverage for tens of thousands of underlying asbestos claims under its $1.8 billion dollar insurance coverage program. In an extensive 114-page opinion, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed trial court rulings in favor of the policyholder after a four-day bench trial as well as rulings in the policyholder’s favor in nearly a dozen substantive motions decided by the trial court.
  • Lead counsel to MBIA in securing a victory just four months after the filing of the complaint, in which the Southern District of New York granted judgment in favor of MBIA and declared that the London market must pay tens of millions of dollars of MBIA's costs in defending suits arising from its restructuring of core business operations.
  • Lead counsel to Visa Inc. in its insurance coverage action against its primary Professional Liability, Technology and Multimedia insurer, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s.  In a ruling issued in January 2012, Robin obtained a summary adjudication ruling from the San Francisco Superior Court in favor of Visa, successfully arguing that fixed, minimum statutory damages available under California's Invasion of Privacy and similar statutes are not excluded under the policies.
  • Lead counsel to Cushman & Wakefield in securing a dismissal of breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation claims brought by a property owner, Orient Overseas Associates, alleging failure to provide sufficient coverage limits for recovery costs incurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy.
  • Lead counsel to Syracuse University in securing a victory from New York’s Appellate Court stating National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. is liable for defense costs the University incurred responding to and conducting an investigation in connection with a number of state and federal grand jury subpoenas relating to allegations of sexual abuse against its former Associate Basketball Coach, Bernie Fine.  In March 2013, the University was awarded initial summary judgment for this particular claim under a Not-For-Profit Individual and Organization Insurance Policy.  In December 2013, New York’s Appellate Division, 4th Department, unanimously affirmed this ruling.
  • Lead counsel for Convergys Corp in a coverage dispute in which the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted summary judgment ordering the policyholder's umbrella insurance company to immediately pay the policyholder's costs of defending two privacy class actions.
  • Lead counsel on behalf of ABT Building Products Corp. ("ABTco") in a case against the insurance industry that obtained one of the largest jury verdicts ever in the North Carolina United States District Court.  After Robin reached settlements with all of ABTco's carriers except AIG, ABTco was awarded trebled damages for violation of North Carolina's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act after a nine-day jury trial against AIG.  In addition, the Court awarded ABTco all of its attorneys' fees and pre-judgment interest.  The jury verdict and Court award were affirmed in their entirety by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Lead counsel to Philips Electronics North America Corporation and its subsidiaries in numerous insurance coverage actions around the country, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance coverage.  In connection with these representations, Robin successfully obtained numerous favorable rulings, and negotiated settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Lead counsel to Philips Lighting Company in its lawsuit against several insurance carriers in West Virginia concerning insurance coverage for approximately 4,000 toxic tort claims.  Robin successfully obtained summary judgment requiring the carriers to provide a complete defense to Philips, after which all aspects of the coverage claim were fully and very favorably resolved for tens of millions of dollars.
  • Lead counsel to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (“Port Authority”) in connection with the pursuit of insurance coverage arising from liabilities resulting from the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center.  The insurer who issued a $50 million insurance policy to the Port Authority initiated an arbitration against the Port Authority in Connecticut and the Port Authority responded with a suit in Essex County, New Jersey.  Because of the events of 9/11, the Port Authority has lost many of its insurance records.  Ms. Cohen led a team of attorneys who successfully convinced the trial court to issue an order temporarily staying arbitration and providing the Port Authority with an opportunity to conduct discovery regarding the terms and conditions of the subject policy.  While discovery was in the early stages the Port Authority agreed to a beneficial confidential settlement that confirmed that the insurer would meet its coverage obligations.
  • Robin has been retained to testify as an expert on United States insurance law in an Italian lawsuit involving insurance subrogation rights under a policy controlled by U.S. law for tens of millions of dollars in damages resulting from a fire at facilities located in Milan, Italy.
  • Robin also frequently represents clients on various regulatory matters before the New York Insurance Department. 

Awards & Recognition

  • Recognized and profiled as "Litigator of The Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily following a significant insurance recovery victory for Verizon (2017).
  • Award 2017 "Professional Excellence Award for Distinguished Leadership" by The New York Law Journal.
  • Awarded 2016 "Insurance Litigator of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation.
  • Awarded "Best in Insurance & Reinsurance" at the Euromoney Legal Media Group Americas "Women In Business Law Awards" (2017 and 2014).
  • Recognized as one of the "Top Ten" Insurance litigators in the nation by Benchmark Litigation (2017).
  • Recognized as an "MVP" for Insurance Litigation by Law360 (2013-2016).
  • Received the "Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring Lawyer of the Year (Private Practice)" award at the Chambers USA Women in Law Awards Ceremony (2015).
  • Recognized by Chambers USA as one of the top twelve policyholder lawyers Nationwide. Ranked “Band 1” (highest rating) Nationwide and in New York for Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder. The 2016 edition describes Ms. Cohen as "the real deal" when it comes to policyholder representation. It also notes that "she is widely renowned as an outstanding trial attorney who is highly skilled at securing large scale recovery and settlements on behalf of her clients."
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 as a leading leading lawyer in the United States for Insurance: Advice to Policyholders (2011-2016). The 2016 edition notes that she is "‘extremely well-versed."
  • Named a national and local “litigation star” by Benchmark Litigation (2010-2017).
  • Named one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” by Benchmark Litigation (2012-2017).
  • Featured as a "winning litigator" by The National Law Journal in 2013.
  • Named by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America (2007).
  • Named by Lawdragon magazine as one of the Top 500 “Leading Lawyers in America” (2005-2007, 2011-2015).
  • Rated AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0) by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, the highest level of professional excellence.
  • Recognized in the International Who’s Who Legal for Insurance and Reinsurance (2011-2013).
  • Recognized in the 2nd edition of the Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law (2011-2013).
  • Selected for New York Metro Super Lawyers (2007-2014).  
  • Named by Lawdragon magazine as one of the “New Stars, New Worlds” attorneys (2006).

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