Our award-winning Insurance Recovery Litigation practice represents corporate policyholders in maximizing their insurance coverage, drawing on more than 30 years of experience to effectively lead clients through high-stakes coverage and liability disputes against their insurance providers. Collectively, our lawyers have obtained more than $5 billion in insurance-related recoveries for clients across a broad range of industries, including energy, manufacturing, chemical, financial and education.
Because insurance is a valuable corporate asset, we focus on the client’s goals, and develop creative solutions to protect our clients’ interests and maximize recoveries for losses and liabilities. Our trial-ready approach communicates to both our clients and opposing counsel that we are fully committed to securing a favorable resolution on our clients’ behalf, whether through settlement, motion, alternative dispute resolution, or—if necessary—at trial. We pride ourselves on taking on the toughest cases and making law on questions of first impression.
Most importantly, we never lose sight of the broader business, legal, and public relations implications of each matter we handle, and we work closely with our clients to develop effective strategies, taking these important issues into consideration.
McKool Smith has been awarded "Insurance Litigation Department of The Year" by The New York Law Journal and recognized as a “Insurance Practice Group of the Year” by Law360. We are also rated by Chambers USA, and ranked in Best Law Firms (U.S. News) nationally as well as regionally in Los Angeles and New York.
- Maxus Liquidating Trust v. Greenstone Assurance, Ltd. Representation of bankruptcy trust of former policyholder, in Federal Court, seeking recovery of over $500 million in damages for historic liabilities assumed by contract, as a result of a merger. Currently set for trial in March 2021. (E.D. Texas, 2019-present)
- SS&C Technologies v. AIG. Represented SS&C in securing a summary judgment ruling ordering that insurer must pay full amount of settlement of underlying litigation on professional liability policy, concerning a multimillion dollar spoofed email fraudulent scheme.
- Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. Represent Energy Transfer Partners in coverage suit against 17 insurers in Delaware state court arising out of stockholder lawsuit. Recently defeated two motions to dismiss, including a motion to dismiss that was appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court (see https://www.law360.com/articles/1314442/del-judge-keeps-energy-giant-s-2b-coverage-suit-alive). On December 31, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in our favor, adopting all of Energy Transfer’s arguments in rejecting the appeal by the insurance carriers.
- Apex Parks Group. Representation of Apex Parks Group in securing a $10 million verdict against Protective Life Insurance Company. The verdict was announced on September 21, 2018 after a 7-day jury trial in State Court in Alabama. Jurors awarded Apex $10 million in damages finding that Protective Life unjustifiably breached its contract with Apex when it refused to pay death benefits owed under a key man insurance policy issued on the life of Apex’s Chief Executive Officer after his untimely death.
- Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. Represented insured in environmental coverage case involving historic environmental liabilities which, after years of litigation and appeals, settled favorably on first day of trial. (Morris Cty. (NJ), 2018-2019)
- Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”), College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), and other related entities (collectively, “TIAA-CREF”). Representation of 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. After obtaining a landmark summary judgment decision, McKool Smith secured a jury verdict on December 12, 2016, following a six-day trial, 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.
- Bedivere Insurance Company, et al v. Maxus Energy Corporation. Lead counsel for policyholder sued by its insurers over coverage for "Louisiana Legacy" liabilities under historic CGL policies. Policyholder counter-sued for coverage and damages. Case settled favorably on the day before trial. (Harris Cty. (Tex.), (2015-2018)
Prior to joining the firm:
- Taylor Energy Company LLC v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s. Served as lead counsel for policyholder, obtaining summary judgment on coverage under an energy package policy for offshore environmental liabilities. Obtained first reported U.S. case holding London Market insurers liable for off-shore contamination cleanup under energy package policy and secured a significant, above-limits settlement (E.D. La. 2010).
- CNH America v. Travelers Indemnity. Represented former corporate parent of plaintiff in third party indemnity litigation brought by an insurer under a global settlement agreement. Obtained favorable settlement for client after summary judgment. (Del. Superior Ct., 2015).
- Celanese Corporation v. OneBeacon Americas Insurance Co. Served as trial counsel for policyholder seeking compliance with coverage-in-place agreements. Unanimous verdict for client found breach of contract and bad faith against OneBeacon and its third party administrator (Suffolk Cty. (MA) Superior Court 2010).
- OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Celanese Corporation. Served as lead trial and appellate counsel in suit brought by insurer to avoid all insuring obligations. Trial court judgment entered in favor of client in excess of $3 million (Suffolk Cty. (MA), 2014).
- Southern Natural Gas Company v. London Market Insurers. Served as lead trial counsel for policyholder seeking coverage for historic environmental liabilities; obtained two unanimous jury verdicts in favor of coverage, which were upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in July 2013. Made new law on the number of occurrences. (Jefferson Cty (AL) Circuit Ct., 2001-2013).
- Kern County Land Co. v. California Union Ins. Co. Served as lead trial counsel in three trials for policyholder in “global” coverage case for historic environmental liabilities on seven lines of coverage, against over 100 insurers, resulting in nine-figure settlements (San Francisco Cty., 1997-2008).
Media & Events
- The National Law Journal Recognizes Mike McKool and Lew LeClair as "Trailblazers" in Plaintiff Litigation05.01.2020
- Media Coverage: Appellate Division Affirms NJ Transit’s Entitlement to Full $400 Million Program Limits for Sandy Water Damage11.20.2019
- Appellate Division Affirms NJ Transit’s Entitlement to Full $400 Million Program Limits for Sandy Water Damage11.19.2019
- Lauren Varnado co-publishes article titled "Institutions and Insurance After Texas Doubles Time Limit on Child Sex Abuse Claims" in The Texas Lawbook08.30.2019
- Law360 reports on Insurance Ruling for McKool Smith client Conduent State Healthcare v. AIG Speciality Insurance Co.08.30.2019
- Business Insurance reports on McKool Smith client Cushman & Wakefield's recent Coverage Suit against AIG and Illinois National Insurance Co.07.17.2019
- Media Coverage: McKool Smith Secures Ruling that Enables AR Capital to Seek Coverage for Legal Costs12.14.2018
- Delaware Business Court Insider: Del. Supreme Court Disarms 'Exposure Trigger' in Asbestos Insurance Case09.14.2016
- McKool Smith Secures One of the Largest Verdicts Against Protective Life Insurance Policy in Alabama09.25.2018
- Delaware Supreme Court Affirms McKool Smith’s $40 Million+ Coverage Win for TIAA – Rules Settlement of Civil Disgorgement Claims Insurable Under New York Law07.31.2018
- Lauren Varnado co-published an article titled "Insurance Coverage in the Wake of the New York Child Victims Act and Sex Abuse Lawsuits" in the New York Law Journal08.23.2019
- Insurance Coverage Alert: Cushman & Wakefield Secures More Than $48 Million in Coverage for Appraisal Litigation04.26.2018
- Insurance Coverage Alert: McKool Smith Secures $4.8 Million Computer Fraud Coverage for Medidata Solutions07.31.2017
- Insurance Coverage Alert: McKool Smith Secures Another Landmark Decision On Trigger of Coverage, Assignment and Defense Cost Issues In Viking Pump09.13.2016
- Insurance Coverage Alert: McKool Smith Obtains Landmark Decision on Allocation of Liability in Viking Pump05.12.2016
- "Delaware D&O Coverage Litigation," ABA Tips Insurance Litigation Conference (February 2020)
- "Principal Issues in Securing Insurance Coverage for Employment-Related Claims under EPI Policies," CLE (2012)