Burt M. Garson is a principal in the Insurance Recovery Practice Group. Burt has extensive experience representing Fortune 500 companies as well as individual policyholders in high-stakes insurance coverage actions. He has obtained significant insurance coverage recoveries for liabilities relating to asbestos, products, toxic torts, environmental, directors and officers, errors and omissions, first-party property damage, and business interruption, including a multimillion-dollar recovery for a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. In addition to insurance coverage, Burt has a diverse general litigation background. He has conducted all facets of litigation from pleadings to trial and has successfully argued dispositive motions and obtained dismissal of actions. Burt has taken and defended many fact and expert depositions, drafted and filed winning appellate briefs, and successfully conducted appellate arguments. He argued and defeated key evidentiary motions brought by insurance carriers against a client on the eve of trial in a billion dollar asbestos coverage action.
- Represented 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.
- Represented Eduardo Li, a former official of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”), the international body that governs organized soccer, 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.
- Represented IMO Industries in connection with a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its former parent and over 50 insurance companies in connection with coverage for asbestos-related liabilities. In connection with this lawsuit, the policyholder has won numerous summary judgment motions, prevailed in a trial phase against more than ten excess insurers, and reached favorable settlements with dozens of insurers. With respect to the non-settling excess insurers, the trial court's decision was affirmed on appeal securing more than $1 billion in coverage.
- Represented General Motors Corporation in litigation seeking insurance coverage for historic asbestos liabilities successfully leading to settlement for a confidential amount.
- Represented Morgans Hotel Group in its pursuit of coverage under an excess D&O policy for defense and indemnity amounts arising out of a derivative action and three related lawsuits. After filing a breach of contract/bad faith lawsuit in Delaware and bringing two separate motions for partial summary judgment prior to the insurer even filing an answer to the complaint, the policyholder was able to successfully settle the matter in just over two months.
Media & Events
- The Wall Street Journal: Seven Trial Lawyers Led by Robin Cohen Join McKool Smith to Launch Insurance Recovery Practice02.02.2016
- The ‘Queen For A Day’ Agreement: A High Risk Venture,” Co-author, Business Crimes Bulletin, (April 2001)
J.D., The George Washington University Law School, 1999
- The George Washington University Law Review member
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1994
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 2000
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 2000
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2014
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- New York, 2000