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João Santa-Rita is an associate in McKool Smith's New York office. His practice focuses on insurance coverage litigation and counseling for corporate policyholders.

Before joining McKool Smith, he represented policyholders with respect to a wide range of issues at a litigation boutique focused on insurance recovery.

While attending law school, he was a member of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team. João was also a Harold and Milton Durchslag Scholar and a Pro Bono Service Award recipient.


Representative Matters

Insurance Counseling Matters

  • Representing a nationwide network of charter schools regarding insurance coverage for potential tort claims.
  • Representing a university hospital regarding insurance coverage for various claims.
  • Counseling state prosecutorial authorities regarding potential insurance coverage available to fund settlements of civil suits.

Litigation Matters:

  • Representation of directors and officers of an investment services firm in a multi-jurisdictional matter in connection with their claim for $80 million in insurance coverage and indemnity for the defense of class action lawsuits, opt out actions, and several governmental investigations.
  • Representation of major window manufacturer  in coverage litigation and mediation against its general liability insurance carriers. This action seeks recovery for class-action cases across the country alleging property damage as result of leaking windows.  Our efforts recently resulted in a successful settlement with two of our client’s insurers.
  • Representation of investment manager in litigation for proceeds of a “Key Man” policy insuring the life of the company’s former CEO.
  • Representation of a Brazilian pulp manufacturer under “All Risk” policies for physical damages as economic loss resulting from an operation shutdown.
  • Representation of the Trustee of a group of oil and gas companies against their excess insurer for claims against their former directors and officers in suits alleging breaches of fiduciary duty (after successfully settling with the companies’ primary Insurer for the policy’s full limits).
  • Representation of a multi-national energy generation and distribution company in Arbitration with its buyer’s-side representations and warranties insurer for losses of over $70 million incurred as a result of misrepresentations regarding tax liabilities.
  • Representation of a major electronics company before Delaware Chancery Court in a dispute regarding the scope of a settlement agreement with one of its insurers.

Prior to joining the firm:

  • Representation of one of the world’s largest safety equipment manufacturers in litigation against, and negotiations with, nearly 30 insurance companies over hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance coverage. João helped to recover over $100 million in settlements, aided in part by successful summary judgment on case dispositive issues.
  • Representation of a Fortune 500 automotive parts distributor in negotiations over insurance coverage for bodily injury claims.
  • Representation of receiverships and post-bankruptcy trusts in the recovery of insurance proceeds.
  • Pro bono matters focusing on family law.



  • "Employment Related Lawsuits Are on the Rise. Are You Covered?" National Law Review (November 17, 2014)
  • "Insurance By Number - Metrics in Litigation," We’ve Got You Covered – Insurance Law Blog (February 10, 2014)
  • "Unsettling the Asbestos Dust," BNA Insights, Vol. 41, No. 7 at 218 (February 18, 2013)
  • "Recent Decisions Regarding Duty to Warn Could Have Impact on Insurance Coverage" National Law Review (December 24, 2013)
  • "West Virginia Reverses Course to Expand Insurance Coverage" National Law Review (December 24, 2013)


J.D., The University of Chicago Law School, 2012

B.A., Liberal Arts, St. John's College, 2009

Court Admissions

  • State of New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
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