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Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation

Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation

The direct representation of insurers and policyholders in coverage disputes and litigation comprises a significant part of Nemecek & Cole’s practice. Our attorneys have significant experience in litigating claims arising out of all types of insurance policies, including professional liability, directors and officers, homeowners, auto, commercial property and casualty, comprehensive general liability, workers’ compensation and EPLI policies.

A substantial portion of our insurance practice is devoted to defending insurers in “bad faith” litigation. We have successfully defended insurers and their agents in numerous insurance “bad faith” actions involving allegations of improper claims handling, excessive reserving practices and failure to pay earned dividends. We also defend insurers in claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, infliction of emotional distress and unfair business practices.

Our attorneys also have significant experience representing policyholders in insurance coverage matters, both with regard to defense of covered claims as independent or Cumis counsel and in matters involving the failure to defend or indemnify (third party claims). We counsel and advise our clients on issues relating to the unreasonable adjustment of first party property damage and business interruption claims. In particular, our attorneys have enjoyed great success litigating large scale first party commercial claims involving earthquake, water damage, mold, construction defects, slope failures and other catastrophic losses.

We also assist our clients in policy interpretation by providing insurance policy and coverage analysis. As coverage counsel, we provide coverage opinions and prosecute and defend declaratory relief, subrogation and contribution actions. We take pride in providing a full service insurance practice and achieving the objectives of our insurer and policyholder clients through the most expedient and cost-effective means. Our attorneys provide frank, “no-nonsense” advice that, in the long run, best serves the industry as a whole.

Our advocacy has resulted in the following published decisions:

  • Westrec Marina Management, Inc. v. Arrowhead Indem. Co. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 1387 [whether former employee’s complaint to California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or letter written by former employee’s attorney was a “claim” within meaning of employer’s liability policies]
  • Watts v. Farmers Insurance Exchange (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 1246 [analyzing insurance coverage of “innocent co-insured” under homeowner’s policy]
  • Reagen’s Vacuum Truck Service, Inc. v. Beaver Ins. Co. (1994) 31 Cal.App.4th 375 [insurer need not defend under employer’s liability policy for intentional aggravation claim]
  • Continental Cas. Co. v. Robsac Industries (9th Cir. 1991) 947 F.2d 1367 [leading decision in insurance coverage on abstention doctrine for parallel state and federal proceedings between insurer and insured]
  • Mt. Hawley Ins. Co. v. Federal Sav. & Loan Ins. Corp. (C.D. Cal. 1987) 695 F.Supp. 469 [insurance coverage case interpreting “insured versus insured exclusion” in errors and omissions policy where FSLIC stepped into insured’s shoes to bring litigation]
  • Martin v. James River Insurance Company, 366 F.Supp.3d 1186 (D. Nev. 2019)
  • James River Ins. Co v. Medolac Labs., 290 F.Supp.3d 956 (C.D. Cal. 2018)
  • Centurion Med. Liab. Protective Risk Retention Grp. Inc. v. Gonzalez, 296 F.Supp.3d 1212 (C.D. Cal. 2017)