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The Insurance Litigation practice group at Dickinson Wright represents insurers in a wide variety of litigation in federal and state courts across the nation. We offer carriers the benefits of both first-chair trial lawyers and seasoned appellate advocates in coverage cases, bad faith and related suits, actions involving punitive damages and statutory damages caps, and other kinds of litigation.
Our attorneys are often chosen to serve as lead defense counsel in complex, multi-defendant cases and as national class action counsel on behalf of insurers. When the insurance carrier is preparing for or on appeal, Dickinson Wright brings in experienced appellate lawyers who combine skills in legal analysis and written and oral advocacy with specific proficiency in insurance matters.
Our insurance clients run the gamut of lines of insurance: property and casualty insurers, including automobile, no-fault and PIP, homeowners, commercial general liability, builders-risk, and cyber-risk coverages; workers' compensation; legal malpractice, medical malpractice, director & officer liability, and other professional liability insurers; specialty line insurers; health insurers; life insurers; and title insurers. Our lawyers have also represented insurance trade associations, frequently as amici curiae on issues of general concern to the industry.
Coverage Litigation: Dickinson Wright attorneys have represented carriers on a broad range of coverage issues, both in trial courts and on appeal. The issues have ranged from coverage under automobile and homeowners policies for “road rage” injuries to D&O coverage for the cost of litigating or settling complex shareholder litigation. Representative matters include:
Bad Faith and Related Litigation: Dickinson Wright attorneys have deep experience in defending high-exposure claims against insurers and reinsurers for bad faith and other extra-contractual liability, including claims under first-party and third-party coverages, as well as workers’-compensation bad faith. Such claims may take many forms, including bad faith and fiduciary-duty claims by insureds or their assignees; tort claimants’ suits for abuse of process or intentional infliction of emotional distress; and claims for violation of statutes proscribing unfair trade practices or unfair claim settlement practices.
Our attorneys have particular experience in defending against claims of “institutional” bad faith based on general company practices and procedures. These include institutional claims based on compensation and bonus practices, profitability targets, claim severity goals, claim-handling processes and reforms, and use of computerized claim-adjustment tools. For example:
Title Insurance Litigation: Our insurance attorneys have extensive experience helping national and regional title insurance companies and their insureds protect their investments and resolve a wide variety of disputes involving lien priority and validity, title ownership, equitable and conventional subrogation, easements, property boundaries, mechanic’s lien claims, policy coverage, mortgage fraud, and more. We have helped our title insurance clients analyze policy coverage and defended them against claims of policy breach. We also have addressed claims against title agents and their E&O carriers, and recovered significant funds on unsecured claims in bankruptcy and policy payment recoveries. Our experience includes:
Punitive Damages & Statutory Damage Caps: Our insurance litigators have extensive experience in attacking jury verdicts for punitive damages under both state law and federal due process principles, and have achieved extraordinary reductions of such awards. They have also defended the constitutionality of federal and state statutory damages caps against challenges based on the right to a jury trial, separation of powers, access to courts, equal protection, and due process.
Other Insurer Litigation
Covered Defense of Insureds: Insurance carriers also look to Dickinson Wright attorneys for the defense of insureds in litigation covered under their policies, particularly when the litigation entails high risk, high exposure, or important legal issues. Insurers have retained our lawyers to assist or replace existing counsel, whether in the trial courts or on appeal. Their experience includes a wide variety of contract, tort, and other matters, including premises liability; medical, accounting, and legal malpractice; D&O liability; environmental litigation; and defense of railroads in FELA, grade-crossing, and other personal-injury litigation.