Erica Villanueva

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Erica Villanueva advises policyholders seeking to maximize coverage under their insurance policies, and litigates insurance coverage disputes. She has extensive experience handling claims under a variety of insurance policies, including general liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, venture capital/private equity liability, aviation, employment practices liability, property and business interruption policies. She works with policyholders to ensure that their claims are properly presented to insurers, to obtain the maximum possible insurance recovery and resolve any coverage disputes that may arise during the course of a claim. Ms. Villanueva has substantial coverage litigation experience, both at the trial and appellate levels.

Some of her recent representative matters include:

  • Represented private equity firm seeking insurance coverage for litigation filed against it and numerous other defendants by a disgruntled co-founder of a portfolio company. Persuaded insurer to fund far greater than the private equity firm’s proportionate share of the settlement, to protect its interests and its investment.
  • Defended pharmaceutical distributor and its captive insurance company against a lawsuit by a major pharmacy, seeking defense and indemnity for an underlying pharmaceutical product liability case. Successfully briefed and argued a major summary adjudication motion that effectively resolved the entire case.
  • On behalf of hotel-owner client, initiated litigation for breach of contract and bad faith against insurer who unreasonably refused to fund a personal injury settlement. Promptly moved the case into mediation and negotiated a favorable settlement.
  • Negotiated insurer-funded resolution of contentious employment case on the eve of trial. Within a week, persuaded the insurer to abandon its aggressive coverage position and fund settlement.

Ms. Villanueva has spoken and published articles on various insurance-related topics, including “Private D&O Insurance: Things You Should Know,” “Protect The Investment: Require Portfolio Companies to Purchase Strong D&O Insurance,” “General Counsel as Risk Manager,” and “How to Prepare for a Mediation Involving Coverage Issues.” She is an active contributor to the firm’s insurance coverage blog, The Policyholder Perspective.

Ms. Villanueva was named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hotlist (2017-2018) and was the recipient of the 2016 Client Choice Award in the Insurance category for California from International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology. She is listed in Northern California Super Lawyers 2018. She was honored by California Rural Legal Assistance with its 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award.

She was selected by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) as a 2019 Fellow. Ms. Villanueva served as the partner co-chair of Farella’s Diversity + Inclusion Committee from 2014-2018.


  • Board of Directors, Bar Association of San Francisco (2019-2021)
  • Board Member, Centro Legal de la Raza (November 2016-present)

  • Regional Representative, Yale Law School Alumni Executive Committee (2017-2020)
  • Edward J. McFetridge Inn of Court, Barrister & Pupilage Group Leader (2014-2017)
  • Chair, Insurance Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco (2018); Executive Committee Member (2015-2017)
  • Judiciary Committee, Bar Association of San Francisco (2016-2018)