Biography

Erica Villanueva advises policyholders seeking to maximize coverage under their insurance policies and litigates insurance coverage disputes. She helps her clients navigate the insurance claims process, pursues breach of contract and bad faith claims against insurers, and advises on policy wording and insurance renewals. She frequently handles claims under media liability, errors & omissions liability (E&O), directors & officers liability (D&O), general liability (CGL), employment practices liability (EPL), venture capital/private equity liability, and property insurance policies. She also works with policyholders and their insurance brokers to negotiate favorable policy terms, addressing their unique risk profiles. Some of Erica’s representative engagements 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 the client’s interests and its investment.
  • 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.

Erica is active in a number of professional organizations. She is currently a member of the board of directors of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), and is a past chair of the BASF Insurance Section. She is a regional representative to the Yale Law School Alumni Executive Committee, and a 2019 fellow in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program.

Distinctions

  • Chambers USA, Insurance: Policyholder (2019)
  • Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hotlist (2017-2018)
  • Client Choice Award in the Insurance category for California from International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology (2016)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2018-2019)
  • California Rural Legal Assistance Outstanding Alumni Award (2018)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Fellow Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (2019)
  • 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)