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)

Firm Highlights

Publication

Wine Businesses, Lenders, and Difficult Conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health efforts to combat it will impact different wine businesses in different ways. Those that depend on on-premise and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, such as restaurant, hospitality, and tasting room...

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News

Farella COVID-19 Update: A Message From the Managing Partner

To our clients, alumni and friends, During these unsettling times, Farella Braun + Martel is focused on protecting the health and safety of our firm members, clients, and communities and doing our part to...

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Publication

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Summary (Updated)

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law (the full 880-page text of the CARES Act is available here ). One feature of the CARES...

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News

Farella Advises on Sale of Diamond Creek Winery to Maison Louis Roederer

SAN FRANCISCO/ST. HELENA, March 16, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel represented the family of the late Boots Brounstein on the sale of their Diamond Creek Winery in Calistoga, Calf. to French Champagne producer Maison...

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Event

Coronavirus Was Unexpected, but Is It Force Majeure? (Webinar)

Join speakers, Matt Lewis and Janice Reicher, on the webinar discussing "Coronavirus Was Unexpected, but Is It Force Majeure?"

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Publication

CARES Act Money for Wineries?

Beginning tomorrow morning, April 3 rd , the Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under the new CARES Act. Amid the flurry of news, small winery owners may...

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News

Daily Journal Names Farella Lawyers Among Top IP Lawyers in California

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that partners Jeffrey M. Fisher and James L. Day were named to the 2020 list of “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers” in California by the Daily Journal...

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Publication

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insights and Resources

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing disruption throughout the US that we have not seen in generations. Governmental entities, academia, and the private sector are working diligently to contain COVID-19 while it...

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Event

7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop

Brian Donnelly is presenting the case study session, "Managing Partner Performance" at Fairfax Associates' 7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop. Click here for more information.

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News

Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line

Mary McCutcheon was quote in the Claims Journal article,"Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line." Link to read the full article .

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