Experience

Venture Capital Firm Dispute and Resolution

Represented venture capital firm in obtaining insurance coverage for defense costs associated with its substantial investment in a portfolio company that faced high-profile investigations commenced by multiple federal agencies.

Claims Advocacy and Litigation Over Coverage for Talc Ovarian Cancer Claims

We are representing $75B multinational mining company Rio Tinto in insurance coverage litigation in San Francisco Superior Court regarding coverage for the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Litigation (Talc Ovarian Cancer Claims). The Talc Ovarian Cancer Claims involve approximately 14,000 personal injury claims filed across the country alleging that talc exposure caused the plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer. This litigation recently resulted in a $4B verdict against J&J, as well as a number of other large verdicts. Our firm’s work involves not only the coverage litigation, but advice to the client on numerous other insurance issues raised by the claims. 

Expert Witness Testimony on Captive Reinsurance

One of our partners served as expert witness on California insurance law on behalf of Camarin Ltd., a captive reinsurer for Weyerhaeuser.  Camarin paid $25 million in connection with a class action settlement and sought reimbursement from its reinsurer, Swiss Re.  Swiss Re denied coverage, resulting in coverage litigation in British Columbia. The case involved novel issues of proving a reinsurance claim for a matter resolved by settlement where the reinsurance policy does not have a “follow the settlements” clause.  The British Columbia courts held that Camarin was required to present a full trial of the class action as if it had not settled, but had gone to trial in 2003.  The matter settled on favorable terms shortly after Camarin presented the expert reports constituting its case in chief.

Target Corporation v. Golden State, et al.

Successfully defended a favorable summary judgment ruling for both McKesson Corporation and its captive insurance company on appeal to the Second Appellate District. The lawsuit was filed against McKesson by Target seeking indemnity from McKesson and insurance coverage from McKesson’s captive insurance company for costs that Target incurred to defend and settle an underlying product liability case. 

Claims Advocacy for Venture Capital Firm

We represented one of the country’s largest venture capital firms in several disputes with its liability insurer including a dispute concerning coverage for alleged liability arising out of conduct by rogue shareholder representative, in which we obtained a substantial contribution from the insurer to settlement of the underlying matter. We continue to represent the same client in ongoing negotiations concerning coverage for a securities class action filed against the venture capital firm and its appointed board member, arising out of one of the largest losses in the history of venture capital.

Multi-jurisdictional Coverage Litigation Over Legal Malpractice Insurance Tower

We pursued claims against a national law firm’s professional liability insurance tower in litigation venued in California, Washington D.C. and London, and successfully resolved the claims through mediation. 

Confidential Arbitration Over CGL Insurance for Technology Company

We won an arbitration before a three-arbitrator panel, preventing an insurer from recovering a settlement payment it made under a CGL policy on behalf of a technology company, and then defeated the insurer’s petition to vacate the award; that order is currently on appeal.

Resolution of Start-Up's Founder Dispute with Venture Capital Firm's Insurance Proceeds

We advised a venture capital firm in connection with underlying “founder dispute” litigation, naming the portfolio company, its three largest investors, and their appointed board members as defendants. At mediation we resolved a potential eight-figure claim for an amount well within the limits of available insurance, persuading our client’s insurer to contribute far greater than its proportionate share of the settlement, to protect the client’s interests and its investment.

FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated v. Commerce & Industry Ins. Co.

We represented a major hotel property owner in insurance coverage litigation arising out of their insurer’s refusal to fully fund settlement of an underlying catastrophic personal injury action. Our complaint against insurer included claims for breach of contract and bad faith, and the matter settled favorably within 3 months of initiating litigation.

National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Electronic Arts, Inc.

We represent Electronic Arts Inc. in coverage disputes arising out of class action lawsuits alleging misappropriation of likeness and antitrust violations brought by college and NFL athletes whose likenesses were allegedly used without their permission. When EA’s insurers filed a declaratory relief action to establish that they did not owe a duty to defend the underlying actions, we successfully obtained a stay of the coverage litigation pending further progress of the underlying actions.

Won Asbestos Insurance Coverage Appeal Worth Over $150 Million

On appeal, we successfully overturned unfavorable trial court rulings entered against John Crane, Inc. regarding insurance coverage for asbestos judgments. Taking over this complex insurance lawsuit from previous trial counsel, our work preserved over $150 million in excess insurance coverage. In the process, we turned back a serious challenge to the "all sums" allocation rule in Illinois.

Environmental Coverage Litigation and Resolution

We represented U.S. Borax, a mining and chemical company, in insurance coverage litigation over multi-state, multi-site environmental coverage clean-up costs involving over 80 policies issued over a 25-year period. After securing favorable Phase I rulings on key legal and policy interpretation issues, we obtained substantial recoveries in settlement on the eve of a jury trial and preserved coverage for potential future claims.

Greenwich Ins. Co. v. Prosper Marketplace, Inc.

We represented Prosper Marketplace, Inc., a peer-to-peer lending company, in a bench trial in California state court against a D&O insurer that breached its duty to defend a securities class action lawsuit, and then successfully defended the trial win in the California Court of Appeal.

Architects and Engineers’ E&O Coverage for Large Construction Projects

We provide ongoing strategic coverage advice to a global architectural and engineering firm in unique and complicated coverage and indemnification issues relating to disputes involving multi-million dollar transportation and sports facilities.

Claims Advocacy for International Shipping Entities Involved in Securities Litigation

We are currently advising international shipping entities regarding coverage issues arising out of securities litigation and preference claims asserted in multiple jurisdictions and involving nonstandard policy forms.

Claims Advocacy for Technology Company Involved in Data Breach

We represent a software and services company in an insurance claim arising out of a data breach that involves resolution of coverage issues relating to both customer and consumer class actions claims.

Resolution of Sensitive Claims Against Medical Testing Company with Insurance Proceeds

We represented a medical testing company facing serious and extremely public claims regarding alleged deficiencies in its technology and negotiated a resolution of all coverage claims.

Negotiation for Insurance and Indemnification Provisions for Timber Sale Agreement

We negotiated indemnification and the terms of a $100 million insurance tower relating to a timber sale agreement in Northern California to address wildfire risk.

Cyber and Tech E&O Policy Negotiation

We represent numerous technology companies in negotiating the terms of their Technology Errors & Omissions liability and cyber insurance policies.

Claims Advocacy for D&O Liability Insurance for Securities Class Actions and Derivative Claims

We have represented numerous companies or their directors or officers in obtaining insurance proceeds to fund the defense and settlement of securities class actions and derivative settlements, including Chesapeake Energy, Intuitive Surgical, J.C. Penney and Finisar Corporation.

Cyber Warranty and Backing Insurance Policy Negotiation

We have helped a cyber security company draft a warranty and backing cyber insurance policy for its customers.

Firm Highlights

Publication

D&O Liability Insurance in a Time of Financial Uncertainty

As companies scramble to mitigate losses arising from government shelter-in-place directives intended to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the insurance world has focused on business interruption coverage disputes and lawsuits.  But if...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys, Practices Recognized by Chambers USA 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel announces that Chambers USA has recognized 12 lawyers and five practice areas in the legal directory’s 2020 edition. Individual Rankings: Tyler Gerking – Insurance: Policyholders...

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News

Farella Expands Insurance Recovery Practice With Addition of Litigation Partner Amy Briggs

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Publication

Time to Check Your Cyber Insurance

Now that the CCPA is in effect, some companies will need to revise their policies. The cyber insurance markets are beginning to adapt to the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which went into...

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News

Insurers Challenged for Denying Business-Interruption Coverage During Coronavirus Economic Lockdown

Insurance recovery partner Ray Sheen commented in the North Bay Business Journal article, "Insurers Challenged for Denying Business-Interruption Coverage During Coronavirus Economic Lockdown." Read the article, here .

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Publication

Business Interruption Coverage for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has already caused severe disruption to the economy. In the U.S., governmental entities as well as the private sector are implementing more and more drastic measures to respond to the coronavirus...

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Publication

Directors & Officers Liability Issues and the Coronavirus: Is That a “Thing”?

Over the last few weeks we have seen a number of informative articles discussing the crucial issue of coverage for business interruption claims arising out of government shutdowns of businesses to inhibit the spread...

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News

In Novel Case, Insurer Sues Own Law Firm After Data Breach

Tyler Gerking was quoted in the Law360 article "In Novel Case, Insurer Sues Own Law Firm After Data Breach." In the article Tyler said, "This case shows some of the hazards that all companies face...

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Publication

COVID-19 Exposure and GL Coverage: Issues for Personal Injury Claims

Though much of the conversation regarding insurance coverage for COVID-19-related losses has focused on the potential for business interruption-type coverage (see prior discussion  here ), insureds should not overlook the potential that COVID risks...

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News

Cyber Insurance Demand Heats Up As COVID-19 Hacks Rise

Tyler Gerking spoke to Law360 for the article "Cyber Insurance Demand Heats Up As COVID-19 Hacks Rise." As far as insurance coverage being available for fines and penalties that arise out of privacy and data security laws such as...

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