Insurance Litigation Attorneys | McDermott Insurance Lawyers

Insurance Litigation & Counseling


McDermott’s experienced team represents insurers and reinsurers in high-profile disputes affecting the global insurance and reinsurance markets. Clients frequently call upon us to handle their largest and most contentious matters. McDermott’s insurance practice is ranked as a leading national practice by Benchmark Litigation and Legal 500 USA; is recognized as a leading practice in Washington, DC, by Chambers USA; and is a recipient of The Financial Times’s “Innovative Lawyers” award for its historic settlement of 10,116 personal injury cases against the City of New York arising out of the rescue, recovery and debris removal operations at the former World Trade Center site on and after 9/11.

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  • Won a seven-day bench and a six-week jury trial in Portland, Oregon, on behalf of a longtime client, one of the world’s largest insurers. These complex trials turned upon fact and expert testimony related to 1,500 asbestos cases against truck manufacturer Freightliner Corporation, in addition to Freightliner’s environmental liabilities in Oregon, Washington and Indiana, including at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, widely considered the most complex ongoing Superfund site in the United States. Portions of the trials required reconstruction of 60-year-old insurance programs in the London market and testimony regarding a complex 1981 cross-border stock transaction. Following a bench trial in which McDermott prevailed on every issue in dispute, and a subsequent six-week trial featuring 27 witnesses, McDermott convinced a jury that historical policies must contribute to the client’s funding of Freightliner’s asbestos and environmental liabilities. Through judgment and verdict, as well as pre-trial settlements, the client recovered most of its pre-trial payments and stands to recover tens of millions of dollars more over the life of the underlying claims.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest insurers with respect to the settlement of 517 childhood sexual abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. McDermott led all aspects of the negotiations with the Archdiocese and its 12 insurance carriers, and formulated a global deal structure that resulted in a very favorable resolution for the client. The settlement followed five years of negotiations and appellate litigation challenging successfully impermissible judicial mediation conduct. See Travelers Cas. & Surety Co., et al. v. Superior Court, 126 Cal. App. 4th 1131 (2005), cert. denied, No. S132595 (Cal. Jun. 15, 2005) (en banc). The cases settled for $660 million, the largest settlement of its kind worldwide.
  • Represented the WTC Captive Insurance Company, Inc. in negotiating the landmark settlement of the World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation with over 10,000 plaintiffs. The WTC Captive was established to defend and indemnify the city of New York and the contractors it hired to conduct the rescue, recovery and debris removal operations on and after 9/11 at the WTC site. McDermott has served as its sole outside general and litigation counsel since the company’s licensing in 2004. The plaintiffs, who received over $625 million in compensation, were first responders and workers who alleged injuries as the result of participating in the rescue, recovery and debris removal efforts at Ground Zero following the terrorist attack of 9/11.

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