Insurance Related Litigation

Dykema has experienced trial lawyers "possessing an excellent track record" (Chambers USA 2017) who provide high quality and high value counseling services, as well as trial and appellate experience. Dykema has trial-ready insurance industry teams with experience litigating virtually every type of insurance coverage case and trying bet-the-company cases. Our insurance lawyers are already highly knowledgeable about the insurance industry and the issues challenging it, and our litigators have first chair trial experience that few firms can match.

From straightforward two-party cases and ERISA judicial reviews to complex multi-district litigation, bet-the-company cases and class action lawsuits, Dykema’s litigation attorneys are the go-to trial lawyers for the insurance industry. As one of the nation’s preeminent trial law firms for business, our lawyers routinely try cases to successful defense verdicts. It is no surprise that we have obtained positive outcomes in defending class actions for many Fortune 500 clients, including insurance industry leaders.

The types of cases we routinely handle for our insurance industry clients include the following:

  • Coverage disputes: Dykema’s insurance industry team delivers prompt, efficient and effective insurance coverage counsel. From providing initial advice to preparing coverage opinions, negotiating coverage disputes when warranted and litigating them when necessary, our insurance lawyers deliver. Our insurance litigators have handled coverage disputes involving primary, excess and umbrella coverages in the state and federal courts, including declaratory judgment actions, class actions, consumer fraud claims and other coverage-related matters under general liability, commercial property, business interruption, professional liability, officer and director liability, employment practices, workers compensation and other commercial policies, and under life, accident, disability and health policies.  Our attorneys have litigated precedent-setting cases and are on the cutting edge of complex coverage litigation in these and other areas. And, while always prepared to win at trial, our lawyers are also mindful that the client’s underlying business considerations must guide strategy decisions and that most coverage disputes have potential ramifications well beyond the scope of the then-current lawsuit.
  • Bad faith defense: Whether based on allegations of bad faith denial of coverage, delay or failure to investigate, failure to settle within policy limits or related claims, Dykema’s insurance litigators have substantial experience defending insurers against bad faith claims. Our attorneys have successfully tried numerous liability, first party property, life, heath, disability, and other complex bad faith claims throughout the United States, including vanishing premium cases, disability rescission disputes, deceptive marketing claims and the panoply of claim denial and settlement-related issues. Our strong litigation experience in this area also makes us a good choice for advice on how to avoid this type of litigation.
  • ERISA litigation: Dykema’s team of insurance litigators, in conjunction with our employment and employee benefits attorneys, provide high quality, multi-disciplinary services to our ERISA clients relating to drafting or interpreting plan language, resolving adverse benefit determinations and administrative appeals, pursuing excess or stop loss recoveries and representing clients in litigation and administrative hearings before regulatory agencies. We routinely handle life, health and disability benefits claims, pension plan claims and fiduciary claims—from case initiation through multiple levels of appeal. And, with broad experience as both direct defense counsel and supervisory counsel, our lawyers have handled ERISA litigation in numerous federal district and appellate jurisdictions across the country and frequently serve as national and regional counsel for ERISA clients. We understand the legal and business complexities of ERISA litigation, and work with our clients to develop strategies to preempt or avoid litigation and to bring litigation to a rapid and successful conclusion.
  • Insurance Defense: Dykema lawyers have successfully tried numerous insurance defense cases to verdict and through appeal in courts across the country. We have a solid track record of success defending policyholders in a wide array of claims, including construction claims, health care claims, product liability claims and complex class actions. To achieve a uniform and high level of defense representation, Dykema serves as national counsel on behalf of national and multinational clients sued in various state and federal courts across the country. We also represent clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to individuals and health care professionals.
  • Class actions: When a business is hit with a class action lawsuit, it needs Dykema—a leading class action defense firm with an enviable record of success in defending high-stakes insurance class action cases. Start to finish, our lawyers excel in effectively and efficiently handling all aspects of class action defense, from initial analysis and investigation to pleading challenges, pre-emptive motions to strike, discovery, opposing certification, trial and appeal. Dykema lawyers have a proven record of successfully representing our insurance industry clients in a wide variety of class actions including consumer fraud, unfair trade, marketing practices, coverage disputes and ERISA claims.
  • National/regional counsel and pattern and practice litigation: Dykema also has vast experience serving as national and regional coordinating, trial and discovery counsel for our insurance clients. We know how to handle and oversee pattern and practice litigation to further the client’s goals, enhance efficiency and avoid the pitfalls caused by asserting inconsistent litigation, settlement or discovery positions. We have the geographic presence, technological platform, and smart, experienced trial counsel to provide our insurance clients with real results and exceptional value in the role of national or regional counsel.
  • High stakes commercial disputes: With decades of experience in commercial litigation, from administrative actions to complex multistate matters, Dykema’s trial attorneys bring seasoned professionalism to the courtroom in business and commercial matters. We have litigated matters pertaining to business breakups, contracts, warranties, Uniform Commercial Code issues, real estate and virtually every other type of commercial or business dispute imaginable. Helping our clients stay out of court by preventing or limiting liability is a key element of our approach to business disputes. To support fully our clients and their business needs, Dykema attorneys always explore with clients the risks and benefits of all available strategies, such as creative alternative dispute resolution methods, mediation, arbitration and/or settlement. We have also handled professional licensing matters, corporate litigation and white collar criminal defense.

Experience Matters

  • Represented a self-insured intergovernmental property and casualty risk cooperative in an action brought by one of its members in a case that turned on Illinois’ “selective tender rule,” which permits an insured with multiple insurers on the same risk to tender defense to just one of its insurers. Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court held the doctrine did not apply in our case—ruling in our client’s favor.
  • Represented a large insurer in a dispute relating to coverage for nationwide asbestos litigation, which spanned several policy years and both general liability and umbrella excess coverages. On summary judgment, the court ruled the insurer had no duty to defend.
  • Obtained Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmance of the district court’s grant of summary judgment in our insurance company client’s favor holding no duty to defend the insured in MDL litigation relating to Bisphenol-A laced baby bottles, which turned on whether the phrase “because of bodily injury” triggered a duty to defend where the class actions only generally alleged that exposure to BPA was harmful to human health.
  • Successfully prosecuted a declaratory judgment action in which the court declared there was no coverage under a condominium association policy for a lawsuit alleging breach of the association by-laws by an association board member.
  • Represented insurance companies in a number of Telephone Consumer Protection Act class actions and related declaratory actions.
  • Served as Midwest Regional Counsel (14 state area) for a large national provider and administrator of ERISA health and welfare benefit plans.
  • Represented ERISA benefits trusts in recovery against their aggregate excess insurers.
  • Litigated disputes regarding multiple class action settlement agreements that purport to limit the ability of a major manufacturing firm to alter the terms of health care benefits offered to retirees.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in its efforts to avoid claims relating to improper enrollment of retirees under a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Represented Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and plan administrators in regulatory actions by state insurance departments.
  • Defending a major consumer bank in a putative class action alleging violation of fiduciary duties relating to available investments.
  • Represented a major carrier and nationwide reporting agency in litigation arising out of alleged decades-long underreporting of workers compensation premiums in consolidated litigation, including a class action.
  • Defeated a motion for class certification and obtained dismissal of a case in which plaintiff alleged that our insurance company client’s policies on reimbursement for diabetic supplies violated the Michigan Insurance Code.
  • Served as defense counsel in a class action regarding the payment of no-fault insurance benefits.
  • Defeated plaintiff’s claim in the arbitration seeking millions of dollars of unpaid commissions allegedly due from a failed marketing plan involving life insurance policies.
  • Represented a life insurance company in matters alleging fraud in the sale of alleged vanishing premium policies.