Brian Del Gatto is the regional managing partner of the Stamford and Hartford, Connecticut offices and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He practices out of the Connecticut and White Plains, NY, offices.
As co-chair of the firm’s Transportation, Cargo and Logistics practice, Brian’s core emphasis is on assisting surface transportation providers or users with all of their legal needs. Brian and his team handle such claims and cases in New York, Connecticut and many other U.S. jurisdictions, including numerous matters relating to the needs of Canadian clients. Brian also has significant experience in product liability and toxic tort matters, as well as general corporate litigation. He has successfully tried many high-exposure cases to favorable outcomes and has a number of reported appellate decisions.
Brian oversees the firm’s 24/7 emergency response team for catastrophic events and is a trusted advisor to many major insurers and self-insureds as their regional counsel or point of contact/alliance counsel for their litigation needs. Clients have come to rely on Brian for an immediate response to all legal issues that arise as well as for practical, creative and sound advice consistent with their unique business structure and philosophy. Understanding that each matter is extraordinarily important - even life changing - to the client, Brian gives them equal attention and strives for a resolution that will have the least impact on the client’s business.
Brian plays a unique role for a number of Canadian insurers and self-insured clients, serving as their relationship/ alliance point of contact with the firm and coordinating all of their matters with other Wilson Elser offices or affiliate counsel as needed. Such matters encompass the full scope of these clients’ legal needs throughout the United States.
Areas of Focus
Transportation, Cargo and Logistics
Brian has experience with the full range of surface transportation matters, including bodily injury, employment, premises liability, contractual, product liability and regulatory matters. He has handled class actions in the transportation area, representing Fortune 500 companies as either national or local counsel. Often Brian is involved in transportation matters that emanate from Canada in his role as national or regional counsel for a number of Canada-based insurer and insured clients.
Brian is actively involved in numerous transportation industry organizations, currently serving as chairperson of the Transportation Lawyer’s Association’s Casualty Litigation Committee and a member of its executive board. He also is a member of The Trucking Industry Defense Association and its Canadian Relations Committee.
As the leader of the firm’s 24/7 emergency response team for catastrophic events, Brian has handled catastrophic transport and products liability claims, mobilizing a variety of experts to an incident scene to immediately preserve evidence and start building an appropriate defense.
Product Liability, Toxic Tort and Construction
Brian has extensive experience in product liability, toxic tort and construction matters. He has tried and reached favorable outcomes in such high-exposure cases in New York, Connecticut and several other states. Many of his cases have involved transportation-related incidents such as fuel and hazardous spills from trucks and trains. Brian also has handled and tried asbestos cases for gasket and insulation companies in both federal and state courts.
Brian handles a wide variety of complex corporate, commercial and general litigation cases on behalf of transportation companies, retailers, product manufacturers, financial institutions/life companies and health care providers in New York, Connecticut and many other jurisdictions. Brian and his team represent these clients in employment disputes, premises liability, contractual disputes, regulatory and other matters.
National Transportation Safety Board Provides Tractor Trailer Safety Recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NTSB’s Safety Recommendations on Tractor Trailer Safety
May 14, 2014
On April 3, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board provided seven safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration addressing tractor trailer safety. The recommendations comprise four general topics: mitigation of blind spots, protection against injuries from passenger vehicles sliding under the container of a tractor trailer, protection against injuries from passenger vehicles sliding under the rear of a tractor trailer, and improving traffic safety data concerning trailers involved in crashes.
Feeling the Heat in Florida: Could Canadian Insurers Be Exposed to Florida’s Unfriendly Bad Faith Laws?
Could Florida’s Long-arm Statute Reach across Borders?
February 10, 2014
A recent Florida intermediate appeals court decision suggests, by extension, that a Canadian insurer that only insures Canadian residents could be sued for bad faith in Florida for failing to perform certain duties that must be performed in Florida. The discussion focused on personal jurisdiction and Florida’s long-arm statute.
Massachusetts and the Suspension of a Commercial Driver’s License during a Fatality Investigation
Trucking Industry Defense Association Newsletter
Connecticut General Assembly Passes Law Exempting Certain Truck Drivers from Unemployment Insurance Coverage
CT: Certain Truckers Exempted from Unemployment Law
July 11, 2013
Florida Repeals International Driving Permit Requirement and Remains a Top U.S. Destination for International Tourists
Florida Repeals International Driving Permit Requirement
April 3, 2013
The first bill this year to reach Florida Governor Scott’s desk, HB 7059, repeals a law requiring an international driving permit for all foreign drivers visiting Florida. The short-lived requirement burdened Canadians and other foreign visitors with obtaining an IDP in order to legally operate a noncommercial vehicle when visiting Florida.
Cell Phones, Commercial Motor Vehicles and Connecticut
DRI Publishes Article by Wilson Elser Transportation Team
June 12, 2012
The Defense Research Institute (DRI) has published an article entitled, “Federal Ban on Hand-Held Mobile Telephone Use: Implications for Commercial Motor Vehicles,” co-authored by Brian Del Gatto, Rebecca Alcantar and Lauren Woods, in its May 30, 2012 issue of The Voice.
Connecticut Law Tribune Publishes Article on Bad Faith Claims by Del Gatto, Niederer and Reich
April 2, 2012
On February 13, 2012, the Connecticut Law Tribune published an article entitled, “Avoiding Claim of Procedural Bad Faith: What carriers need to know during review and determination process,” by Brian Del Gatto, Eric Niederer and Samuel Reich.
For The Defense Publishes Trucking Article by Del Gatto and Paridis
January 25, 2012 For The Defense publishes trucking article by Del Gatto and Paridis in its December 2011 issue.
Connecticut Superior Court Holds that the Possibility of a Malpractice Claim Is Sufficient to Disclaim Coverage under a “Claims-Made” Policy
December 13, 2011
Claims-made policies are generally written to eliminate coverage for claims arising out of negligent acts or omissions known to the insured prior to policy inception, notwithstanding that the claim is made during the policy period. A Connecticut Superior Court recently held that an insurer properly denied coverage where an insured did not disclose his failure to file suit within the statute of limitations, even though the former client had stated that she would not be pursuing a malpractice claim.
Connecticut Supreme Court upholds Graves Amendment in cases where a lessor leases an uninsured motor vehicle
In Rodriguez v. Testa (SC 18389), the Connecticut Supreme Court decided whether 49 U.S.C. 30106, also known as the Graves Amendment, preempted state law imposing vicarious liability on the lessor of an uninsured motor vehicle for damages caused by the negligent acts of the lessee or the agent thereof.
U.S. Supreme Court finds that COGSA governs liability of U.S. inland carriers transporting cargo under a through bill of lading issued by an ocean carrier
June 2010 On June 21, 2010, the United States Supreme Court, three months following oral argument, issued its decision in the case of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd et al. v. Regal Beloit Corp. (Regal Beloit). This is a seminal decision to the transportation industry, overruling a line of cases from the Second and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals that had imposed the Carmack Amendment higher liability regime upon motor and rail carriers for cargo damaged during the inland portion of shipments originating overseas, regardless of whether the shipment was being transported on a through bill of lading issued by the ocean carrier and was therefore arguably governed by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA).
Connecticut extends the limited duty rule to owners of hockey arenas
April 2010 In Verneris v. Wang, Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Docket No. CV 07-5014070 (March 19, 2010, Keegan J.) a plaintiff brought suit against the Connecticut Islanders, LLC after being struck in the face by a hockey puck while attending a professional hockey match between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The plaintiff alleged that the Connecticut Islanders, LLC, as owners of the venue where the match took place, were negligent in failing to provide adequate protections for fans from the dangers of flying pucks.
Connecticut Legislature approves pre-suit policy disclosures
The Connecticut Legislature recently enacted an act requiring disclosure of automobile liability insurance policy limits prior to the filing of a claim. Public Act 09-240, effective October 1, 2009 and applicable to all claims arising on or after that date, requires an automobile liability insurer to disclose the limits applicable under a policy it issued within 30 days after receiving a written request for disclosure.
Mexico imposes retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods in response to suspension of NAFTA trucking program
The Mexican government recently imposed import tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. goods after the United States suspended a program allowing Mexican trucks to deliver goods across the border. When the U.S. closed the southern border to Mexican trucking in March, Mexico promised to retaliate. Mexico has released a list of 89 U.S. products that will face tariffs of 10 percent to 45 percent.
“Post Accident Police Investigations,” Defense Research Institute, For the Defense, December 2011.
“Is There Ever a Legally Sufficient Sudden Emergency,” The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 12, No. 5, April 2011.
“The Boomerang Effect of Traffic Citations,” Defense Research Institute, For the Defense, February 2010.
“Intentional Spoliation of Evidence Claims,” The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 10, No. 3, December 2008.
“The Prestige: Retaining Control over Surveillance Magic,” The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 9, No. 5, April 2008.
“Forum Selection Clauses: A Blessing or a Curse?,” ABA, Tort, Trial and Insurance Committee News, Summer 2007.
Punitive Damages in Commercial Transportation (CT section), ABA Tort and Insurance Section, February 2007.
“Federal Court Removal: A Sword and a Shield in Defense Litigation,” The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 7, No. 5, April 2006.
“Differing Interpretations of the Hague Conventions Provisions,” The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 6 No. 5, April 2005.
“Overview of AIDS Phobia Claims,” Association of Healthcare Risk Management News, Spring 2004.
“Black Mold Suits an Uncertain Future,” New York State Bar Association Journal, Vol. 74, No. 5, June 2002.
“Litigating AIDS Phobia Claims,” New YorkLaw Journal, December 6, 2000.
Canadian Insurers Burnt by Florida Bad Faith Laws
March 7, 2014
National Law Firm Wilson Elser Opens Hartford Office - Second in Connecticut and 25th Nationwide
January 6, 2014
Brian Del Gatto Earns Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating
November 21 2013
Connecticut Law Tribune Features Wilson Elser in AmLaw 200 Review
June 24, 2013
Del Gatto, Burd and Sisca Prevail in Dismissal of Coverage Case Important to Canadian Insurers
December 14, 2012
Del Gatto and Shapiro Win Motion to Dismiss in Cargo Damage Case with Far-reaching Implications to Transportation Carriers
November 9, 2012
Brian Del Gatto Quoted in Connecticut Law Tribune Article on Law Firm Growth In Connecticut
July 17, 2012 Brian Del Gatto was quoted in the Connecticut Law Tribune article, “National Firms Experience In-State Growth Spurt.” The article is part of the Tribune’s annual review of the AmLaw 200 firms located in Connecticut.
Brian Del Gatto Awarded Transportation Lawyers Association Distinguished Service Award
May 24, 2012 Stamford, Conn. (May 24, 2012) - National law firm Wilson Elser is pleased to announce that Brian Del Gatto, regional managing partner of the Connecticut office and a member of the firm’s executive committee, recently received the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA) Distinguished Service Award, one of the organization’s most coveted and prestigious honors.
Wilson Elser’s Connecticut Office to Star in New Hollywood Movie
September 9, 2011
Wilson Elser’s Connecticut office, located in the heart of downtown Stamford, will star in the movie, “Great Hope Springs,” starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carrell.
Stuart Miller Named Member of Trucking Industry Defense Association
July 13, 2011 Stuart A. Miller was invited to join the Trucking Industry Defense Association, an exclusive organization that requires a lengthy, in-depth nomination process for membership consideration.
Del Gatto, Tobin and Kahn to Participate in TLA Annual Conference in Las Vegas
March 28, 2011
Brian Del Gatto, Thomas W. Tobin and David S. Kahn are scheduled to speak at the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA) Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., May 10-14, 2011.
Brian Del Gatto, Event Co-Chair, to Moderate Panel at Inaugural Trucking Litigation Conference
March 21, 2011 Brian Del Gatto will co-chair of the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) inaugural Trucking Litigation Conference.
Los Angeles and Connecticut attorneys secure summary judgment of product liability lawsuit arising out of house fire
November 19, 2010
Connecticut team of Del Gatto and Shapiro gives presentations to Canadian insurance companies
May 18, 2010 Brian Del Gatto (Managing Partner-Connecticut) and Beata Shapiro (Associate-Connecticut) will be giving presentations in Canada to two major insurance companies. They will speak to the insurance companies’ underwriters and claims staff on United States tort concepts and trends.
Awards & Distinctions
Transportation Lawyers Association, Distinguished Service Award, 2012
AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Selected for inclusion in Connecticut Super Lawyers , 2007, 2013
Selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers , 2014
Outside Counsel: Best Practices and Creating Meaningful Relationships
September 23, 2014
Insurance Company Event
Corporate Counsel, Risk Manager, Safety and Claims Professional Roundtable: A Unique Opportunity for Outside Counsel to Get an Inside Look Into Litigation Management, Cost Control Initiatives, Defense Strategies, and More
March 31, 2014
American Conference Institute - 4th National Forum on Defending and Managing Trucking Litigation
How Corporate Structures in Transportation Conglomerates Are Affected by Piercing the Corporate Veil Issues
January 27-28, 2014
2014 TIDA Advanced Seminar: Practical Tips for Trucking Operations in a World of Expanding Liability and Technology
Transportation Update and Crisis Management: Are You Prepared?
October 17, 2013
Ontario Trucking Association
Truck and Auto Collisions in No-Fault Jurisdictions
September 19, 2013
2013 CTLA Annual Conference
Corporate Counsel, Risk Manager, Safety and Claims Professional Roundtable: A Unique Opportunity for Outside Counsel to Get an Inside Look Into Litigation Management, Cost Control Initiatives, Selecting and Retaining Law Firms and More
November 29-30, 2012
ACI’s 3rd National Forum on Defending and Managing Trucking Litigation
U.S. Litigation - Procedural & Substantive Legal Issues
October 1-2, 2012
Canadian Insurance Company Presentations
Del Gatto to Present to Canadian Insurance Company on “U.S. Tort Concepts and Keys for Canadian Adjusters”
June 22, 2012
ACI Trucking Litigation Conference Co-Chair Brian Del Gatto Scheduled to Speak at Event
November 15, 2011
Brian Del Gatto to Speak at 2011 CTLA Annual Conference
September 16, 2011
Brian Del Gatto Featured Keynote Speaker at Toronto Fraud Forum
September 12, 2011
“Food Fraud and Other Fraud Oddities,” TorontoFraud Forum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 2011.
“E-discovery U.S. and Canadian Trends,” Canadian Transport Lawyers meeting, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, September 2011.
“Rolling the Dice in Vegas: A Judicial Perspective,” Transportation Lawyers Association annual meeting, Las Vegas, NV, June 2011 (event co-chair).
“Inside the Minds of In-House Counsel,” American Conference Institute, Trucking Litigation Seminar, Chicago, IL, April 2011 (event co-chair).
“Mediating the Catastrophic Multi Party Transportation Case,” Transportation Lawyers Association annual meeting, San Diego, CA, May 2009.
“Reconstruction and Biomechanics: The Natural Intersection,” Transportation Law Institute/Denver School of Law, New Orleans, LA, November 2008.
“Hot Topics and U.S. Trends in Transportation Law,” Kingsway General Insurance Company transportation summits, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, 2005, 2006, 2007.
“Handling the Transportation Case: A Checklist for Success,” Transportation Lawyers Association annual meeting, San Antonio, TX, June 2007.
“Ethics and Behavior in a Legal Context Dealing with the Court and Others,” Canadian Transport Lawyers annual meeting, Toronto, Ontario Canada, September 2006. (Also at Stamford, Connecticut Office)