Don Sullivan has a national practice counseling and defending clients in litigation, arbitration and compliance matters arising from group and individual life, health, disability and long-term care insurance policies, as well as from self-funded ERISA pension and welfare benefit plans. Don has a track record of success in securing summary judgment for his clients, which include insurance carriers, employers, managed health care organizations, benefit plan sponsors and third-party administrators. He has appeared in the courts of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Montana, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Alabama. He also has arbitrated nearly 100 disputes to decision.
Issues Don has addressed on behalf of his clients include breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith, medical necessity of treatments and appropriate levels of care, application of managed care contracts with providers, and miscalculation of benefits and provider reimbursement rates. He has extensive experience handling single-plaintiff and class action claims brought under ERISA and regularly defends individual insurance policies in bad faith and breach of contract cases seeking punitive damages. Integral to Don’s practice are the privacy protections afforded to individuals under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Drawing on his HIPAA training and experience, a significant and growing portion of Don’s practice is dedicated to helping companies of all types and size respond to breaches of their data privacy and security. Don counsels these companies regarding their obligations under the patchwork of regulatory requirements that presently exists, assists them in satisfying their notice obligations, and represents them before the administrative agencies that many states have created in response to an increase in cyber threats.
Don began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Everett A. Martin, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Virginia.
Pro Bono Activities
For the past several years, Don has provided pro bono employment counseling to the Center for Justice and Accountability, which prosecutes dictators for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations and human rights abuses.
Awards & Distinctions
Co-Chair, ERISA Welfare Benefit Plan Subcommittee, Employee Benefits Committee, American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section
Co-Chair, ERISA Preemption Subcommittee, Employee Benefits Committee, American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section (2007-2010)
Member, Civil Practice and Procedure Subcommittee, Employee Benefits Committee, American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section (2000-2007)
Member, Programs Committee, Western Pension Benefits Conference, San Francisco Chapter (2007-2009)
Case Reporter, California Labor & Employee Bulletin (2007-present)
The Honorable Everett A. Martin, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, 1996-1997
California Amends Law to Expand Businesses’ Obligations in the Wake of a Data Breach
Amendment to California’s Privacy and Breach Law
December 9, 2014
On January 1, 2015, an amendment to California’s privacy and breach law goes into effect that may have a significant impact on the way entities respond to data breaches. In advance of the law’s effective date, in addition to evaluating their information security protocols and policies, entities that possess the personal information of California residents should review their insurance policies, first to make sure they have cyber insurance that provides data breach coverage, and second to determine if their policies will cover the potentially significant cost associated with notification and identity protection or mitigation services.
Editor and Contributor, Employee Benefits Law treatise and annual supplement, American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee, 2000-present.
ERISA Case Reporter, California Labor & Employment Bulletin, 2007-present.