Jeremy C. Berla

Phone415.625.9243

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Experience & Credentials
 

Practice Areas

  • Commercial & Business Litigation
  • Environmental
  • Toxic Tort
  • General Liability & Casualty
  • Product Liability
 
Contact InfoTelephone: 415.625.9243
Fax: 415.434.1370
http://www.wilsonelser.com/attorneys/jeremy_berla
 
University University of California, San Diego, B.A., cum laude, 2006; Moot Court
 
Law SchoolUniversity of California, Davis, School of Law, J.D., 2009; Editor, UC Davis Business Law Journal
 
Admitted2009, California; U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
 
Memberships 

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association
San Francisco Bar Association
DRI

 
BornWalnut Creek, California, 1984
 
Biography

Jeremy Berla came to Wilson Elser from a premiere regional firm in the Bay Area offering a wide spectrum of services. He has significant experience representing clients in the areas of product liability, commercial litigation, complex litigation, environmental and toxic tort defense, construction defect, and personal injury. He has successfully represented clients in both federal and state courts in all phases of civil litigation ranging from initial case analysis to trial. He also has experience representing both defendants and plaintiffs in a wide array of general civil litigation matters.

Jeremy has extensive experience in defending national and international clients of all sizes in the product liability and toxic tort arenas. He is well-versed in all facets of product liability litigation and has defended clients against product liability actions in the consumer, industrial, construction, and transportation settings. Throughout his career, he has represented manufacturers and suppliers of products ranging from automobiles, ATVs, bicycles, power tools, home appliances, and medical devices. He has also handled environmental exposure cases and cases involving food supplements.

Jeremy's experience in the field of commercial and business litigation includes defending his clients in cases alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, fraud, and interference with economic relationships. In these general commercial litigation cases, he has represented manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, contractors, subcontractors, developers, and public entities.

News

Hake Law Attorneys Join National Law Firm Wilson Elser

April 1, 2014

Publications

Food Safety Insurance and the FDAs Forthcoming Rule

Law 360

June 22, 2015

California's Highest Court Refuses to Review Denial of Coverage Under Contamination Products Insurance Policy for Ground Beef Recall

Food Companies Face Hostile Regulatory Environment

May 29, 2015

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court appears to continue a line of decisions regarding potential product contamination rendered at a critical time for a food industry facing an increasingly hostile regulatory environment. Food companies must analyze and understand the potential impact the new regulations will have on their operations and consider the expertise and coverages product contamination policies can provide when a crisis management event strikes.

Connecticut Supreme Court Affirms No Coverage for Lost Tapes Absent Publication of Data

Cyber Coverage: Conn. High Court Confirms No Coverage for Lost Data Absent Publication

May 19, 2015

On May 18, 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed trial and intermediate appellate courts' conclusions that mere loss of data tapes containing employees' social security numbers, birthdates and contact information did not trigger a commercial general liability policy's insuring agreement for personal injury absent publication of the data. In reaching its conclusion, the court reasoned that the policyholder's assignee failed to provide any factual basis that anyone ever accessed the private information stored on the tapes. The ruling is another recent cyber liability coverage decision in which application of policy language to the claim facts is determinative of the courts' conclusions.

Allegations of Purposeful Data Withholding Do Not Trigger Cyber E&O Coverage

Cyber E&O Coverage: No Duty to Defend Purposeful Data Withholding

May 12, 2015

The Utah federal district court recently held that when the claimant's allegations assert the policyholder knowingly withheld data, the insuring agreement of a cyber liability policy that requires any error, omission or negligent act is not triggered. The decision illustrates a potential distinction between a policyholder's intentional conduct versus a hacker's intentional conduct against which the policyholder may have unintentionally failed to protect. Under the Utah federal district court's recent decision, there is not coverage for the first situation, but there may be coverage for the second.

Montana and Wyoming Expand Data Breach Notice Requirements

Montana and Wyoming Expand Data Breach Notice Requirements

April 28, 2015

Generally, a company's duty to notify of a data breach is triggered when personally identifiable information is exposed or lost. It is the definition and scope of that information that leaves responsible parties scratching their heads and looking for answers.

Product Recall Insurance: It's Not Just for Food Contamination Anymore

ABA Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar

March 2015

Colorado Supreme Court: Late Notice Inexcusable under Claims-Made Policies

Colorado Coverage: Notice-Prejudice Rule & Claims-Made Policies

February 23, 2015

Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the Colorado Supreme Court, in a matter of first impression, recently held that Colorado's notice-prejudice rule does not apply to date-certain notice requirements contained in claims-made policies, reasoning that application of the rule would alter the fundamental terms of the agreed-to coverage. In reaching its conclusion, the court distinguished its 10-year-old precedent that applied the rule in the context of occurrence-based policies.

California Appellate Court Finds No Malicious Product Tampering Coverage for Westland's Ground Beef

“Downer” Cow Beef Not Covered by PCI

February 11, 2015

Westland/Hallmark Meat Company's 2008 recall was a watershed event for the nation's food supply chain. The recall was also an early test for the modern version of product contamination insurance (PCI). As this early chapter of modern PCI history appears to be closing, a California Appellate Court has provided underwriters, brokers and claim professionals with food for thought regarding wordings, the extent of coverage and companies' positions in the supply chain.

North Korea's Attack Raises Critical Coverage Issues and TRIA Implications

Cyber Alert: FBI's Determination May Negate Coverage for Sony's Losses

December 23, 2014

While cyber espionage, crimeware, and other types of cyber attacks and theft are nothing new, even for Sony, the FBI's determination that North Korea was behind the recent devastating attack raises critical alarms. The attack did not merely harm Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPEs) intellectual property and data; it was intended to and did cause physical harm to its network and operations. North Korea literally planted and detonated a bomb within SPE's systems. The implications for businesses, brokers and insurers are significant and raise additional concerns about Congress's failure to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.

Data Security, Cyber Liability and First-party Costs for Mid Cap and Small Companies Are Reaching Catastrophic Levels

Cyber Alert: Insurance Perspective on 2015 Cyber Warnings

December 15, 2014

The critical trend of data security breaches and cyber liabilities significantly harming mid cap and small businesses will continue to increase through 2015. Small companies need to recognize that they have as much, if not more, risk of suffering losses and attacks with greater frequency and severity than their bigger competitors. In fact, smaller companies are at greater risk because they do not have the same depth of resources as their larger competitors. Brokers and insurers can assist these companies in preparing for, protecting against and surviving an eventual and potentially catastrophic cyber crisis event.

Tenth Circuit: Property Damage Surrounding Defective Windows Is an “Occurrence” Because Damage Is Unexpected from Insured's Perspective

Tenth Circuit: Property Damage Surrounding Defective Windows Is an “Occurrence” Because Damage Is Unexpected from Insured's Perspective

December 10, 2014

The Tenth Circuit recently found that under Utah law, the proper standard for determining whether an “occurrence” has taken place is expectation from the insured's perspective, not foreseeability. In reaching its decision, the Tenth Circuit distinguished its own and previous Utah authority that had held that the natural results of an insured's negligent or unworkmanlike construction did not constitute an occurrence. The court also held that another state's statutory notice of construction defects process did not constitute a “suit” triggering an insurer's duty to defend under a general liability policy. This conclusion is somewhat surprising, as it is contrary to other western states' interpretation of similar statutory provisions.

Cyber Voluntary Payment Defense Thwarted by Bank Fraud Regulation

Coverage Issues Raised By Cyber Crisis Events

October 9, 2014

As companies, brokers and insurers continue to develop a better understanding of the risks and exposures involved with data breaches, standard insurance portfolios must be reviewed and developed to provide proper protection in the face of state laws and other outside influences.

FDA Outbreak Response Is Not a Constitutional Taking

Can A Food Company Be Compensated By The FDA for a Recall?

October 1, 2014

While governmental regulatory actions can have significant financial impact on the marketplace, in the instance of a governmental product advisory, a standard insurance portfolio of general liability and property policies offers no protection. Companies should consider governmental recall and adverse publicity coverages that are contained in product contamination and product recall policies to protect their bottom line.

Long-Awaited Colorado Court of Appeals Stresscon Decision a Mixed Bag

Colorado's Stresscon Decision Likely Not the Last Word

September 24, 2013

A recent decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals may now require insurers to prove prejudice in order to deny coverage of a settlement negotiated without their knowledge or consent. However, the decision may also restrict insureds' potential recovery of statutorily imposed double damages for unreasonable delay or denial because the court interpreted “other insurance” clauses to limit such damages.

Lives and Businesses Interrupted by Rocky Mountain Floods

Rocky Mountain Floods: Is There Coverage and Will It Be Enough?

September 19, 2013

The Rocky Mountain floods raise a host of anti-concurrent cause issues. If there is no flood coverage or the water damage is excluded, what about potential resulting damage, such as earth movement, structural damage or mold? Colorado courts, for example, have historically enforced anti-concurrent cause language, but the severity of the damages may trigger legislative action overruling such decisions. Indeed, following the Superstorm Sandy losses, New York passed legislation limiting the application of anti-concurrent cause language so as to maximize coverage. The Colorado, New Mexico and Utah state legislatures all passed legislation of some kind in reaction to the considerable forest fire losses sustained in 2012, so it is feasible these states may react in kind to the 2013 flood losses.

Effectively Managing a Food Safety Product Recall

Litigation Management

June 2013

Colorado Joins States That Exclude Insurance Coverage under Pollution Exclusion Clauses for Traditional and Nontraditional Pollution Events

Colorado Upholds Broad Nature of Pollution Exclusion Clauses

March 5, 2013

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the absolute pollution exclusion bars coverage and respondents could not garnish the policy. The Court, after considering a La Junta city ordinance that prohibits discharge of “pollutants” such as garbage and waste into the sewer system, held that the “discharge of cooking grease amounted to a discharge of a pollutant.”

Bermudez Co-Authors Article on Food Safety and the Global Marketplace

Litigation Management

December 15, 2012

FDA Exercises Its Suspension Authority Pursuant to the Food Safety Modernization Act

Food Safety Modernization Act

December 3, 2012

Companies involved in a food safety crisis need to properly prepare to respond to extremely short deadlines and the FDA's information demands by acquiring a product contamination policy that includes crisis management entitlements and consultant costs.

Sandy's Supply Chain Disruptions

Sandy's Implications for the Supply Chain

November 8, 2012

While all agree that Superstorm Sandy dealt businesses in the Northeast a serious blow, the silver lining is that many companies will review their supply chain disruption contingencies and invest in the appropriate insurance so that losses can be contained in the future.

Sandy's Perilous Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy

November 1, 2012

As businesses and families that were caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy begin to survey the damage, insurers are feeling the first surge of many claims to come. Now's the time to confer with Wilson Elser's knowledgeable and adept insurance attorneys to be certain you've got all contingencies covered.

This is the first in a series of alerts designed to provide you with clarity and understanding of the important and significant issues raised by this unprecedented crisis.

U.S. District Court Agrees with Insurer's Interpretation of Accidental Product Contamination and Grants Summary Judgment on All Counts

October 2011

On September 22, 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division determined that no coverage existed under an accidental product contamination policy where the products were never actually contaminated with harmful bacteria.

California Court of Appeal Reverses Judgment on the Basis of Inconsistency with “Plain Language” in Insurance Policy

September 2011

Appellate decisions, such as the one issued recently by California's Sixth District Court of Appeal in Fresh Express Incorporated v. Beazley Syndicate, can provide important insight to the insurance industry for developing and refining coverage forms. In this case, an E. coli outbreak was determined not to be an “accidental contamination” as defined by the policy at issue, and therefore not an “insured event.”

Additional Publications

“A New Era in Food Safety: Predict and Prepare in Today's Global Marketplace,” Litigation Management, Co-author, Winter 2012“A Retrospective of 2010 Product Recall and Food Contamination Coverage Decisions,” Mealey's Personal Injury Report, Co-Author, January 10, 2011
“A Retrospective of 2009 Food Contamination and Product Recall Coverage Decisions: More Recalls, More Disputes, The Crisis Management Trend Continues,” Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, Co-Author, February, 2010
“A Retrospective of 2008 Food Contamination Coverage Decisions,” Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, Co-Author, March, 2009
“Spoiled Rotten: Courts Are Split on Coverage for Contamination Foods and Products,” The Insurance Coverage Law Bulletin, February, 2009
“Recipe for Disaster,” Bests Review, July 1, 2008
“Global Losses from Tomatoes Likely Pricey,” Best Week, June 16, 2008
“Last Word: Food-borne ills pose sky-high peril,” Industry Focus, May 12, 2008
“A Retrospective of 2007 Food Contamination Coverage Decisions,” Mealeys Product Liability & Risk, February 14, 2008
“Of Mad Cows and Litigators,” Bests Review, November 1, 2007

 
Reported CasesRepresentative Matters: Served as second-chair attorney in product liability jury trial and obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of defendant supplier four weeks into trial. Lead associate in a three-week jury trial and obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an ATV manufacturer in this product liability matter. Lead associate in a two-week bench trial and obtained a multi-million dollar judgment on behalf of beneficiaries under a testamentary trust.
 
ISLN920922260
 
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Office Information

Jeremy C. Berla

525 Market Street, 17th Floor
San FranciscoCA 94105-2725




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