William M. Shernoff is the founding partner of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP, a law firm specializing in insurance bad faith litigation. A longtime consumer advocate, Mr. Shernoff has made a career of representing insurance consumers in their cases against insurance companies. In 1979, he persuaded the California Supreme Court to establish new case law that permits plaintiffs to sue insurance companies for bad faith seeking both compensatory and punitive damages when they unreasonably handle a policyholder’s claim (Egan v. Mutual of Omaha).
Often called the “pioneer” of bad faith law, Mr. Shernoff is a nationally recognized authority in the field with more than 35 years of experience representing individual and business insurance consumers. A frequent lecturer and writer, Mr. Shernoff co-authored the legal textbook, “Insurance bad Faith Litigation,” which has become the field’s definitive treatise, as well as “How to Make Insurance Companies Pay Your Claims . . . . And What To Do If They Don’t,” “Payment Refused” and “Fight Back and Win – And How To Make Your HMO Pay Up.” Mr. Shernoff has also been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and on “60 Minutes.” Mr. Shernoff, who maintains offices in Beverly Hills and Claremont California, has authored over 50 articles on insurance issues and is featured in the Rutter Group Seminar entitled “The Shernoff Insurance Bad Faith Seminar.”
Mr. Shernoff is handling lawsuits accusing health insurance carriers of routinely and illegally denying patients’ medical claims on the grounds that such treatments were not medically necessary even when recommended by treating doctors. He is also involved in fighting on behalf of seniors who have suffered financial elder abuse by insurance companies who are denying legitimate insurance claims of seniors.
1974: $5 million punitive damages verdict for a roofer whose disability payments had been cut off (the seminal case that established the bad faith tort against insurers).
1985: $86 million settlement for MGM Grand on insurance case involving hotel fire in Las Vegas hotel.
1995: $86.7 million insurance bad faith verdict (including $57 Million for punitive damages) on behalf of the American-Samoan government against Affiliated FM Insurance Co. involving hurricane damage.
2009: Participated in securing $5 billion settlement of Holocaust Insurance claims.
Verdicts and Settlements
2012: $3.7 million arbitration award to a Kosher food distributor over claims the insurance company illegally refused to pay for damages caused by a fire.
2011: $19 million verdict for paraplegic Marine whose insurance company overruled his treating doctor on the medical necessity of his 109-day hospital stay.
2010: $2 million settlement for a woman who had her health insurance rescinded.
2008: $9 million punitive award to hairdresser who had health policy rescinded.
1997: $5 million insurance bad faith settlement on behalf of Northridge, CA earthquake victims.
1995: $65.75 million insurance settlement for entertainment industry companies in lawsuit over earthquake damage.
1994: $1.5 million bad faith verdict for federal judge over fire loss in his home.
1993: $25 million punitive damages award in insurance fraud case against a carrier that allegedly misrepresented the scope of a health insurance policy and denied benefits to a cancer victim.
1987: $23 million insurance bad faith verdict (including $13 million punitive damages) for the owners of a hotel over the failure of its insurer to settle a personal injury case.
1985: $8 million verdict in a double-indemnity insurance bad faith case involving a disputed life insurance policy provision.
1981: $1 million verdict in punitive damages in an insurance bad faith case involving the disability claims of a truck driver who was denied coverage after being injured when his truck jackknifed.
1981: $50 million insurance settlement for Southern California Physicians group over malpractice insurance program for overcharging on premiums.
1979: $3.7 million settlement over insurance proceeds for stolen jewelry and art.
1976: $4.5 million punitive damages verdict against an insurer who refused to pay a $48 claim for medicine and a hearing test.
Honors and Awards
Top 25 Plaintiff Lawyers in California for 2015, 2016 – Los Angeles Daily Journal
Loyola Law School Champion of Justice, 2014
American Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 Lawyers
Trial Lawyer of the Year – Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association
Trial Lawyers of the Year – Consumer Attorneys of California
Trial Lawyer of the Year – Consumer Attorneys of the Inland Empire
Best Lawyers’ 2014 Riverside Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year”
Super Lawyer – Law & Politics Magazine (2004 – 2017)
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles – Hall of Fame
Consumer Watchdog – Lifetime Achievement Award
Top 100: 2005 Southern California Super Lawyers
Professional Associations and Memberships
American Bar Association
American Association for Justice
Beverly Hills Bar Association (Order of Distinguished Attorneys)
Consumer Attorneys of California – Inland Empire
Consumer Attorneys of California (Former President)
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
Eastern Bar of Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
Areas of Practice
Bad Faith Insurance Law
United States District Court, Central Dist. of California
United States District Court, Southern Dist. of California
United States Court of Appeals
Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the State of California
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, J.D.
University of Miami, B.B.A.
(Managing Partner) (Also at Claremont, Palm Desert and Ontario Offices)