Insurance Law

The lawyers of M&C's Insurance Law practice group provide underwriting, coverage, claims handling and risk management advice to insurers and risk managers, and represent insurers and insurance industry defendants in litigation and appeals filed in the State and Federal Courts of California and Nevada.

Our lawyers are experienced in handling issues and litigation that arise under all types of insurance policies for primary, excess and umbrella insurers, the surplus lines market, non-US insurers (including insurers based in the Asian, Europe and the London markets), risk managers, reinsurers and risk management pools.  Examples of the kinds of policies and business on which we regularly provide advice and/or handle litigation include:

  • Commercial General Liability
  • Directors & Officers Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Life, Health & Disability
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • ERISA
  • Financial Institutions
  • Technology
  • Trucking
  • Commercial Auto
  • Garagekeepers
  • Incidental Liability & Occupational Accident Policies
  • Personal Lines
  • First-Party Insurances
  • Marine
  • Fine-Art & Specie
  • Difference in Conditions
  • AgriBusiness
  • Environmental and Toxic Tort
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Policies (OCIP, WRAP, and others)
  • Program Business
  • Other Insurance & Additional Insured Issues

Expert in all areas of insurance, the lawyers of the Insurance Law team collectively and individually possess the expertise and depth of experience necessary to effectively and efficiently provide clients with the highly specialized services demanded by insurance law issues, including:

  • Drafting, Writing and Interpreting Policy Forms, Endorsements & Contracts
  • Providing Coverage Opinions and Drafting Reservation of Rights/Denial Letters
  • Assisting Risk Managers, Underwriters and Claims Departments In Evaluating and/or Implementing Insurance Programs
  • Representing Insurers In Declaratory Relief Lawsuits & Complex Insurance Litigation
  • Defending Insurers Against Bad Faith Claims
  • Defending Brokers & Agents Against Professional Negligence Claims
  • Providing Appellate Representation
  • Negotiating Settlements and Policyholder Releases
  • Providing Claims Handling Advice
  • Representing Insurers in Communications with Independent Counsel
  • Providing Risk Management Advice, Assessments and Audits
  • Handling Corporate and Regulatory Matters
  • Serving as National, Regional, Local and Monitoring Counsel
  • Handling Examinations Under Oath, Appraisals and Fraud Claims
  • Serving as Mediators, Arbitrators, Umpires and Expert Witnesses

The lawyers on M&C's Insurance Law team are known not only for consistently providing reliable and proactive legal advice, but also for providing exceptional client service and creative, solution-focused representation.

Our reputation for excellence in litigated matters is built upon our high rate of success in summary judgment motions, trials and appeals (non-published as well as published), usually involving cutting-edge issues and undeveloped areas of law, coupled with our ability to effectively assess the underlying contractual issues and exposures so as to bring early and successful resolution to disputes.

We are leaders in the defense bar and members of global insurance lawyers group Insuralex; we have chaired various insurance law committees and regularly serve as authors and speakers on insurance topics for national and international legal and insurance industry associations. Simply stated, we are known and respected by not only those in the insurance industry, but also by our peers, policyholder lawyers and judges who know that we know our business – such that our involvement adds credibility to the coverage and legal positions being asserted.

Published Appellate Decisions

  • Monticello Insurance Co. v. Essex Insurance Co. (2008) 162 Cal. App. 4th 1376
  • Essex Insurance Co. v. Five Star Dye House (2006) 38 Cal.4th 1252
  • Century Surety Co. v. Crosby Ins., Inc. (2004) 124 Cal. App. 4th 116
  • Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Essex Insurance Co. (2002) 98 Cal. App. 4th 86
  • Mez v. Pacific National Insurance Company (1999) 76 Cal. App. 4th 856
  • A-H Plating v. American Nat’l Fire Ins. (1997) 57 Cal. App. 4th 427
  • In Re Circuit Breaker Litigation (C.D. Cal. 1997) 984 F. Supp. 1267
  • Hartford Fire Insurance Company v. Irene Macri (1992) 4 Cal. 4th 318
  • Mitchell v. Scott Wetzel Services (1991) 227 Cal. App. 3rd 1474
  • St. Mary Medical Center v. Cristiano (C.D. Cal.  1989) 724 F. Supp. 732

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Diversity

We appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of our attorneys and staff – people whose backgrounds and life experiences are unique in every sense of the word – which diversity we consider to be so engrained in our firm culture as to allow us to naturally bring broad-based, practical and unique perspectives to the legal issues and client service demanded by today's global marketplace.

Several of our attorneys and staff immigrated to the United States – coming from countries on at least four continents – learning not only English in the process but also an appreciation for the American legal system. We grew up and went to school in small towns and big cities; we came to the west from all parts of the United States and many other countries; our backgrounds are from every economic level; we speak many languages and hold a variety of educational degrees and honors; we are single and married; many of us are parents; we range in age from our 20s to our 70s and for some, law is a second career; we have many interests and talents and are accomplished in many ways unrelated to the law. We are women and men, without limitation of opportunity because of gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, heritage or any other thing. Simply stated, individually and collectively, we are unique.

Murchison & Cumming attorneys have served as speakers on various panels addressing diversity in the workplace, including issues such as the challenges and opportunities faced in career development, family friendly work policies in the office, and responding to discrimination in the workplace. Our attorneys have also been leaders in, and are active members of, bar associations and organizations focused on heritage or gender, such as:

·         Armenian Bar Association
·         Asian American Bar Association
·         Hispanic American Bar Association
·         Korean American Bar Association
·         Korean American Chamber of Commerce
·         Mexican American Bar Association
·         German American Bar Association
·         Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
·         Mexican-American Scholarship, University of Southern California
·         South Asian Law Students Association
·         Women Lawyers Association
We encourage and value a culture of diversity and inclusivity, and believe in the benefits that a multicultural law firm like that of Murchison & Cumming provides for our clients, staff and attorneys.