We provide legal counsel to individuals and business owners who are being treated unfairly by their insurance company. Regardless of the type of dispute, our goal is to provide our clients with all of the benefits that their insurance companies promised.
We represent insurance policy holders in actions against their insurers for breach of contract, bad faith, misrepresentation, reformation and other legal claims. We also represent policyholders on appeal and on a class action basis.
We can also assist you with pre-litigation matters such as claim negotiation, examinations under oath (“EUO”) and appraisals. Indeed, because insurance companies know of our tenacity and willingness to take cases to trial, we are often successful in resolving disputes without litigation.
Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP has successfully litigated against insurance companies on claims arising from:
- Business and Residential Property insurance;
- Comprehensive general liability (“CGL”) insurance;
- Directors & officers liability insurance;
- Errors & omission insurance; and
- Disability & life insurance
We represent clients in California and across the country. We do not charge a fee to evaluate potential cases, and we frequently work with our clients on a contingency fee basis—so we do not charge anything for our services unless we win or reach a settlement.
Some of our notable engagements and pending cases are listed below. Call or email our office to learn more about our insurance coverage practice. You can also review the latest developments in policy holder rights and insurance coverage law on our blog at www.kerrwagstaffeinsurancelaw.com.
Notable Cases in Commercial Policyholders
Pacific Corrugated Pipe v. Hartford Steam & Boiler Company
The firm represented a corrugated pipe manufacturer whose entire facility was lost in a devastating fire. A dispute arose over whether highly specialized replacement manufacturing equipment purchased by the policyholder was of like, kind and quality to what was destroyed in the fire. Kerr & Wagstaffe filed suit against the insurer and obtained a settlement making the insured whole for their replacement purchases.
ROAR Investment Group LLC v. Lexington Insurance Company
The firm successfully resolved a real estate investment group who had a property policy on a multi-million dollar investment. When the property was lost in an explosion, prior owners and lenders on the property sought to recover under the Firm’s client’s insurance policy. The case presented the novel issue of when lenders not in privity with the policyholder may be a loss payee under the current owner’s policy.
Caluz, Inc. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange
The insured had a commercial property policy covering a highly successful San Francisco gourmet restaurant. Following fire and water damage to the building, the insured sought payment for business interruption coverage. Farmers offered the insured only $6,700 for business losses. After months of negotiations, Farmers paid over $1 million.
Electronics for Imaging v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
In a suit arising from a breach of duty to defend, the firm represented Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFI) in a suit against its insurer to recover millions of dollars that EFI had spent defending itself against a third-party’s lawsuit, which alleged intellectual property and antitrust by EFI, as well as misuse of the court system. On that basis, the firm won partial summary judgment holding that the insurer had a duty to defend the entire action against EFI.
Fireman’s Fund v. MBK Insurance Services
The firm successfully obtained a declaration of coverage from the court on behalf of a broker who was seeking defense and indemnity under a Directors & Officers Insurance policy.
Notable Cases in Individual Policyholders
Kirkwood v. California State Automobile Association
We have brought a class action complaint against California State Automobile Association (“CSAA”) for their unfair practice of deducting excessive depreciation from personal property claims. The lawsuit seeks to require CSAA to readjust claims that were underpaid, and prohibit it from engaging in this practice in the future. While the case is ongoing, in a published opinion, the California Court of Appeal has already ruled that the firm’s client properly invoked the court’s jurisdiction to determine whether the manner in which insurer CSAA applies depreciation to its policyholders’ claims violates the Insurance Code. The trial court previously rejected CSAA’s argument that CSAAs insureds are required to seek an appraisal of their claims before asking the court to rule on the legality of CSAA’s adjustment policy. The Court of Appeal affirmed the court’s denial of CSAA’s motion to compel appraisal. Read the Court’s opinion here.
Prudential Servicemembers and Veterans Life Insurance Case
We represent a number of beneficiaries of servicemembers and veterans who are suing The Prudential Insurance Company of America for refusing to pay military life insurance benefits when they are due, and instead using the beneficiaries’ money as its own while paying trivial amounts of interest under a so-called “retained asset account” or “checkbook” scheme. The case is brought as a nationwide class action, which we are pursuing in Massachusetts with several other law firms from around the country. The current complaint alleges that Prudential’s conduct harmed approximately 60,000 people, and that Prudential made over $800 million in “float” by failing to pay the benefits when they were due.
Alexander v. Farmers Insurance Exchange
We are representing individuals and businesses that were underpaid on property damage claims as a result of Farmers wrongful practice of improperly calculating depreciation and wrongfully applying depreciation to items that are not normally repaired or replaced in a structure. The case is brought as a state wide class action and may affect the rights of all Farmers policyholders in California. While the case is ongoing, in a published opinion, the California Court of Appeal has already ruled that the firm’s client properly invoked the court’s jurisdiction to determine whether the manner in which insurer CSAA applies depreciation to its policyholders’ claims violates the Insurance Code. The trial court previously rejected CSAA’s argument that CSAAs insureds are required to seek an appraisal of their claims before asking the court to rule on the legality of CSAA’s adjustment policy. Read the Court’s opinion here [Alexander B239840_OPF ]
Shore v. Farmers Insurance
The firm brought a bad faith action against Farmers on behalf of the widow and two children of an airline pilot who was struck and fatally injured by a drunk driver insured by Farmers. As assignees of the insured, decedent’s widow and children alleged that Farmers failed to provide a conflict free defense, failed to properly and timely investigate the claim against their insured, failed to make reasonable efforts to settle the matter, failed to communicate settlement offers to their insured, and otherwise failed competently to defend their insured’s interests. After successfully opposing a motion for summary judgment filed by Farmers and vigorously litigating the case, the firm obtained a very favorable settlement for its clients before trial.