02.19.2014

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Press Releases

SEATTLE, Wash. (February 19, 2014) - Perkins Coie is pleased to announce that the firm’s Insurance Recovery Group was recognized by Law360 as one of only five nationally ranked law firms to receive the distinction as Insurance Group of the Year. 

According to Law360, “Winners were selected based on the significance of the litigation wins or deals worked on, the size and complexity of the litigation wins or deals worked on, and the number of significant, large or complex deals the group worked on or lawsuits the group won between Nov. 1, 2012, and Nov. 1, 2013.”

Law360’s profile of Perkins Coie notes that the firm “has made a name for itself in insurance law through its representation of utilities and mining companies in high-stakes coverage fights and its pursuit of insurance funds in big-name bankruptcy proceedings, including those of Residential Capital LLC and General Motors.”

Don Friedman, chair of Perkins Coie’s Insurance Recovery Practice, is quoted in the profile saying, “We’re one of the very few major full-service law firms with an insurance practice dedicated exclusively to representing policyholders,” adding, “we can draw on deep expertise in any given substantive area by drawing upon partners who practice in that area. … That does set us apart from firms which are exclusively coverage shops.”

Click here to read the Law360 profile.

Among the winning cases that Law360 said led to the Group of the Year designation were:

  • Tennessee Valley Authority:  Perkins Coie recovered more than $250 million in insurance proceeds from TVA’s insurers for the clean-up costs associated with the 2008 Kingston ash spill, the largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.  Recoveries were obtained through near limits settlements and a win in a London-based arbitration.  The total insurance recovery, likely to be more than $300M when all is said and done, will have a positive impact on electricity rates in the seven southeastern states served by TVA.
  • Residential Capital LLC, Bankruptcy Proceedings:  Perkins Coie represented the Debtors in connection with all insurance coverage issues in the largest Chapter 11 Case of 2012.  Perkins Coie was tasked with: investigating, analyzing, and evaluating the available coverage under more than 175 directors and officers and errors and omissions liability policies.  Work by the Perkins Coie insurance group helped pave the way to a $2.1 billion settlement with Ally Financial Inc. as well as a $400 million settlement with one of ResCap’s largest creditors.   
  • Motors Liquidation Company DIP Lenders Trust:  Perkins Coie represents the Trust against more than 25 insurers in seeking insurance coverage for historical asbestos and environmental liabilities of pre-bankruptcy General Motors in one of the largest coverage actions of record for long tail claims. Perkins won the initial forum battles in Delaware and New York and successfully kept the case in Delaware, the Trust’s preferred forum.  The U.S Treasury Department is the beneficiary of the Trust.  The Trust also obtained a ruling from the Court that the policy language clearly requires treatment of GM’s asbestos product liability claims as arising from a single occurrence under applicable law. 
  • Northwestern Energy:  Perkins Coie represents NorthWestern Energy against Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London in insurance coverage litigation for environmental liabilities and bad faith at numerous sites in an action valued in excess of $100 million.  This past year Perkins defeated London’s motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to its bad faith conduct and the court granted Perkins’ partial summary judgment motion on coverage, ultimately eliminating 25 of the insurer's affirmative defenses and holding that the insurer must demonstrate prejudice for its late notice defense.  When ruling against London’s motion for judgment on the pleadings the Court held that this case is a “rare exception” and that London’s litigation tactics are admissible to prove bad faith.  In addition to the rulings this year, Perkins Coie previously obtained precedent-setting decisions on the issues of trigger of coverage and allocation. 

Perkins Coie’s Insurance Recovery attorneys have a broad range of experience and a record of success in enforcing policyholders’ rights to coverage under almost every type of commercial insurance policy for a wide spectrum of losses and liabilities.  They have negotiated with, and litigated against, every major insurer in the domestic insurance market as well as in the London and Bermuda insurance markets.  The firm’s practice group has extensive experience with various major industry groups and has represented the leading companies in almost every industry, including Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies, as well as public sector policyholders.

Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

Media Inquiries: Please email Terence Gordon, Media & Public Relations Manager.