Carleton is the Co-Chair of the Fidelity and Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Practice Groups. Carleton’s practice includes fidelity and other specialty lines insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, banking and bank operations litigation, construction and surety litigation, ERISA benefits litigation, business and title litigation, and intellectual property litigation. He also represents employers in employment matters. He has published extensively in the areas of fidelity insurance and insurance litigation.

Carleton has handled complex insurance claims and litigation, including class actions, in California and Nevada in state and federal courts for those states.

Carleton’s work as a neutral has included numerous successful mediations in a variety of cases. He has substantial formal training in the field, including professional education course work through the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law.

Outside the office, Carleton spends his time hiking, biking and fishing with his wife and generally doing what she tells him to do as she is the brains in the outfit.

Other Languages

  • Spanish
  • Japanese


  • University of California, Hastings
    • J.D., 1987
  • Colorado College
    • B.A., 1984

Admissions & Associations

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada

Professional Associations

  • California Bar Association
  • Nevada State Bar Association
  • Clark County Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • InterPacific Bar Association
  • California Mortgage Bankers Association
  • American Bar Association
    • Fidelity & Surety Law Committee
  • Professionals/Liability Insurance Committee

Speaking & Publications

Published Works

  • Fidelity Law Association, Common Issues under Articles 3, 4 and 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code, Chicago, 2016
  • Co-Editor, Annotated Commercial Crime Insurance Policy, 3d. ed., American Bar Association (2015)
  • Co-Author, Chapter 2, Loss and Causation, Annotated Commercial Crime Insurance Policy, 3d. ed., American Bar Association (2015)
  • Co-Contributor to New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition, Volume 10, Financial Institution Bond, Insuring Agreement (E) – Securities, Chapter 16, with Gary J. Valeriano, and Mark J. Krone
  • American Bar Association, TTIPS Journal, Fidelity & Surety Update, Multiple Years
  • The ABC’s of Insuring Agreement (D) under the Financial Institution Bond, with David DiBiase and David Billings, The Fidelity Law Journal, Volume XVII, 2d ed., December, 2011
  • The Impact of an Insured’s Bankruptcy on Fidelity Claims and Litigation, presented on November 5, 2010 in Boston, MA and published in Profiles in Green, a Study of Common Fidelity Loss Scenarios, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practices Section, 2010
  • The Inventory and Profit and Loss Computation Exclusion – Practical Approaches to Issues Relating to the Exclusion, with D.M. Studler & Amy White, The Fidelity Law Journal, Volume XV, October, 2009
  • Annotated Commercial Crime Policy 2d Ed. Chapter 2 Loss and Causation, with David DiBiase, Contributor to Kain, Glovach, eds., ABA Publishing, 2006
  • Institutions Must Be Ready for Financial Elder Abuse Litigation, California Mortgage Finance News, Summer, 2006
  • A Year or So of Causation Analysis in Less than 2000 Words with David DiBiase, IADC Newsletter, October 2005
  • The Interpretation of a Direct Loss Under Fidelity Bonds with Gary Valeriano, The Brief, Summer, Vol. 33 No. 4, 2004
  • Direct Means Direct, The Practical Impact of Vons Companies, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company, Fidelity & Surety Law Newsletter, Winter, 2002
  • The Lessons of Lustig, Liability Under The Civil False Claims Act, The Brief, Fall, Vol. 30, No. 1, p. 43, 2000
  • Author, Chapter 6, Handling Forgery Claims Under Commercial Crime and Financial Institution Coverages, Handling Fidelity Bond Claims, 3d. ed., American Bar Association 
  • Co Author, Common Issues for Financial Institutions and Fidelity Insurers Under Articles 3, 4 and 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code, With Mark Krone, The Fidelity Law Journal, Volume XXII, (2016)

Speeches and Presentations

  • 2019 Eastern Bond Claims Review, Chatham New Jersey, May 2019; presented on recent developments in Computer Crime Coverage claims and case law.
  • Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Law Committee, Mid-Winter Meeting, January, 2015, New York, NY, “Is This What I Meant? Strategies for Providing/Disproving Intent on Manuscripted/Heavily Endorsed Forms”
  • American Bar Association, The Fidelity and Surety Law Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, January, 2014, New York, NY, “Statutory Public Official Bonds, Do they Still Mean What They Say?”
  • Presenter, Current Trends in Electronic Funds and Computer Crime Losses, presented with Dominique Sena-Di Donato and Robert Grennan, Eastern Bond Claims Review, May, 2013, Chatham, New Jersey
  • American Bar Association, The Fidelity and Surety Law Committee Fall Meeting, November, 2013, Boston, MA, Insuring Agreement (E) in Twelve Easy Questions
  • Presenter, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other Collection Torts in Bankruptcy, Chief Bankruptcy Judges’ Conference Education Program, November 2009, Santa Barbara, California
  • Moderator, The Nuts & Bolts of Repurchase/Indemnification Litigation presented with Jacqueline Barend, Steven Dailey, Jesse Hernandez, Paul Levin and Vanessa Widener, California Mortgage Bankers Association, 12th Annual Western States Loan Servicing Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, August 5, 2007 – August 7, 2007
  • Who’s Who? An update on the Alter Ego Defense, presented with Carl Grant and Guy Harrison, Tenth Annual Eastern Bond Claims Review, May 21, 2007, Chatham, New Jersey
  • Stacking Limits on Fidelity Claims, The Exception or the Norm?, 2002 ABA Mid-Winter Meeting, Tort & Insurance Practice Section with David DiBiase
  • Forgery Claims Against Stockbrokers and the UCC, Eastern Bond Claims Association – May, 2002
  • Direct Loss Under Common Fidelity Coverages — “Direct Means Direct”, 1999 Meeting of the ABA, Tort & Insurance Practice Section
  • The Use and Abuse of Evidentiary and Other Sanctions in Fidelity Litigation in Federal Court, Surety Claims Institute, June 1998 with Lisa Coplen
  • Third Party Losses, A Causational Approach to Resolving Claims on Fidelity Bonds and Other Common Crime Coverages Based Upon Losses to an Insured Arising Out of Claims Against the Insured by Third Parties, June 1997 Surety Claims Institute, with Joseph J. Brenstrom
  • Only The Hits! 20 Top Cases Relating to Fidelity and Crime Insurance, June 1997 Surety Claims Institute, with David T. DiBiase
  • Fidelity Claims and Bankruptcy, June 1995 Surety Claims Institute, with Gary J. Valeriano


  • Obtained grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant credit union in Federal Court in Nevada, affirmed on appeal, on claims of racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.
  • Obtained grant of summary judgment in favor of insurers on a claim for reimbursement under a Directors and Officers liability insurance policy for alleged wage and hour violations.
  • Obtained grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant credit union in Nevada, affirmed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit, on quiet title and slander of title claims.
  • Obtained affirmance of grant of summary judgment in favor of ERISA plan fidelity insurer that the plan’s fidelity bond did not extend coverage to losses caused by a third party with whom the plan invested funds.
  • Successfully defended a fidelity insurer in a class action in Las Vegas arising out of a collapse of a tax deferred exchange company.
  • Obtained grant of summary judgment, affirmed by Ninth Circuit, in favor of fidelity insurer on computer fraud claim and under the policy’s authorized representative exclusion.
  • Obtained grant of summary judgment, affirmed on appeal before the Ninth Circuit, in favor of fidelity insurer holding that employee dishonesty coverage did not provide coverage for insurer’s vicarious liability and that “direct means direct” under such coverage.
  • Successfully defended construction lender in a mechanic’s lien case in bankruptcy court where eight figures worth of mechanic’s liens were asserted.
  • Successfully defended former directors and officers of a failed bank against claims by the FDIC for breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence with respect to the making of loans.
  • Successfully defended an ERISA trust against claims by former trust fiduciary sounding in equitable contribution.
  • Successfully tried an alleged bad faith failure to settle case on behalf of an excess general liability carrier.
  • Successfully defended an ERISA trustee in a class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty by the trustee.
  • The Vons Co. v. Federal Ins. Co. (9th Cir. 2000) 212 F.3d 489, affirming; Vons Cos. v. Federal Ins. Co. (CD CA 1998) 57 F. Supp. 2d 933. Leading case on causation standard for claims under common fidelity coverage. Established the principle that “direct means direct” for purposes of such policies in California.
  • FDIC v. BancInsure, Inc. (CD CA 2014) 99 F. Supp. 3d 1084, rev’d at FDIC v. BancInsure, Inc. (9th Cir. 2017) 675 Fed. Appx. 666. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit enforced the insured vs. insured exclusion of the BancInsure policy to exclude claims by the FDIC as receiver where such exclusion expressly included the term “receiver.”
  • S. Cal. Counseling Ctr. v. Great Am. Ins. Co. (CD CA 2014) 162 F. Supp. 3d 1045, aff’d 667 Fed. Appx. 623. Affirmed application of authorized representative exclusion
  • Tae-Si Kim v. Kearney (9th Cir. 2013) 546 Fed. Appx. 677. Affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of encumbrancer where subsequent purchaser had actual knowledge of unpaid, outstanding deed of trust.
  • FDIC v. Berling (NDCA 2015) 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90046. Affirmed discoverability of certain FDIC reports in case where FDIC alleged breaches of fiduciary duty of bank officers in the making of loans.
  • Southwest Reg’l Council of Carpenters v. McCarron (CD CA 2014) 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185077. Enforced standing Ninth Circuit limits on contribution and equitable indemnity claims in certain cases arising under ERISA.
  • Pac. Bus. Bank v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co. (2002) 2002 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 10481. Affirmed grant of summary judgment pursuant to an exclusion of the plaintiff’s financial institution bond for checks that were not finally paid.
  • Goslins v. Taxe (2017) 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5590. Upheld adequacy of statement of decision issued following a bench trial and thus affirmed results of bench trial.
  • San Paolo U.S. Holding Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. (9th Cir. 2000) 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 3287. Affirmed grant of summary judgment finding that a jury verdict exonerating bank president from claims sounding in fraud or dishonesty precluded a finding of coverage under the Bank’s financial institution bond for losses allegedly caused by dishonesty of the president.

Community Involvement

  • Carleton currently serves on the mediation panel for the United States District Court for the Central District of California

Contact Us

Los Angeles  (213) 688-0080
Las Vegas  (702) 479-1010
Phoenix  (602) 427-5991

Email Us