Don’s practice focuses on coverage and bad faith litigation, and coverage analysis of claims arising out of all types of liability and property policies. He has worked in-house at two major insurance companies and has tried bad faith cases to verdict. He counsels claims professionals at all levels regarding complex claims, large exposures, claims-handling practices and procedures, and litigation management practices. He also provides advice to underwriters drafting manuscript policies and new forms.

Don has been practicing for over 40 years, and analyzes claims and cases arising out of a wide variety of commercial and personal lines policies, including the following: Commercial general liability; First party property (personal lines and commercial); Excess and umbrella (commercial and personal umbrella); Professional liability, including architects and engineers, realtors, insurance brokers, accountants, broadcasters, and publishers; Workers compensation, Coverages A and B; Directors and officers; Entertainment and media liability; Owners, landlords and tenants; Homeowners; and Auto (both liability and property coverages, personal lines, commercial fleet, and inter-modal). Don has also led and participated in a range of seminars and presentations, both for claims professionals and attorneys.

Education

  • Tulane University School of Law
    • J.D., 1981
  • Vanderbilt University
    • B.A., 1976

Admissions & Associations

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1983
  • Admitted but inactive:
    • Louisiana, 1981
    • Alabama, 1982
    • North Carolina, 2005
    • Georgia, 2009

Professional Associations

  • Member, Defense Research Institute

Experience

  • Won summary judgment ruling that client had no duty to defend environmental clean-up because of “sudden and accidental” pollution exclusion.
  • Won summary judgment ruling that professional liability and CGL insurer had no duty to defend or settle underlying action alleging death of temporary worker on loading dock because of worker’s compensation exclusion.
  • Prevailed on appeal with decision that “loss of use” is not “loss of property.”
  • Successfully defended multiple insurers in bad faith cases.
  • Settled transportation insurer for zero contribution to overall settlement with motion for summary judgment pending.
  • Successful defense of insurers in bad faith trials
  • Keating v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., 754 F.Supp. 431 (1990) established that securities fraud committed by Charles A. Keating, Jr. and others did not constitute “unfair competition” as used in the personal injury section of a CGL policy.
  • Collin v. American Empire Insurance Co., 21 Cal.App.4th 785 (1994) established the legal principle that loss of property, such as by theft or conversion, does not constitute “property damage” within the meaning of a CGL policy.
  • Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. v. Superior Court, 65 Cal.App.4th 1205 (1997) established that orders received from an administrative body, in this case the Regional Water Quality Control Board, did not constitute a “suit” under California law.
  • Standun, Inc. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., 62 Cal.App.4th 882 (1998) affirmed a summary judgment ruling that damages arising out of the purposeful, long-term, regular discharge of waste materials by the insured falls within the scope of the “sudden and accidental” pollution exclusion.

Community Involvement

  • Docent at the Gamble House in Pasadena

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