Ken is the Co-Chair of the Fidelity and Professional Liability Practice Groups. Ken has over 25 years of experience acting as trial counsel in state and federal court actions and appellate counsel in the California Court of Appeal and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Watnick serves as coverage and litigation counsel for insurance companies in disputes relating to fidelity bonds, crime policies, directors and officers liability insurance policies, and property policies. He represents insurance brokers, lawyers, and other professionals in contract and negligence actions. He has represented plaintiffs and defendants in commercial litigation matters, including contract; joint venture and partnership disputes; letter of credit actions; fraud claims; logistics disputes; breach of fiduciary duty actions; and other tort claims.


  • Duke University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina
    • J.D., 1990
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    • B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations, 1987

Admissions & Associations

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association

Speaking & Publications

Published Works

  • Loss and Causation, Annotated Commercial Crime Insurance Policy (American Bar Association 2015)


Ken’s representative experience includes the following:

Insurance Litigation

  • Jury verdict for insurance broker accused of professional negligence and breach of fiduciary in placement of multiple insurance policies for complex real estate organization during 8 separate policy years.
  • Jury verdict for insurer in United States District Court with respect to insured’s employee dishonesty claim under employee dishonesty policy.
  • Summary judgment for D&O Insurer based on misrepresentation defense where insured was seeking reimbursement of over $40 million in compensatory and consequential damages.  EB Holdings v. Illinois National Insurance Company, et al., 2023 WL 2744655 (D. Nev. 2023).
  • Order granting motion to dismiss with prejudice of professional negligence claim against insurance broker relating to insurer’s rescission of insurance policy.  Cornerstone Community Alcohol v. Service American Indemnity Company, et al., 2023 WL 2313221 (E.D. Cal. 2023).
  • Order granting demurrer without leave to amend of causes of action against insurance broker for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with placement of wrap program for construction project.
  • Order granting motion to dismiss with prejudice of claim against insurer for insurance broker’s alleged negligence in procuring policy from insurance company.
  • Summary judgment that there is no computer fraud coverage under a crime policy for the insured issuing wire transfer instructions in  reliance on fraudulent e-mails. Taylor & Lieberman v. Fed. Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4205 (9th Cir. March 9, 2017).
  • Summary judgment that computer fraud claim was barred by authorized representative exclusion in commercial crime policy. S. Cal. Counseling Ctr. v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 162 F.Supp.3d (C.D. Cal. 2014), aff’d 2016 WL 3545350 (9th Cir. 2016)
  • Summary judgment on computer fraud claim relating to fraudulent e-mail scheme.   Aqua Star v. Travelers Cas. & Surety Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88985 (W.D. Wash. 2016).
  • Summary judgment on crime claim where insured did not suffer a direct loss under crime policy.  Taylor and Lieberman v. Fed. Ins. Co., 2015 WL 3824130 (C.D. Cal. 2015).
  • Summary judgment for insurer that computer fraud claim did not involve computer fraud under crime policy.  Pestmaster v. Travelers Cas. & Surety Co., 2014 WL 3844627 (C.D. Cal. 2014) aff’d, in part, 2016 WL 4056068 (9th Cir. 2016).
  • Summary judgment that insured had not suffered an actual or direct loss under a financial institution bond.  Fremont Reorganizing Corp. v. Nat’l Union, 2012 WL 11896340 (C.D. Cal. 2012).
  • Summary judgment that plaintiff did not have standing to assert employee dishonesty claim under financial institution bond.  BNY Midwest Trust Co. v. Nat’l Union, 2006 WL 3783550 (9th Cir. 2006).
  • Summary judgment that employee dishonesty claim was not covered under financial institution bond because insured did not discover claim during policy period and FDIC had impaired subrogation rights of insurer.  FDIC v. Fidelity & Deposit Co., 132 Fed. Appx. 139 (9th Cir. 2005).
  • $25 million subrogation judgment against guarantor on performance and payment bond. American Home Assurance Co. and AIU Insurance Company v. Societe Commerciale Toutelectric, 104 Cal.App.4th 406 (Cal. COA 2002).
  • Appellate reversal of jury verdict in a directors and officers liability insurance coverage dispute.  Am. Med. Int’l v. Nat’l Union, 244 F.3d 715 (9th Cir. 2000).

Commercial and Business Litigation

  • Arbitration award for company owed unpaid royalties under a distribution and license agreement which was affirmed by trial court and Court of Appeal.  Hymanson, Inc. v. Mad Dogg Athletics, 2020 WL 1611967 (2020).
  • Trial judgment in favor of corporation defrauded by former officer and employees.
  • Summary judgment in favor of a testing company accused of fraud, negligence and breach of contract.  Food Safety Net Services v. Eco Safe Systems, USA, Inc., 209 Cal.App.4th 1118 (Cal. COA 2012).
  • Summary judgment for insurance broker accused of professional negligence in procurement of commercial crime policy.
  • Summary judgment for insurance broker accused of professional negligence in procurement of cargo policy.
  • Favorable settlement on behalf of former officer suing internet domain company for breach of contract claim.
  • Favorable settlement on behalf of a site acquisition company suing for monies owed by wireless telecommunication company.

Community Involvement

  • Director of Temple Beth Emet, Burbank, California.


  • Named to the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Southern California Super Lawyers list

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