Post & Schell, P.C. has handled insurance coverage questions and coverage litigation for nearly three decades. Our Insurance Law Department is fortunate to have litigation attorneys who have spent their careers representing insurers in coverage disputes and claims for extracontractual damages. We have gained expertise in complex insurance issue cases including pollution claims, toxic exposure claims, bad faith claims, reinsurance disputes, and other coverage disputes under primary and excess liability policies. We provide opinions and counseling on contract interpretations, contract application, and trends in the law.
Bad Faith and Extracontractual Claims
It is an unfortunate fact of life that most modern coverage disputes include at least the threat of bad faith claims. Our attorneys have achieved a recognized expertise in the handling of bad faith claims. Richard McMonigle, one of our principals, is the author of the legal text, Insurance Bad Faith in Pennsylvania (Fifteenth Edition 2015), published by American Law Media. We have handled several of the leading cases involving Pennsylvania’s Bad Faith Statute and have gained expertise as well with the common law development of bad faith in New Jersey. One of our cases established the fact that an insurer's conduct in defending a law suit against it cannot provide the basis for additional bad faith claims. We understand the complexities of bad faith and distribute periodic legal updates on bad faith issues, and we conduct an annual seminar for our insurance clients concerning the legal developments in this ever-changing and difficult area of the law.
Environmental and Toxic Tort Claims
We have represented primary and excess insurers in coverage litigation involving environmental and toxic tort claims for more than twenty years. We concentrate our work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but our practice has been national in scope and impact. We have handled cases that have included multi-million dollar exposures down to more modest claims involving only a single claimant.
Life, Health and Disability Claims/ERISA
Claims under life, health and disability policies in group plans are generally complex. Over half of these claims are litigated in federal court, many under the federal ERISA statute. Within our Insurance Law group, we have several attorneys who specialize in these cases. We have defended life insurance claims involving group eligibility issues, contestability issues and fraud. We handle cases in the investigative stages as well as during discovery and trial. Some of our representative cases led to a holding under ERISA that an attorney claiming total disability was not entitled to benefits under a disability plan in a case that held that a former drug addicted anesthesiologist was not disabled under the definition of total disability in the policy.
Another unfortunate development is that disputes between insurers and reinsurers are now commonplace. We regularly represent insurers and reinsurers in disputes under facultative certificated and reinsurance treaties. We have been involved in every aspect of these disputes, including the drafting of commutation agreements. We handle complicated matters such as the reinsurance disputes which emerged during the Rehabilitation of Mutual Fire, Marine and Inland Insurance Company as well as cases in which failure to provide prompt notice of claims led to disputes.
Commercial and Personal Lines
Our Insurance Law lawyers regularly represent insurers in complex coverage cases involving commercial and personal line policies, including claims under commercial general liability policies, homeowners' claims, construction claims, uninsured/underinsured motorist claims and other coverage disputes under primary and excess liability policies. We provide counseling on contract interpretation and application. We provide opinion letters, denial letters and reservation of rights letters. We also provide advice on policy wording problems for the benefit of underwriters. And, of course, when appropriate, we represent insurers and declaratory judgment and breach of contract suits. Our representative cases have upheld the standard waiver of uninsured motorist benefits and allowed a holding in federal court that general liability policies do not afford coverage for sexual harassment claims.
Bad Faith Managed Care Claims
Managed care organizations are now facing bad faith claims for denial of benefits in the state and federal Courts throughout Pennsylvania. Our Insurance Law lawyers routinely defend these cases. Our recognized expertise in health law, medical professional liability, and the law of good faith claims handling uniquely positions Post & Schell to represent managed care organizations in litigation.