Specializing inInsurance coverage litigation issues

Case Successes

We are very proud of our track record at Barry M. Feldman, PLLC. Our years of experience have paid off for our clients. Some of the successes that we have achieved for our clients are as follows.

Definition of occurrence under policy

In Sigma v AIG, 200 F. Supp. 2d 710 (2002), Barry M. Feldman represented the policy holder in a complicated case. In short, the issue was whether each separate and distinct sale of various securities, bonds, notes, real estate investment trusts, etc, to separate and distinct investors, constituted a single occurrence within the meaning of the policy, thereby entitling the policyholder to an aggregate of $9,000,000 of coverage, or whether each sale was but a continuous stream of a single sale, thereby limiting coverage to the single limit of only $1,000,000. The court found for our client and capped the coverage at $9,000,000. The case settled shortly thereafter for $1,300,000 of policy money to the date of the settlement, plus $4,250,000 of additional settlement proceeds. Had we not been successful, our client would likely have gone out of business. With the insurance settlement, our client was able to successfully defend and settle a number of cases and, most importantly, stay in business.

Prelitigation Investigation pays off

In Riley v Pool Liquidating Management Company, et al, Barry M. Feldman was asked to identify whether there was insurance coverage available to pay for the tragic loss by fire of a 6 family members in the City of Detroit. A thorough and time consuming investigation revealed that there were actually two policies which were applicable, and we made the claim accordingly. The insurers issued detailed and lengthy Reservation of Rights letters. We were retained by the policyholders to remain involved in the litigation, monitoring the defense attorneys, and following the litigation. As a result of our involvement, the insurers ultimately agreed to pay nearly $2,000,000 to settle the underlying death cases, thereby preventing a substantial verdict in excess of the policy limits.

Duty to Defend

In Amaradio v TIG, Home Insurance Company, Lancer Claims Services, the issue was whether the insurers had a duty to pay for the defense of two administrative hearings, one before the State of Michigan Insurance Bureau and the other before the SEC. The insurers’ position was that they had no such duty, as such hearings were not “suits” within the meaning of the policy. Our client was being represented in these separate matters by two different firms, both exceptionally skilled and experienced in these matters. Working closely with them, we effectuated a settlement by which our client was reimbursed for nearly all of the fees and costs he incurred in payment to these two firms for their fine representation and outstanding results -- $700,000.

Duty to Defend and Policy Interpretation

IRC v Western World Insurance Company was a tragic case. The Plaintiff in the underlying case, Mr. Jones, was burned over 90% of his body while using a cutting torch to cut a crane into scrap metal, and died after two days of excruciating pain. The insurer took the position that it had no coverage under the policy. We aggressively litigated an action against the insurer, filed and successfully won two dispositive motions in which the court found that the insurer had breached the duty to defend, and subsequently negotiated a settlement on behalf of our client with one of the premier plaintiff’s firms in the area. The insurer paid its policy limits of $1,000,000. In many regards, it was Mr. Feldman’s relationship with the Plaintiff’s law firm which achieved the settlement. As the Plaintiff’s firm does not do insurance coverage cases, they presently refer their clients in such matters to Barry M. Feldman.

Bad Faith; failure to settle within policy limits

In Parekh v PICOM, the Defendant insurer refused to settle a medical malpractice claim within the policy limits, after the physician-insured had twice demanded it do so. The jury subsequently returned a verdict that was 10 times the amount of the coverage. However, the doctor’s “collectible estate” was more than sufficient to satisfy the verdict. This case involved a claim of bad faith against the insurer. We aggressively litigated this case and fully prepared it for litigation. We retained renowned experts in the area of bad faith litigation as Michigan has very little law to support such claims. We were eventually able to settle the case on very favorable terms to our client. We believe that the key to settling this matter was identifying the weaknesses in PICOM’s case and pointing these out to the head of PICOM. When he saw things our way, the case settled very favorably to our client. To this day, the attorneys for the underlying Plaintiffs, both their primary counsel and collection attorney send their insurance coverage litigation to Mr. Feldman, or consult with him when insurance issues predominate in their other matters.

Bad faith; unreasonable withdrawal of coverage

In Attorney v Insurance Company, the underlying Plaintiff was an aggrieved client of an attorney, and sued on a theory of legal malpractice. The attorney tendered the action to his malpractice carrier which retained counsel to represent him. The attorney defendant, with the aid and knowledge of the insurer-retained counsel, testified at deposition that his error violated the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct and was, in fact, malpractice. The attorney was referred to Barry M. Feldman, who took a hard line with the insurer. In a matter of a few months, the primary case was submitted to court-ordered mediation, at which time the defendant’s insurer paid $350,000 to resolve the claims against the attorney. No lawsuit was brought by the attorney against his insurer; instead, our aggressive approach brought the matter to resolution without the necessity of an additional lawsuit.

Known Loss Doctrine Defense defeated by Barry M. Feldman

DTI of Saginaw, Inc v Zurich was an action to enforce payment under a pollution policy. The Plaintiff’s property was contaminated as a result of a leak from an underground storage tank. The problem was complicated by the fact that there had been a leak some 15 years earlier from a similar tank. The issues centered on whether there had been a new leak in 2005, or whether the contamination found in 2005 was the result of the earlier leak in 1990. Negotiations failed on a Friday in early January, 2008. On the Monday following, we filed an action on behalf of DTI against Zurich. At the behest of extremely competent defense counsel, discovery was ultimately tabled for 60 days or so while their new experts analyzed the data. The case settled for $395,000 – less than 8 months after the action was filed. This case settled due to the relationship that Barry Feldman had long before established with defense counsel. Each was familiar with the other’s experience, tenacity and background. Both had a very good idea of what this case was worth and settled it for that amount. This case highlights the reputation for aggressive and thorough advocacy for his clients that Barry has garnered in Insurance Law. These personal relationships and reputations are often the key to a quick resolution of a matter.

Our ongoing commitment to you

Not all cases are the magnitude noted above. Regardless whether the case is large or small, the issues remain the same, the process follows similar direction, and the results vary. What does not vary, however, is our firm’s understanding, reputation, thoroughness and tenacity we commit to our client’s causes.