Cox Castle represents corporate policyholders and individuals in the real estate, real estate construction and financial services industries against their insurance companies in the pursuit of coverage. We devote a substantial part of our practice to front-end risk management for those same industries, to enhance our clients’ contracts, operational procedures and project exit strategies. Cox Castle is renowned for recovering insurance proceeds, often achieving full coverage from insurance carriers for many construction-related claims. Our lawyers have extensively analyzed and tested theories of liability and defenses in the indemnification and construction insurance contexts.
Claims Advocacy and Coverage Litigation
Our attorneys collaborate with our clients' corporate counsel, risk managers and insurance brokers to analyze, handle and resolve complex insurance issues. We have assisted some of the country’s largest real estate and financial services companies in resolving their complex insurance disputes and have recovered of dollars in underlying claims and losses.
Our insurance coverage litigators have extensive experience mediating, arbitrating and litigating complex coverage issues for our policyholder clients. Our expertise extends to claims under commercial general liability, umbrella and excess liability, professional liability, builder's risk, pollution liability and property insurance policies, including enforcement of our clients' rights as additional insureds on other parties’ policies.
We have served as litigation counsel in hundreds of insurance claims and litigation matters. We draw on our deep knowledge and experience in contractual risk transfer techniques, including indemnity provisions and contract insurance requirements, our expertise in policy analysis and our relationships in the insurance brokerage community to enhance our clients' opportunities to maximize insurance recoveries.
Real Estate/Construction Risk Management and Insurance Program Analysis
Our comprehensive, integrated approach to managing and insuring risk draws on our extensive transactional and litigation experience representing owners, homebuilders, developers, investors, contractors and lenders in the development, acquisition, disposition and financing of a broad range of real estate product types. We help our clients identify the risks to their operations and implement legal strategies to avoid, minimize, shift, insure or retain those risks.
We counsel our clients on a wide range of operational risk management issues, including construction contract administration; due diligence in connection with acquisition and disposition of land, partially and fully entitled projects and other assets; customer service and warranty programs; entity selection, structuring and dissolution; quality assurance and forensic inspection programs for design and construction; and project documentation.
We typically perform a comparative analysis of the risks of our clients' operations, including completed operations, in the context of the available insurance structures and products. Based on that analysis, we assist in the design of our clients’ insurance strategies, ranging from coverage for specific projects, assets, investments and transactions, to enterprise-wide insurance programs. Our attorneys also analyze and critique proposed insurance policy forms and endorsements considering our comparative risk evaluations, our litigation experience and the real estate product types involved.
Successfully negotiated a settlement for a national homebuilder of complex insurance coverage litigation in U.S. District Court concerning underlying construction defect class action involving over 400 homes, with parallel actions in out-of-state court.
Obtained a favorable settlement for a national REIT under its permanent property insurance policy for a substantial water intrusion loss involving multiple dwelling units and common area in a major mixed-use development.
Obtained a mediated settlement for a bank and its homebuilding subsidiary under multiple CGL and umbrella liability policies in a $350 million reformation and bad faith action arising out of soils and concrete conditions in several hundred homes.
Prevailed on a motion for partial summary judgment for a national public homebuilder. The court ruled that Chinese drywall losses in over 200 homes constituted a single occurrence under a contractors pollution liability policy, which required the client to pay only one self-insured retention.
Prevailed on a motion for summary judgment by our client, a general contractor, against a subcontractor's CGL insurer in a complex fatality action and shifted liability for a $6 million underlying judgment to the subcontractor's insurer under an additional insured endorsement, recovered the client's defense costs, and obtained substantial Brandt fees for the insurer's bad faith.
Recovered 100% of defense costs and indemnity payments for a regional private homebuilder as an additional insured in a construction defect bad faith action against a subcontractor's CGL insurer.
Achieved a substantial settlement for Chinese drywall losses in a declaratory relief action on file in Florida where the Supreme Court has held that the Total Pollution Exclusion applies to claims resulting from indoor exposure to noxious fumes.
Obtained partial summary judgment that Chinese drywall losses in over 200 homes in Florida constituted a single occurrence. As a result, the insured developer had to pay only one self insured retention to access coverage, and the insurance company quickly settled the action.
Represented a landowner whose property was contaminated by activity on a neighboring property, where the principal claim was stigma damages. Bixby Ranch Co. v. Spectrol Electronics, the seminal California case involving stigma damages.
Successfully defended a national homebuilder against multiple claims alleging prevailing wage and unfair competition claims violations.
Successfully obtained insurance coverage for the settlement (and payment of the majority of attorney's fees) of an action brought against a publicly held developer in connection with the attempted rescission of a purchase and sale agreement.
Extensive insurance coverage analyses concerning positions taken on various types of policies, including Director's & Officer's policies and Errors & Omissions policies, on behalf of a national insurance company
Successfully defeated multi-million dollar claim under a Director's & Officer's policy in connection with several lawsuits arising from a stock loan transaction scheme. After extensive investigation, the claim was denied and, thereafter, the insured retracted its claim.
Brought an action on behalf of underwritten title company for the alleged fraudulent appraisals on multiple residential properties.
Defended an action by the underwriter of a title company against its underwritten title company for the alleged failure to identify fraudulent appraisals on multiple residential properties.
Obtained an order that suicide clause in insurance policy was not triggered because suicide is an intentional act and the insured was so mentally ill that she could not form the requisite intent.
Represented a title insurance company in bad faith case.
Drafted successful summary judgment motion against title insurance carrier for fraudulent transfer of title by seller.
Represented real estate developers in action against insurers seeking coverage for construction defect liabilities.
Represented a risk retention group in defense of action by rail carrier seeking coverage for wrongful death and bodily injury claims.
Served as insurance coverage and personal counsel in obtaining a favorable mediated settlement of a catastrophic bodily injury suit by a construction worker on a major medical facility project in New York City, with 100% of the settlement funding provided by liability insurers for other parties and by the project wrap-up liability insurer for our client, the owner/developer.
Served as insurance coverage and personal counsel in obtaining a favorable mediated settlement of a construction defect property damage claim by our client, the developer of a townhome community in Hawaii, against its wrap-up liability insurer. The client recovered 200% of its initially-estimated repair costs.
Served as insurance coverage and personal counsel in obtaining a favorable mediated settlement of a significant bodily injury suit, including a punitive damages claim, by residents of a new ground up condominium project in San Diego, California, with the bulk of the settlement funding contributed by the wrap-up liability insurer for our client.
Obtained a favorable settlement for a major commercial building owner of a complex builder's risk soft costs coverage claim, including the issue of the number of occurrences and deductibles.
Obtained a favorable settlement for a regional private homebuilder under its umbrella liability policies on a Chinese drywall claim involving over 175 homes, including the issue of the number of occurrences and self-insured retentions
Served as insurance coverage and personal counsel in obtaining a favorable mediated settlement of a multi-million dollar condominium conversion construction defect suit in Boston, Massachusetts by the project homeowners association, with the bulk of the settlement funding contributed by liability insurers for other parties and for our client, the converter.
Represented an asbestos insulation company in coverage action for asbestos injury claims.
Represented a beneficiary against life insurance company claiming misrepresentation and non-disclosure in the application by the insured.
Represented defense, telecommunications, and automobile manufacturers in environmental insurance coverage actions involving environmental liabilities at multiple manufacturing and Superfund sites.
Represented a domestic insurance company in arbitration against London market carriers seeking reinsurance coverage for environmental claims.
Represented an insurance carrier in actions by real estate developers and subcontractors seeking coverage for construction defect liabilities.
Represented an insurance carrier in arbitration and action for provisional relief (writ of attachment) against former insurance agent seeking payment of misappropriated policy premiums.
Represented an insurance company against claim brought by insured for breach of contract.
Represented oil and chemical companies in environmental insurance coverage actions involving liabilities at oil refineries, chemical plants, storage facilities, pipelines, and service stations in multiple states.
Represented policyholders and insurance carriers in first party property coverage claims.
Represented a real estate developer in action against professional liability carrier and architect over defective roof at mixed-use development.
Represented wood treating companies in environmental insurance coverage actions.
Defended an insurance company as surety on public works payment bonds against employee class action claims for unpaid prevailing wages.
Represented the trustees of a fund against multiple carriers for breach of contract and of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing in refusal to provide a defense and coverage under officers and director's policy.
Defended an insurance company in state court action alleging breach of insurance contract and bad faith in a coverage dispute arising out of separate underlying employment lawsuit.
Represented a community bank in a jury trial malpractice action against an insurance broker for failing to timely report a loss incurred by the bank to the bank's fiduciary liability insurance carrier.
Represented a community bank in an insurance coverage dispute under a fiduciary liability policy in federal court.
Represented an insurance company and prevailed on summary judgment where insurer was sued for failure to defend wage and hour lawsuit and indemnify insured for settlement because claim was barred by employment practices and intentional acts exclusions under the insured's liability policy.
Defended a golf course REIT client in litigation brought by buyer of Palm Springs area golf course over alleged failure to disclose infestation of microscopic turf pests. Obtained defense and indemnity for golf course REIT under "off the page" insurance forms, in litigation involving REIT's alleged failure to disclose pest infestation prior to sale of the course.
Defended an insurance carrier in contribution and indemnity action brought by another carrier alleging that monies were owed for payments made in an underlying personal injury action.
Handled first party property insurance claim on behalf of golf course lender following destruction of portion of golf course.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of an insurance company client in declaratory relief litigation over the policy limits applicable in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a permissive driver with additional insured coverage under the policy.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of an insured on the application of an exclusion for damage caused by electrical disturbance contained in the building owner's fire insurance policy.
Prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication on behalf of an outdoor advertising business and obtained order that an insurance carrier was obligated to defend an action by the City of Los Angeles seeking the removal of "supergraphic" billboard signs.
Represented a construction company in an action against insurance broker for failure to tender claim to proper insurance carrier, despite promise to do so.
Settled action brought by an insurance company against insurance agent for binding policies of insurance without the insurance company's knowledge and otherwise violating his obligations to the carrier.
Successfully litigated numerous rescission claims based on the insureds' alleged failure to disclose material information in the application process.
Without filing litigation, persuaded several reluctant CGL carriers to agree to defend actions involving: (i) construction defect claims; (ii) nuisance and trespass claims resulting from construction activities; (iii) fraud and conspiracy claims resulting from alleged violations of City Building Codes and Setback Ordinances; and (iv) violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and related state legislation. Insurance carriers who are slow to accept their defense obligation may be required to reimburse defense costs at full hourly rates from the date of tender to the date of acceptance of the defense.
Drafted, argued, and won a defense motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith case.
Successfully prosecuted reformation action against numerous national insurance companies seeking to add coverage for an estimated $500 million in coverage for national developer.
Achieved an early resolution of an action brought by an insurance company against insurance agent for binding policies of insurance without the insurance company's knowledge and otherwise violating his obligations to the carrier.
Obtained favorable settlement for purchaser of two homes in Riverside in declaratory relief action brought by insurance company that refused to defend or indemnify the purchaser as the result of a fraudulent transfer of the property by a seller that did not actually have title to the property.
- Press Release, Best Lawyers, 8.17.23
- Press Release, Super Lawyers, 1.10.23
- Press Release, Best Lawyers®, 8.19.21
- Client Alert, CCN Client Alert, 8.26.13