Practice Areas

Practice Areas

Property

When a typhoon blew away the entire cable TV system on the island of Guam, Mendes handled the loss for its insurers, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London. Insurers turned to us again when an insured put his elbow through a Picasso painting. In over 90 years of handling first-party insurance policy matters for Lloyd’s, we have seen it all. Our lawyers have an unrivalled understanding of the workings of Lloyd’s and the London market, and our knowledge is now regularly tapped by U.S. domestic insurers as well. 

Under first party policies, we are involved in matters involving commercial property, homeowner’s, automobile physical damage, boiler and machinery, motor tuck cargo, bankers’ blanket bonds, fidelity bonds, commercial crime and surety bonds.

Mendes lawyers handle investigations, adjustments, coverage analysis, recovery, subrogation, defense of coverage litigation and policy drafting. We also handle litigation locally, oversee litigation nationally and are admitted pro hac vice to conduct discovery and try cases in multiple jurisdictions. Our experience is highly diverse, but we have particular strengths in the following areas:

Mortgage impairment policies. These policies are issued to commercial and residential lenders for coverage of various property and liability risks arising from mortgage loans. Since the policies were developed in the late 1950s, we have advised on policy wording and provided coverage opinions, claim adjustments and investigations.

Financial institutions. The practice handles matters arising under various coverages provided to banks and other financial institutions, including forced placed policies, bankers’ blanket bonds, fidelity bonds and commercial crime policies.  These policies are popular with banks because they cover both property and professional indemnity. We also represent underwriters with respect to surety and other types of bonds.

Fine arts insurance. Insurers consider Mendes among the world’s top firms for large, serious fine art matters. We have represented insurers and their insureds in major international cases. Our clients have included the insurers of Sotheby’s, Christie’s, museums and respected galleries throughout the world. Services include claims investigation and litigation relating to physical damage and theft, authenticity and auctioneers’ liability.

Extensive coverage litigation skills. Mendes has particular expertise defending suits seeking extra-contractual damages and/or punitive damages for alleged bad faith and unfair claims handling practices. Skilled in both oral and written argument, we have won favorable results for our clients at trial in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. and its territories and in mediation and arbitration.

Representative experience:
• Obtained reversal of $60 million punitive damages verdict against insurers in Alaska State Court.

• Obtained a jury verdict in 2004 coverage litigation in favor of an insurer that provided property insurance to the leaseholder of the World Trade Center in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

• Successfully represented insurers before a jury in a bad faith action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Guam.