The Mendes Litigation Department handles a vast range of complex disputes through all stages of litigation. From initial pleadings and discovery, through to trial and appeal, the litigation team at Mendes takes pride in aggressively representing their clients in lawsuits throughout the United States.
The Mendes team counsels insurers both internationally and domestically on complex coverage issues and litigation strategy. The litigation attorneys at Mendes have historically been retained to represent a diverse range of insurers in their capacity as plaintiffs or defendants—often opposite counsel for Fortune 500 companies. In either capacity, while such cases may involve hundreds of other insurers, the Mendes team always takes the lead in the development of underlying facts, the formulation of legal positions and the drafting of motions for submission and oral argument before the court. Such motion practice often results in Mendes being able to achieve favorable results for their clients. But, when the matter cannot be resolved by motion, the Mendes trial lawyers are fully equipped to take the lead at trial for their clients.
The Mendes team brings this same intensity to every matter assigned, including alternative means of dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation. No matter the size of the case, Mendes will always apply the same dedication, historical knowledge and experience in order to secure the most favorable outcome possible for their clients.
Given the depth of our experience in the insurance arena, Mendes litigators are often called upon to perform “insurance forensics”—delving into the history of insurance contract wordings pertaining to the various industries insured within the United States, the underlying losses for which such wordings were intended to respond and the market forces that brought about the complex claim scenarios and judicial contract interpretations that the insurance world has experienced over the last 75 years. Indeed, our litigation experience involves virtually every type of complex claim including but not limited to asbestos, products and health hazards, environmental remediation, general liability, professional liability, lender placed insurance and property coverage. At Mendes, we have litigated with every major policyholder law firm in the U.S. in multiple state and federal jurisdictions. We have also handled numerous appeals before various state and federal appellate courts.
Over the course of Mendes’ expansive history, the Litigation Department has navigated their clients through lawsuits involving billions of dollars worth of claims. The litigation team has also obtained numerous favorable outcomes as a result of motion practice, including full case dispositive summary judgment victories. Our litigation attorneys have also routinely obtained favorable rulings as a result of motion practice in actions brought pursuant to New York Insurance Law §3420, and on a vast array of issues including late notice, known loss, and the lack of a covered occurrence under various states’ law in various jurisdictions. The litigation team at Mendes is also well-versed and equipped for those matters that proceed to trial, with members of our team having represented our insurer clients at trials involving multi-million dollar claims.
Our litigation attorneys have unique and intimate knowledge of the London and other international markets as well as the domestic insurers we represent. Our department is proud to have partners at the helm who have litigated groundbreaking insurance coverage issues for decades and are a part of the fabric of favorable law made across the United States on numerous coverage issues.
- OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Narragansett Elec. Co.: Represented London Market Insurers in a matter against a large utility company with respect to environmental claims at numerous sites. This included two jury trials, one of which lasted over 50 days and resulted in a favorable jury verdict on several key issues.
- Mt. McKinley Ins. Co. v. Corning Inc., et al.: Represented numerous international and domestic insurers in litigation spanning over 15 years as well as in a protracted mediation that ultimately resulted in the negotiation of a complex coverage-in-place agreement.
- Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am., et al. v. ICCO Cheese Co., Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: Filed action on behalf of Plaintiff insurer against ICCO Cheese Company, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Obtained a full case dispositive summary judgment dismissal of insurer with respect to both the duty to defend and the duty to indemnity for coverage in an underlying class action suit involving mis-labeling of cheese products.
- Wieck, et al. v. CIT Group Inc., et al.: Represented insurer defendants in a class action brought in the District Court of Hawai’i. Obtained a dismissal of several causes of action based on lender-placed insurance on reverse mortgages (specifically hurricane coverage), including those counts related to Plaintiffs’ allegations regarding violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).
- Vantage Commodities Financial Services I, LLC v. Assured Risk Transfer PCC, LLC, et al.: Represented reinsurer clients in claim for recovery under a Trade Credit Insurance policy and reinsured under a Treaty led by one of the clients represented by Mendes. Obtained a favorable ruling from U.S. Circuit of Appeals of the District of Columbia affirming the District Court’s dismissal of all claims against the defendant reinsurers, including based on the granting of a motion to dismiss brought by Mendes on behalf of their clients based on failure to state a claim (and affirming ruling that causes of action against the reinsurers based on breach of contract, breach of implied contract or equitable remedies of promissory estoppel or unjust enrichment could not be sustained).
- Rapid-American Corp., et al. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co., et al.: Represented insurer defendant in adversary proceeding pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and obtained favorable summary judgment ruling regarding the requirement of “actual payment” to establish full and proper underlying exhaustion under certain policy language and New York law.
- Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al. v. AT&T Inc., et al.: Represented Plaintiff insurers (international and domestic) and filed lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment with respect to AT&T’s and Nokia’s claims for coverage related to asbestos bodily injury claims. Took the lead on all discovery efforts and litigation of numerous coverage issues.
- ExxonMobil Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al.: Represented over 150 insurers based all over the world (i.e. U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Japan, the Middle East) in action brought by one of the largest companies in the world regarding asbestos-related claims. Obtained numerous favorable rulings on discovery motions throughout the course of the litigation.
- Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y. v. The Continental Ins. Co. and Am. Home Assur. Co.: Represented defendant insurers and obtained a favorable ruling in a pre-answer motion to dismiss, resulting in the dismissal of claims brought under New York Insurance Law § 3420, for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, for breach of Gen. Bus. Law § 349, for unjust enrichment, and for attorneys’ fees.
- Hopeman Bros., Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co., et al.: Represented insurer defendants in action brought in the Eastern District of Virginia (known as the “rocket docket”) and litigated the matter through summary judgment briefing after the completion of all fact and expert discovery, ultimately obtaining favorable rulings under New York law on several issues including injury-in-fact trigger, aspects of the Prior Insurance Non-Cumulation clause, and the treatment of defense costs under various policies.
- Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Jenkins Bros., et al.: Obtained ruling from Appellate Division that insurers are not responsible under New York law for funding settlements in years they did not provide coverage.
- Atlanta International Ins. Co., et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al.: Represent Plaintiff insurers in coverage litigation against Johnson & Johnson and others with respect to underlying claims alleging injury due to Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products.
- In Re Texas Eastern Transmission Corp. PCB Litigation: Representing various London Market Insurers in this $750 million coverage action involving PCB contamination, claim was dismissed at the U.S. District Court (E.D.N.Y) on the ground of late notice, a ruling upheld by the U. S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.
- First State Ins. Co. v. Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M): Represented various London Market Insurers in coverage action over substantial breast implant liabilities faced by 3M. After several trial phases, a favorable multi-product and environmental settlement was negotiated.
- In re Ski Train Fire in Kaprun, Austria: Represented defendant manufacturer and obtained dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds from multi-district litigation action involving ski train fire in Austria. Certiorari to U.S. Supreme Court sought by Plaintiffs and denied.
- Represented insurers’ interests in numerous bankruptcy matters, including In re Mid-Valley, Inc.; In re Federal Mogul; In re W.R. Grace; In re Quigley Co., Inc.; Rapid-American Corp., et al. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co., et al.; and In re LTL Management, LLC.
Discovery of under-the-table negotiations leads to a high-water mark ruling in asbestos coverage action.