Ahead of the Litigation Trends

During the last two decades, Doyle, Restrepo, Harvin & Robbins has offered thoughtful and practical representation to major insurers and corporate insureds regarding their insurance policy coverage disputes. For each matter, the firm has combined a careful investigation with a clear understanding of the applicable policy language and solid comprehension of insurance law to develop a statewide reputation with regard to coverage issues. We have provided experienced counsel in a wide range of coverage matters involving all types of insurance policies and in all types of situations from complicated industrial incidents, homeowner’s claims and personal injury claims to “cutting edge” issues such as “Stowers” issues and mold claims.

DRH&R has been involved in all aspects of coverage matters, addressing the scope of potential coverage from the outset and litigating many declaratory judgment actions when a dispute could not be resolved without litigation. We have handled disputes about the existence and scope of coverage under CGL policies, commercial and personal property policies, securities dealers’ errors and omissions policies, boiler and machinery policies, builders’ risk policies as well as business and personal auto and homeowners’ policies. We have successfully represented clients in coverage litigation and reported appellate decisions that have created new legal precedent to further our clients’ interests. These have included decisions regarding a carrier’s right to appeal an adverse judgment against an insured who rejected an appeal; the scope of a carrier’s defense and indemnity obligations; and the effect of auto, professional services, employee injury and residency exclusions. We have also used our experience in counseling clients regarding existing or contemplated insurance for their particular businesses and needs.

Because of DRH&R’s background in sophisticated coverage issues, we were retained to represent a major insurer in handling a large volume docket of mold litigation in Texas and Louisiana. Insurance companies had been deluged with mold claims after a verdict against Farmers put mold litigation on the map. The impact of these claims reverberated throughout the insurance industry, forcing one carrier to attempt to pull out of the Texas market and others to increase premiums. We were asked to defend these claims around the state and later Louisiana by applying more than 20 years of coverage experience combined with solid, proven trial practice. In October 2002, DRH&R obtained a significant victory in South Texas by securing a zero mold verdict against plaintiffs seeking substantial property damage and bodily injury damages. The verdict was significant as it is the first major mold case to go to trial since the verdict against Farmers. During the trial, DRH&R successfully excluded plaintiffs’ expert medical testimony for failure to establish any scientific link between mold and physical injuries. A second trial in McAllen federal court resulted in a verdict far less than the amount sought. These trial and briefing successes prompted hundreds of settlements because, as one lawyer commented, we had “changed the road map.” These results exemplify the combined coverage and trial skills we bring to all coverage disputes.