Insurance Coverage Litigation


Insurance claims are complex, and the law governing claims is evolving constantly to address new issues and arguments. Construction defects, mold, concurrent causation, intentional conduct, fraud, bad faith “set-ups” and allocation of losses are just a few examples of the complex claims and issues that insurers regularly must address. And potential extra-contractual exposure is an ever-present threat, should a claim be handled improperly.

Ulmer & Berne understands these claims and issues. We work as partners with insurers to resolve all manner of first-party and third-party claims fairly and equitably – to pay claims that are owed and to resist claims that are inflated or not owed at all.

Ulmer & Berne has been representing insurers for more than 50 years. We have tremendous experience counseling insurers on their rights and obligations under all types of policies. We regularly assist insurers in handling claims from their inception through successful conclusion. This may entail supervising fire scene investigations, conducting examinations under oath, providing coverage opinions, drafting reservations of rights or denial letters, and prosecuting and defending coverage litigation. When claims have been paid, our subrogation attorneys can assist in obtaining recoveries.

Ulmer & Berne is a full-service law firm and takes a multidisciplinary approach involving attorneys from all practices including tax, environmental, real estate and corporate areas are available to assist when claims present issues that require their special expertise.

We take particular pride in our long history of shaping Ohio law concerning insurance. Our attorneys have been involved in many of the leading property insurance cases in Ohio. Over several decades we have obtained scores of published court decisions from state and federal courts. We have a strong history and heritage of being among the leading insurance coverage attorneys in Ohio and are committed to maintaining that tradition of excellence.

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Mitchell as partner in its Cincinnati office. Mitchell brings decades of experience managing complex toxic tort and product liability litigation matters to Ulmer’s nationally respected product liability group. Mitchell’s practice focuses on product liability defense. He has decades...

“OHIO SUPPLIER STATUTE, R.C. 2307.78 – Sword and Sheild: Product Liability Law Challenges To Non-Manufacturers Raised By Remote Toxic Exposures” Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) – Quarterly Newsletter Winter 2016 Bruce Mandel, Esq., and Jim Kline, Esq., co-author a comprehensive look at challenges to non-manufacturers raised by remote...

Ulmer & Berne is ranked in 39 categories in the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 16 categories. Firms included in the 2016 “Best Law...

“Michael Nathan Ungar | Ulmer & Berne LLP” Cleveland Jewish News January 15, 2015 Perennial Super Lawyer Michael Nathan Ungar considers settlement of a dispute embroiling Case Western University among his most memorable cases of 2014. Read the full article »

Ulmer & Berne LLP is ranked in 40 categories in the 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ highest ranking in 23 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 17 categories. Ulmer & Berne achieved a “Metropolitan Tier...

Ulmer & Berne LLP has been ranked within the top 10 percent of all law firms by The BTI Consulting Group, one of the nation’s leading legal industry research firms, in their recently published 2015 BTI Litigation Outlook report. The firm was selected as a “Litigation Powerhouse” and is named...

Ulmer & Berne LLP was named 2014 Ohio Firm of the Year by Benchmark Litigation at the second annual Benchmark Litigation US Awards held at the Essex Hotel in New York City on January 29, 2014. The US Benchmark Awards were based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews...

Representative Experience

  • Representing an insurance carrier in nationwide class action involving use of software to evaluate first party claims.
  • Representing an insurance carrier in statewide class action involving payment of medical benefits to third party providers.
  • Representing an insurance carrier in statewide class action involving payment of local premium taxes.
  • Representing a title insurance company in class action involving mortgage rescue transactions.
  • Obtained reversal of a $1 million bad faith judgment against an insurer in a case handled by other counsel in the trial court. The insurer had never responded to a time-limited policy limits settlement demand in a brain injury case. The jury returned an excess judgment against the insured after trial.
  • Defended numerous multi-million dollar Scott-Pontzer uninsured motorist cases in both trial and appellate courts.
  • Obtained summary judgment of non-coverage for the insurer in a wrongful death case stemming from a bar shooting. The plaintiff claimed that the decedent was caught in the insured’s crossfire, and that the insured was negligent in firing his gun in a public place.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an insurer where another insurer settled a quadriplegia case and sought contribution toward the settlement. The court held on summary judgment that the settling insurer was a volunteer.
  • Represented insurers in complex environmental coverage lawsuits.
  • Obtained summary judgments for insurers in numerous bad faith lawsuits.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an insurer in a multi-million dollar suit by a claimed additional insured seeking coverage under a general contractor’s policy for a construction accident.
  • Obtained jury verdict for the insurer in $2 million commercial arson/misrepresentation case.
  • Obtained numerous jury verdicts for insurers in both commercial and residential arson/fraud cases in state and federal court.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an insurer in a suit filed by an insured who sought compensatory and bad-faith damages after the insurer denied claim based on policy’s vacancy exclusion. The insurer asserted that the insured premise was vacant at time of theft. The court agreed, and rejected the insured’s argument that the vacancy exclusion was ambiguous or in the alternative, against public policy.
  • Obtained summary judgment on a loss payee claim involving the theft of a car used by the named insured’s son. The son had loaned the car to another person to obtain drugs and the car was not returned.
  • Obtained summary judgment on an underinsured motorist claim brought by a trucker and his wife passenger for an accident in Ohio with an Ohio motorist. Successfully argued that the trucker’s claim was governed by Tennessee law which made a policy exclusion applicable to the claim, that was otherwise not available under Ohio law. The wife’s claim was then voluntarily dismissed as it was within the tortfeasor’s limits of coverage.
  • Resolved subrogation claims arising out of a house fire allegedly caused by the insured, an electrician. Following depositions of the proposed experts of the claimants, one insurer settled the claim for the home for approximately 7 percent of the amount it paid. The personal property insurer voluntarily dismissed its claim without any payment.
  • Obtained summary judgment of non-coverage for the insurer in a wrongful death case where the insured sold drugs to two boys who, after ingesting the drugs, died in a traffic accident. Successfully argued that an exclusion for injuries resulting from the insured’s “willful and malicious” conduct precluded coverage.
  • Obtained summary judgment of non-coverage for insurers in numerous cases arising out of violent altercations and incidents involving their insureds.
  • Prepared countless opinion letters regarding coverage for both first-party property and third-party liability claims under personal and commercial insurance policies.
  • Obtained summary judgment for an insurer in a multi-million dollar suit by a claimed additional insured seeking coverage under a general contractor’s policy for a construction accident.