Balancing a scholarly love of the law with practical, commonsense judgment, Ross Smith helps clients understand their insurance rights and duties, effectively communicates coverage determinations and reserve rights, and efficiently advances and protects clients’ interests in and outside of litigation.
Ross has nearly 20 years of legal experience, primarily in the insurance field. He has handled a variety of insurance-related matters, including disputes involving various types of liability insurance, rescission and other remedies resulting from material misrepresentations and omissions in the application process, bad-faith matters, and insurer-versus-insurer disputes.
His practice is almost evenly divided between providing coverage assessments and advice and actively litigating in state and federal courts.
Representative Matters :
- Defeated, at the pleadings stage, a bad-faith lawsuit against an EPL insurer seeking coverage for underlying wage and hour litigation above and beyond the exhausted defense costs sublimit.
- Won summary judgment, and successfully defended it on appeal, in a bad-faith suit filed against a professional liability insurer that had denied coverage for a confidential settlement entered into without the insurer’s consent.
- Obtained a determination that a declaratory relief action concerning an insured’s pre-petition liability insurance policy was not a core bankruptcy proceeding, in connection with the insurer moving the bankruptcy court to abstain due to a pending parallel suit in state court.
- Obtained partial summary judgment that a D&O policy did not cover a multimillion-dollar judgment involving an attempt to raid a competitor, relying on an exclusion for the gaining of any profit or advantage to which the insured was not legally entitled.
- Represented an umbrella liability insurer in coverage litigation against the insured. Handled and won the bench trial, then successfully defended the judgment on appeal, resulting in a published decision.
- Cornell Law School, J.D., 1998
- North Dakota State University, B.A., 1995
BAR ADMISSIONS : California, Connecticut
COURT ADMISSIONS :
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Rate : $$$$