FIRM - YEAR END HIGHLIGHTS

 

 

 

ANDERSON KILL


   Attorneys and Counselors at Law

1251 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS  NEW YORK, NY 10020-1182
TELEPHONE: 212-278-1000  FAX: 212-278-1733
www.andersonkill.com

 

 

William G. Passannante, Esq.
wpassannante@andersonkill.com
(212) 278-1328

As a post-pandemic year roiled by war draws to a close, we at Anderson Kill wish you a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2024.  We mark the New Year with an overview of emerging risks, along with highlights from litigation battles, recognition from industry watchers, and personal transitions – into the firm and up the ranks.

Emerging risks

A.I. anxieties:  Beyond worrying whether humanity’s A.I. creations will agree to keep us as pets, glitches in early uses of the potentially explosive technology – from citing imaginary cases in legal briefs to crashing trucks – will generate liabilities and sometimes novel insurance issues. Those novel issues, I suggested in Law360, will likely generate familiar insurance company defenses against coverage. Past precedent also gives cause to worry that insurance companies will deploy A.I. with algorithms that incorporate bias, not to say a propensity toward claims minimization and denial, as my colleagues Marshall Gilinsky and Madison Marlow argued in Westlaw.

ESG crossfire: The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee endorsed new requirements in human capital management disclosure, including diversity disclosures, in September, and a Fifth Circuit panel upheld NASDAQ’s board diversity rule in October. At the same time, as the Washington Post reported in April, “At least a dozen states are considering legislation that would attack DEI spending and overhaul hiring initiatives in higher education.”  More generally, some state attorneys general and legislators have moved to bar a range of ESG initiatives, including on the climate front. In June, Texas passed a law banning insurance companies from considering ESG factors in rate setting. Law360 reports that this year 14 states enacted legislation restricting the use of ESG factors in public investments and procurements. Law360 assesses the crosscurrents as follows: “investment managers and companies have quieted their crowing about environmental, social and governance practices but have not abandoned them.

Cybersecurity pressures: In August, the SEC finalized new cybersecurity rules that require registrants to disclose material cybersecurity incidents within four days and to annually disclose material information about their cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance. In his regular Risk Management column, my colleagues Josh Gold and Luma Al-Shibib, co-chairs of our Cyber Insurance Recovery Group, described developments in the SolarWinds litigation and the expanding role of regulators in cyberrisk. Separately, Josh  dove deep into the board’s role in cyber security management as shaped by a host of new regulatory requirements.  Also this year, Luma Al-Shibib and Steven Pudell, managing shareholder in Newark, outlined in Law360 how new cyber war exclusions and new regulatory requirements are squeezing companies from two sides.

D&O ESG issues: Our annual D&O conference moved back to an in-person format after the three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.  The conference described initiatives in ESG policies which hold out the promise to corporations and investment companies of doing well by doing good.  Risks and mis-steps as well as a backlash associated with ESG have surfaced. The SEC has begun cracking down on companies and investment vehicles alleged not to have followed through on implementing their stated ESG commitments.  A summary of my Top Ten Issues in D&O Liability and Insurance was provided.

Climate change arrives: Overviewing the year’s national and global losses from disasters, the Wall Street Journal noted in late August that while the year to that point had steered clear of catastrophic weather events, climate change also appears to be increasing the frequency of “secondary” perils, such as wildfires and thunderstorms. WSJ cited an Aon finding that “each of the past seven years had an above-century-average number of billion-dollar-plus insured loss events.”

War risk: With war continuing in Ukraine and ignited in Israel/Palestine, Reuters reported this month that  coverage for political violence has(inevitably) become very expensive or unobtainable in some regions. Reuters also noted this month that war risk premiums are rising on marine insurance for cargo going through the Red Sea in the wake of Houthi attacks on shipping in the area.

Say no to recoupment of defense costs: Cases in the First Circuit and the Supreme Court of Hawaii described the latest battleground in the improper attempts of insurance companies to recoup defense costs already paid with no support in the policy.  For articles in this fast-moving areas, see my Law360 publication with Nick Bradley, and a deeper dive with Jessica Goldberg in the Insurance Law section of DRI’s For The Defense .

Courting victory in 2023

The year yielded a rich crop of court wins and favorable settlements: 

  • As insurance counsel to claimants’ committees, we made significant progress in freeing up access to billions of dollars in insurance proceeds for asbestos claimants in cases stemming from alleged damage from talc products.
  • For a technology equipment vendor, we won a court decision finding coverage for theft of computer equipment enabled by contract employees, including coverage for software embedded in stolen hardware. A settlement followed the court victory.
  • For a service company, we won summary judgment finding product liability coverage, as the court held that the policyholder proved that bodily injury occurred away from its insured premises and arose out of its product, triggering coverage under the "products-completed operations hazard."
  • We obtained successful insurance recoveries in two ransomware claims, with some matters still to be resolved.
  • We obtained insurance recoveries, and made progress toward recoveries, for several municipalities and religious institutions faced with allegations of long-ago sexual abuse.

 No objections: Our Honors

For the seventeenth consecutive year, Chambers USA ranked Anderson Kill among the nation’s top insurance recovery practice groups. Special congratulations are due to Pamela Hans, our managing Shareholder in Philadelphia, who was ranked in Chambers this year. Individually ranked in Chambers USA 2023 were Bob Horkovich , myself, Finley Harckham , Josh Gold, Rhonda Orin, Pamela Hans, Robert Chesler and Steven Pudell .

The Legal 500 ranked our insurance recovery group among the nation’s top practices nationally, also for the seventeenth year running, re-naming Bob and me to the Legal 500 Hall of Fame, and recognizing, Marshall Gilinsky, Diana Shafter GliedmanRhonda Orin and  Raymond Mascia, Jr. as key lawyers. For the eleventh  year straight, Best Law Firms 2024 named us a National Tier 1 Best Law Firm in Insurance Law. In Best Lawyers 2024, the story for Anderson Kill was a large crop of newly recognized Ones to Watch, including Grant Brown, Keith Lazere, Difie Osborne and Bruce Strong in New York and John Lacey and Christina Yousef in Newark.  Also recognized were Rhonda Orin, Pamela Hans,  Robert Chesler, and Steven Pudell as Best Lawyers. Super Lawyers recognized 16 of our attorneys, including first-time honorees Marshall Gilinsky (Super Lawyer), Jason Kosek , and Ethan Middlebrooks (Rising Stars). The full list of our Super Lawyers honorees is here. Finally, Benchmark Litigation ranked Anderson Kill a national Tier 1 firm in Insurance, naming Bob Horkovich, Finley Harckham and myself   as national litigation stars and Josh Gold and Diana Shafter Gliedman as future stars.

For the sixth consecutive year, we were finalists for Business Insurance’s Legal Team of the Year award (we’ve won three times since the award’s 2018 inception). On the individual front, Business Insurance named Diana Shafter Gliedman a Woman to Watch for 2023.

New Colleagues and New Responsibilities

In 2023 we strengthened our White Collar Defense practice by adding former prosecutor  Sam Braverman  and former SEC enforcement attorney Paul W. Ryan , both with extensive experience in private white collar defense practice, as shareholders in New York . We also added deep capabilities to our Wills, Trusts and Estates group with the addition of shareholders Gabrielle Lese and Susan Rothwell, also in New York. Jay Taylor joined Anderson Kill in New York as a shareholder and chair of the firm’s Corporate and Finance Group. Jay also joined Marshall Gilinsky to co-chair a newly formed Sports, Media and Entertainment Group with capabilities in Corporate and Finance, IP (mainly via a new colleague joining us Of Counsel in Newark, Aurelia Mitchell Durant), Employment, Competition and Antitrust, and Insurance Recovery.  In Washington D.C., Cameron Argetsinger joined us as a shareholder in Insurance Recovery. The firm also welcomed associate James Goodridge, focusing on insurance recovery in New York,  and associates-to-be pending admission (all have passed the New York Bar) Annalisa Martini, Amy Weiss , and Joshua Zelen, all based in New York and focusing on insurance recovery. The firm also welcomed new associates Nicholas Bradley, Fiona Hogan, Madison Marlow, Seán McCabe, Jamie O’Neill, and Regan Samson in New York and Madilynne Lee in Philadelphia.

In 2023, some of our next-gen shareholders stepped into leadership roles. Luma Al-Shibib joined Josh Gold as co-chair of our Cybersecurity Group; John Leonard took on co-chairmanship with Cort Malone of our Biometric Liability Group; and Ray Mascia joined Carrie Maylor DiCanio as co-chair of the firm’s Financial Services Group.

Looking Forward to 2024

We wish you peace, prosperity, health and safety in the coming year and look forward to helping you fulfill your business goals and protect your interests.

Very truly yours,

 

Passannante Signature

William G. Passannante
(212) 278-1328
wpassannante@andersonkill.com

Anderson Kill

1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020