Practices  |  Insurance

General Liability


For more than 25 years, Wiley Rein has been a leader in general liability insurance developments and in the forefront of the insurance industry's response to complex, high-stakes litigation.  Wiley Rein has handled some of the most prominent insurance cases of the past decades in both trial and appellate forums. Our clients look to us for careful, innovative, and effective representation, often in opposition to some of the largest policyholders in the world.

The General Liability Practice has developed precedents on key insurance issues across the nation, including in the context of environmental and chemical exposure claims, product liability, asbestos bankruptcy, personal and advertising injury, construction claims, and bad faith.  Our work encompasses emerging issues such as global warming (climate change) and nanotechnology insurer use of staff counsel and privacy standards for insurer records.

We handle major trial and appellate litigation involving general liability policies issued to Fortune 500 corporations, as well as to smaller and privately held companies.  In recent years, the General Liability Practice has handled cases in many states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.  In addition to serving as litigation counsel, Wiley Rein regularly counsels insurers on coverage issues and handling general liability claims, including the determination of whether a duty to defend exists and whether an insurer must provide independent counsel. We are often called upon to assist insurers in coordinating claims relating to a particular exposure or type of risk on a nationwide basis.

Our representation of general liability carriers encompasses a number of areas, including:

  • Allocation of responsibility among insurers and policyholders.
  • Extent of insurer liability to successor entities of the policyholder.
  • Insurer's right to recoup defense and indemnity costs.           
  • Scope and application of pollution exclusions, business risk exclusions, and other policy limitations.
  • Extent to which insurers are responsible for declaratory judgment costs of policyholders.
  • Effects of policyholder's bankruptcy on coverage.
  • Products/completed operations coverage and the application of aggregate limits.
  • Scope of "occurrence," as well as known loss and expected and intended provisions.
  • Application of conditions, including notice, cooperation, and voluntary payments.

Members of our Group are active in industry associations, both in leadership roles and as members.  Our attorneys also frequently speak and publish on general liability issues.

For more information about our experience, please see the following areas:

Contact Us

Parker J. Lavin
202.719.7367 |

Mary E. Borja
202.719.4252 |

Benjamin C. Eggert
202.719.7336 |

Kenneth E. Ryan
202.719.7028 |

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