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 pharmaceuticals, life sciences, cyber tort issues, privacy claims, global warming (climate change), concussion litigation, wrongful conviction, and an array of claims in the municipal liability context.

We handle major trial and appellate litigation nationwide involving general liability policies issued to Fortune 500 corporations, as well as to smaller and privately held companies. 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, whether an insurer must provide independent counsel, and settlement of multiple claims with insufficient limits. We are often called upon to assist insurers in coordinating claims relating to a particular exposure or type of risk on a nationwide basis. We assist underwriters as well, with policy drafting and exposure evaluation.

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

  • Allocation of responsibility among insurers, policyholders, and third parties.
  • Extent of insurer liability to successor entities of the policyholder.
  • Insurer's right to recoup defense and indemnity costs.
  • Determination of additional insured status and rights.           
  • 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, the application of aggregate limits, and the non-cumulation clause.
  • Duty to initiate settlement in absence of a demand.
  • 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

Mary E. Borja
202.719.4252 |

Cara Tseng Duffield
202.719.7407 |

Benjamin C. Eggert
202.719.7336 |

Kenneth E. Ryan
202.719.7028 |

Gary P. Seligman
202.719.3587 |

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