An experienced trial lawyer, Scott routinely represents clients throughout the country facing insurance recovery issues, as well as in class and mass torts, product liability and complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels.
Scott has more than 30 years of experience in high-value complex disputes for companies faced with major business litigation involving contracts, insurance rights and recovery, environmental claims and toxic torts/class actions. He has a nationwide practice, frequently appearing in court at both the trial and appellate levels, trying some of the largest insurance and mass tort and class action cases in the country to jury, and securing landmark insurance decisions in the California Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit and numerous courts of appeal.
His insurance practice covers the gamut of insurance issues, including coverage for major property damage and business interruption losses, advertising-related liabilities, errors and omissions claims, director and officer claims, product liability claims, employment liability, fiduciary liability such as ERISA, False Claims Act liabilities, theft and other criminal-related claims, environmental and mass tort matters, and personal injury claims such as right to privacy and false imprisonment. He also frequently counsels companies on a wide range of insurance issues ranging from the placement of insurance through the submission of claims and securing of a defense.
His mass tort/class action practice includes trial of several of the only mass tort actions to be tried before a jury, as well as successful handling of a Daubert proceeding striking plaintiﬀs’ experts on the ground they would be testifying to “junk science.”
He is a fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel. He has also served on the boards of advisors for multiple publications and has frequently spoken and written on insurance and mass tort/class action issues.
Represented the policyholder in Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transport Indemnity Co., et al. in a nine-month trial and ensuing appeals seeking reimbursement of defense and indemnity expense in connection with historical chemical releases at Sacramento site. Obtained two landmark appellate decisions, holding that environmental cleanup costs are “damages” and recoverable under commercial general liability (CGL) policies (211 Cal. App. 3d 216 (1988)) and that investigative expenses are recoverable as defense expenses (17 Cal. 4th 38 (1997)).
Nucor v. Hartford, Travelers, Wausau, et al. Represented policyholder in action against insurers seeking reimbursement of defense and indemnity costs associated with underlying toxic tort and governmental actions. To date, obtained rulings that (1) sudden and accidental pollution exclusion means what insurers represented in 1970, (2) administrative proceedings trigger a duty to defend and (3) “bodily injury” coverage covers medical monitoring expense. After settling with two primary insurers, had one-month trial concerning reasonableness of defense expense with the third. In December 2005, the court entered a 40-page Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law largely adopting the policyholder’s position. Thereafter, there was a one-week jury trial against insurer concerning indemnity obligations; jury entered a verdict for Nucor.
Represented both defendants in mass and class toxic tort cases Allen, et al. v. Aerojet-General Corporation and Cordova Chemical Company, et al., and Daphne Adams, et al. v. Aerojet-General Corporation and Cordova Chemical Company, et al. In the class action, the plaintiﬀ sought to certify a class for medical monitoring and stigma damages. The court rejected the plaintiﬀs’ attempt to certify. In the mass action, 500 plaintiﬀs claimed personal injuries, including death, associated with exposure to defendant’s chemicals (TCE, NDMA and perchlorate). Pre-trial activity resulted in the dismissal of 490 of the 500 plaintiﬀs. A 10-week jury trial in 2005 resulted in a defense verdict for Cordova, a defense verdict for Aerojet as respected four plaintiﬀs and a plaintiﬀ verdict against Aerojet on the remainder. The case was settled thereafter.
Baker v. Motorola, et al. and Lofgren, et al. v. Motorola, et al. Represented defendant Nucor Corporation in (1) a class action brought by Scottsdale and Phoenix residents alleging that chemical releases to air and groundwater diminished property value and increased the need for medical monitoring and (2) a personal injury action brought by more than 200 plaintiﬀs. After a three-week Daubert hearing, the trial court rejected all of plaintiﬀs’ medical causation experts and entered judgment for defendants. The case settled thereafter.
Represented a global environmental consulting ﬁrm in a mass tort suit involving the Ringwood Mines/Landﬁll Superfund Site. The action, in a New Jersey state court, consisted of 45 consolidated cases naming more than 700 plaintiﬀs alleging an assortment of physical and mental injuries, as well as diminution in property values. The plaintiﬀs claimed that their injuries were caused by the disposal of various chemicals and a failure to properly remediate the site. After a favorable case management order, the case was resolved.
Represented a global chemical manufacturer in an action ﬁled in California by more than 150 plaintiﬀs alleging that various insecticides and pesticides applied at a state research facility drifted onto nearby properties where they caused cancer and other personal injuries, including death, property diminution and increased need for medical monitoring. The complaints were based on common law counts of trespass, nuisance, negligence and ultrahazardous liability.
American States Water Company v. Aerojet-General Corporation. Represented defendant in action alleging chemical releases damaged plaintiﬀ’s interest in groundwater. Case settled after motions in limine argued.
Higgins, et al. v. Aerojet-General Corporationand Cordova Chemical Company and McCann v. Aerojet-General Corporation and Cordova Chemical Company. Represented defendants in mass and class toxic tort litigation in which (1) 70 plaintiﬀs claimed personal injuries including death, increased risk of cancer and property damage associated with exposure to defendant’s chemicals and (2) plaintiﬀs sought to certify a medical monitoring class. The court rejected plaintiﬀs’ attempt to certify a class. Obtained defense verdict after three-month jury trial in 1986.
From 1988 to 1994, represented Monsanto in various cases from Texas through California involving exposure to an herbicide product, including Mathis, et al. v. Monsanto, where plaintiﬀs alleged that exposure to defendant’s product caused death, and Villarial v. Monsanto, where plaintiﬀ alleged that exposure to defendant’s product caused brain damage.
Precision Cast Parts v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., et al. Represented PCC in an action against its general liability insurers in which it sought to recover cost of defense and settlement associated with environmental claims made against it by the City of Portland.
Representing an international consumer products company that received a Proposition 65 notice in California and was sued in a class action alleging consumer fraud and seeking medical monitoring in Illinois. After working with consultants to develop conclusive evidence that the plaintiﬀs could not have been exposed to any chemicals emanating from our client’s product, the Prop 65 letter was withdrawn.
Select appellate decisions include:
Aerojet-General Corp. v. Transport, et al., 17 Cal. 4th 38 (California Supreme Court holding that duty to defend included RI/FS and other investigatory expenses so long as a purpose of the expense was to further the defense, and where a loss potentially triggers multiple policy periods, each insurer is severally and independently liable for the complete defense and is not entitled to seek defense from a “self-insured”)
Tosoh SET v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 2007 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3452 (advertising injury coverage includes direct as well as indirect forms of disparagement)
Hyundai Motor America v. National Fire Ins. Co., 600 F.3d 1092 (advertising injury coverage includes allegations of patent infringement concerning website design)
Nucor v. Employers of Wausau, 296 P. 3rd 74 (addressing a number of landmark issues related to the company’s insurance recovery eﬀorts related to environmental claims)
Selected as a Best Lawyer for Insurance Law, Commercial Litigation and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, Best Lawyers in America, 2006-present. Also named Lawyer of the Year for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, San Francisco, 2020. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Best Lawyers’ webpage.
Selected as a Top Rated Insurance Coverage Attorney in San Francisco, CA, Super Lawyers, 2004-present. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Super Lawyers’ webpage.
Co-author, Appropriateness of Medical Monitoring Awards in Mass Tort Cases, BNA Toxics Law Reporter, October 2011
Co-author, Ameron International: Expanding Insurance Recovery for Administrative Environmental Proceedings, Environmental Claims Journal, April 2011
Co-author, Environmental Law, ABA Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, January 2011
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