A thought leader” and “fierce advocate” who is “really smart and fun to work with
Chambers

Joan Cotkin litigates a complex variety of disputes with a particular emphasis on insurance recovery and commercial litigation, while also providing coverage counseling.

Joan assists clients in setting up insurance programs appropriate to their needs, working with brokers including Marsh, AON, A.J. Gallagher and many others to ensure appropriate insurance coverages are in place that will address the risks inherent in major construction projects and other business enterprises. Joan has provided thousands of detailed coverage opinions through the years.

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A commercial litigator with more than 40 years of experience that includes taking many complex business disputes through trial in state and federal courts, Joan has helped her corporate and public sector clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance proceeds by successfully litigating landmark cases, including appeals in state and circuit courts. Joan provides tailored advice on insurance matters in areas including, directors and officers coverage, property and liability insurance, intellectual property coverage, excess insurance coverage, professional liability defense, and bad faith litigation.

Joan advises clients on a wide variety of insurance claims under CGL policies, D&O, E&O, Cyber Insurance, Patent Insurance and other forms of liability coverages, Property and other first party insurance recoveries, including disability and life claims, in state and federal courts. In addition, she has counseled many private and private/public partnerships to tailor insurance programs appropriate to their needs.

Finally, Joan has served as a qualified expert witness and testified in State and Federal Court, and in arbitrations on insurance industry related issues since 1993. 

Representative Experience

Served as counsel for owner/builder Americana at Brand negotiating coverage under the OCIP primary and excess insurer in connection with multiple claims.


Provided advice and counseling on insurance programs for J.D. Powers at renewal including negotiation for manuscripted forms.


Provided advice and counseling on insurance program for international freight-forwarder Rock-It Cargo, including negotiation for manuscripted forms.

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  • Provided advice and counseling for James Perse Enterprises on insurance program in connection with various construction projects, which included general contractors and related AI insurance issues.
  • Provided advice and counseling on insurance program for Regency Skyport on major construction project.
  • Provided advice and counseling to Tiara at Northgate on insurance program for major construction project including interplay between WRAP coverages and AI insurance.
  • Served as counsel for the State of California in decades-long multi-phase litigation assisting in recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance proceeds to defend and settle pollution liability claims arising from the Stringfellow Acid Pits litigation. Established the right of policyholders to stack limits in the California Supreme Court opinion State of California v. Continental.
  • Recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the City of Pomoma to defend and settle pollution liability claims.
  • In Stonewall v. PVE, recovered millions in 18 years long complex insurance coverage action relating to the loss of more than 20 homes due to underground landslide.
  • On behalf of LA Gear, recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance proceeds to defend and settle trademark and patent infringement, unfair competition, and securities violation claims.
  • On behalf of Hyundai Motor America, recovered millions of dollars of insurance proceeds to defend and settle patent infringement claims.
  • On behalf of Robbins Research International Inc., recovered millions of dollars of insurance proceeds to defend and settle copyright infringement and employment claims.
  • In Britz Fertilizers Inc. v. Nationwide, served as lead counsel in major policyholder recovery action in regard to products liability and reformation claims under $10 million umbrella insuring agribusiness.
  • In XL Specialty Ins. Et al v. Perry et al., assisted in the insurance recovery for the FDIC in relation to the settlements and verdicts arising out of the FDIC's claims against the directors and officers of Indymac.
  • In Hawker et al v. BancInsure et al., assisted in the insurance recovery action for the FDIC in relation to the $48 million judgment against County Bank officers.

Professional Highlights

Chosen for individual recognition for Insurance Law in California by Chambers USA, 2016-2018


Named to California’s “Top Women Attorneys” list in 2016 by The Daily Journal


AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

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  • Selected to the Super Lawyers List for 2006-2018
  • Named a National Law Journal Trail Blazer in Litigation
  • Named one of "California's Top Women Litigators" by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, twice
  • Chair in 2008 of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the Torts and Insurance Practice Section of the ABA, and a continuous member for more than 23 years, often speaking at the seminars.
  • Often published in Insurance Law 360, has published many articles in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, numerous blog posts and extensive articles in ABA publications such as The Brief.

  • Contributing editor in the Rutter Practice Guide Insurance Litigation most recently updating the section on bad faith Liability defenses, (Chapter 12D) at the request of the editors.

  • Current member of the ABA Litigation Section ICLC as well as the TIPS Section ICLC.

Education

  • J.D., Villanova University School of Law, 1976

    B.A., Mills College, 1972

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • U.S. District Courts for the Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California

    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit