Kristina Marsh and Burke Lopez Successfully Obtain Summary Judgment for Commercial Trucking Insurer

July 26, 2016

Kristina L. Marsh and Burke G. Lopez,  partners in the Insurance Services and Personal Injury and Property Damage practice groups respectively at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, successfully defended a declaratory judgment and equitable subrogation action against a firm insurance client involving an insurance coverage dispute between two commercial trucking insurers. The primary issue in the case was: which insurer was responsible for providing insurance coverage for an underlying personal injury claim and lawsuit brought against the insurers' respective insureds? Secondarily, if both are responsible, which policy is primary? Tina and Burke argued, for and on behalf of the client, that the other insurer was responsible and/or primary. The Middle District of Florida agreed. According to the Middle District, our client's policy did not provide coverage for the underlying tractor-trailer accident, because it was specifically excluded by an endorsement which states that "coverage does not apply to brokerage or freight forwarding by or at the direction of the insured or his employees. This includes actual or alleged negligent hiring or placement; training or supervision; and negligent acts, errors or omissions." Based on the language of the endorsement, the argument was made that the policy did not provide coverage for the loss because its insured had acted as a broker during the subject transaction. After analyzing the definition for the term broker and comparing it to the undisputed material facts of the case, the Court held that our policy did not provide coverage and the Plaintiff, insurer, is primarily liable for the debt.

Kristina Marsh is a Circuit Civil Mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida and devotes a percentage of her practice to mediating a broad range of civil disputes, including but not limited to Personal Injury, Insurance Coverage Disputes, Commercial, Construction, Disputes involving Homeowner/Condominium Associations, and Bad Faith. 

In addition to her mediation practice, Ms. Marsh is an experienced civil litigator whose diverse practice includes insurance coverage cases, commercial disputes, personal injury, products liability, premises liability and construction defect litigation. While a large percentage of her practice is focused on matters involving first party insurance coverage and disputes arising from property damage claims and losses related to Windstorms, Sinkholes, Water & Flood, Plumbing Leaks, Roofing Failures, Fire, Arson, Theft, and Mold, she also defends individuals, businesses, agencies, and institutions in various types of third party claims, including: Slip & Fall, Premises Liability, Homeowner Liability, Automotive Liability, and Construction Defect from inception through appeal.  She has been involved in several noteworthy cases involving breach of an insurance contract and interpretation of the terms, conditions, and exclusions contained within an insurance policy. In addition to managing her diverse practice, as a Mediator Ms. Marsh appreciates the expense and risk of litigation and works closely with her clients to find ways to achieve an early resolution and minimize expense, where possible.

Burke Lopez is a civil trial lawyer experienced in handling a diverse case load involving coverage issues, commercial disputes, personal injury, products liability, premises liability and wrongful death litigation. He has been lead counsel in numerous jury trials, and has defended significant trucking and transportation cases, large retailers, restaurants, private security firms, food distributors, taxi and limousine companies property insurers and third party administrators in Florida state and federal courts.

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a national law firm with approximately 500 attorneys providing coordinated legal services across the United States and in London. Hinshaw lawyers partner with businesses, governmental entities and individuals to help them effectively address legal challenges and seize opportunities. Founded in 1934, the firm represents clients in complex litigation and in regulatory and transactional matters.