Our Litigation Practice Group represents clients in virtually all aspects of commercial and business litigation, arbitration, and mediation. Our mission is simple: achieve our clients' dispute resolution objectives in a practical and efficient manner. In doing so, we take great pride in working closely with our clients to formulate and execute the correct approach to minimize risk, manage the costs of litigation, and meet our clients' goals.
Our litigators represent clients in a broad range of disputes in state and federal trial, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. We advise clients in a variety of alternative dispute resolution matters across the country, with an emphasis in the states of Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho.
Successful Defense of Wrongful Death Claim and Insurance Coverage
Successfully settled two lawsuits filed against our client, an industrial machine manufacturing service company.
An industrial accident in which an employee was killed on the job led to a lawsuit against our client in which the employee's widow sought $1.9 million in damages. Our client's workers' compensation insurance carrier denied coverage, claiming the lawsuit was barred by the Exclusive Remedy Statute, or, in the alternative, that the loss was not covered under the Intentional Loss Exclusion in the insurance policy. This denial of coverage left our client facing a lawsuit in which the damages sought would have put it out of business.
A vigorous defense of the suit by our team of attorneys led to a settlement with the widow for $400,000, a fraction of the damages originally sued for.
Sussman then turned around and sued the workers' compensation insurance company, claiming a breach of duty in their denial of coverage. Complex and aggressive litigation ensued, with both sides exchanging discovery requests and filing Motions for Summary Judgment. In the end, the judge ruled that the insurance company had breached its duty. The judge ordered the insurance company to pay 100% of Sussman's fees and 85% of the settlement Sussman reached with the widow.
Almost a year and a half of litigation ended with our client getting back nearly all of what it paid to settle the original suit, including the fees incurred by our team in negotiating that settlement and then getting the insurance company to pay up. As a result, our client is quite pleased with the level of legal expertise offered by Sussman Shank.
Sussman Shank Prevails in Lease Guaranty Arbitration
We successfully defended a lease guaranty claim brought against Terri Waldroff by the landlords including Security and Investment Company of Lake Oswego, LLC. Waldroff was a minority member of the tenant of an assisted living facility in LaConner, Washington, and was sued by the landlords for amounts allegedly owed under the lease. Sussman Shank successfully argued that the landlords modified the risk under the guaranty which extinguished the guaranty. The arbitrator also awarded Waldroff her attorney fees. The arbitration award may not be appealed. Sussman Shank Partner Aaron Besen also assisted with his knowledge of the long term care industry and review of the commercial documentation.