Godfrey & Kahn's Insurance & Reinsurance Practice Group has long been nationally known as the premier insurance law practice serving insurance companies conducting business in Wisconsin.
We provide litigation and other services to Wisconsin-based, foreign and alien insurance companies, reinsurers and insurance trade associations through our Madison, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Appleton and Green Bay offices.
The firm has worked with insurance companies for over 50 years, helping them address their most difficult complications and claims. Our attorneys maintain their knowledge of the industry and its issues through insurance-related activities, including regular participation and leadership roles in the Defense Research Institute and International Association of Defense Counsel, and the International Association of Insurance Receivers, as well as regular attendance at National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) quarterly meetings. Through this experience, we have have built a solid reputation as a leader in this industry.
**Listed by A.M. Best Company as Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys.
The following is a sample of cases in which the firm has represented the insurance industry or insurance interests in past years:
Estate of Sustache v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 2008 WI 87, 751 N.W.2d 845
The Wisconsin Supreme Court applied the "four corners" rule of insurance contract construction, as the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance suggested, and held that American Family had no duty to defend its insureds in the underlying lawsuit claiming battery.
Richards v. Badger Mut. Ins. Co., 2008 WI 52, 749 N.W.2d 581
In this case, Godfrey & Kahn attorneys represented two amicus curiae, arguing successfully that a passenger in a car was not jointly and severally liable for a drunk driving accident, even though the passenger had helped to procure alcohol for the minor driver.
Muller v. Society Ins., 2008 WI 50, 309 Wis. 2d 410, 750 N.W.2d 1
Our team successfully argued to the State Supreme Court, on behalf of several amicus curiae, that the "made whole" doctrine should not apply in this subrogation case.
Kontowicz v. American Standard Ins. Co. of Wisconsin, 2006 WI 48, 290 Wis. 2d 302, 714 N.W.2d 105
In this case, our team was retained to represent the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance and Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin as amicus counsel in a suit involving the proper interpretation of a Wisconsin statute purporting to add interest to claims under liability insurance policies.
Progressive Northern Ins. Co. v. Romanshek, 2005 WI 67, 281 Wis. 2d 300, 697 N.W.2d 417
In this case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted our argument, on behalf of the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, that the phrase "hit-and-run" within the definition of "uninsured motor vehicle" in Wis. Stat. § 632.32(4)(a)2.b. requires physical contact between the insured vehicle and the unknown vehicle.
Gohde v. MSI Insurance Company, 2003 WI 128, 265 Wis. 2d 412, 668 N.W.2d 556
This case involves interpretation of a reducing clause in the uninsured and underinsured coverage of an auto policy. In response to a petition for review filed by our firm, the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted the petition, summarily vacated the Court of Appeals' decision, and remanded this case to that court for consideration in light of Folkman v. Quamme, 2003 WI 116, decided by the Supreme Court July 16, 2003.
Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 2003 WI 108, 264 Wis. 2d 60, 665 N.W.2d 257
Attorneys from our firm argued on appeal that environmental cleanup costs incurred in response to government suits and regulatory demands were not covered "damages" under general liability insurance policies.
Wistrom v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, 2002 WI App 1, 249 Wis. 2d 489, 639 N.W.2d 224 (unpublished opinion)
In a case involving a potentially sensitive issue, our attorneys established that workers' compensation carriers do not violate Wisconsin's medical records privacy laws by communicating with medical and pharmaceutical providers about a patient's care.
Guzman v. St. Francis Hosp., 2001 WI App. 21, 240 Wis. 2d 559, 623 N.W.2d 776
In this appeal, attorneys from our appellate team argued successfully that the legislative cap on the recovery of non-economic damages in medical malpractice actions was constitutional.
Dowhower v. West Bend Mut. Ins. Co., 2000 WI 73, 236 Wis. 2d 113, 613 N.W.2d 557
Our attorneys represented the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, as amicus curiae, in this appeal before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Court accepted the Alliance's position that the statute authorizing reducing clauses in uninsured and underinsured automobile policies does not violate the substantive due process clauses in the state and federal constitutions.
Neiman v. American National Property & Cas. Co., 2000 WI 83, 236 Wis. 2d 411, 613 N.W.2d 160
Our attorneys represented several amicus curiae, including the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance and the Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. We successfully argued that retroactively increasing the damage cap for wrongful death cases violates the due process protections guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions.
Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund v. Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin, 2000 WI App 248, 239 Wis. 2d 360, 620 N.W.2d 457
Our attorneys represented the Patients Compensation Fund in this appeal involving the obligations of defense counsel engaged pursuant to Chapter 655, Stats., arguing that defense counsel owed duties to both the Fund, as excess carrier, and to the insurer as well, in medical malpractice actions.
Lee Moua v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 230 Wis. 2d 747, 604 N.W.2d 34 (Ct. App. 1999) (unpublished decision)
In this appeal, we successfully argued that an insurer's practice of settling small claims involving minors without seeking court approval does not constitute actionable misrepresentation under Wisconsin law.
General Casualty of Wisconsin v. Hills, 209 Wis. 2d 167, 561 N.W.2d 718 (1997)
In this appeal, we appeared as amicus counsel on behalf of the Alliance of American Insurers and argued that the "as damages" provision of a general liability insurance policy barred insurance coverage for environmental contamination and government response costs associated with cleanup of a recycling site.
Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund v. St. Mary's Hospital of Milwaukee, 209 Wis. 2d 17, 561 N.W.2d 797 (Ct. App. 1997)
Our firm's lawyers won a $4.8MM judgment for the Patients Compensation Fund after the Fund's claim that a health care provider did not qualify as a statutory self-insurer was upheld on appeal.
Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund v. Wisconsin Health Care Liab. Ins. Plan, 200 Wis. 2d 599, 547 N.W.2d 578 (1996)
In this case, our lawyers argued successfully to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the Patients Compensation Fund has a claim of contribution against a primary health care liability insurer, relying upon the statutory structure and purpose of the Fund.
Steinberg, et al. v. Jensen, 194 Wis. 2d 439, 534 N.W.2d 361 (1995)
In an appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, we represented the interests of the Patients Compensation Fund and one of its physician-insureds. The case involved an alleged ex parte discovery contact by defense counsel of a plaintiff's treating physicians in connection with a medical malpractice claim. The Fund was able to prevail in the position that no improper discovery tactics and no violation of the physician-patient privilege had occurred.
Leverence v. PFS Corp., 193 Wis. 2d 317, 532 N.W.2d 735 (1995)
In this case involving hundreds of personal injury claims, lawyers from our firm successfully asserted that a trial court's use of a novel technique, known as aggregation, to eliminate a jury trial of individual product liability claims violated the Wisconsin Constitution's jury trial guarantee.
Weiss v. United Fire & Casualty Co.,197 Wis. 2d 365, 541 N.W.2d 753 (1995)
In this case, lawyers in our firm argued as amicus counsel about whether expert testimony was necessary to establish bad faith in a first-party fire insurance claim.
Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Jackson, 190 Wis. 2d 597, 527 N.W.2d 681 (1995)
In this dispute involving a reinsurer and certain underwriters at Lloyds of London, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the circuit court had authority to confirm an arbitrator appointed under a retrocessional reinsurance treaty, allowing selection of a party's arbitrator by that party's opponent. Our lawyers argued successfully that the arbitrator chosen pursuant to the "adverse selection" clause of the treaties was properly appointed and entitled to serve in the arbitration.
Erickson v. Gundersen, 183 Wis. 2d 106, 515 N.W.2d 293 (Ct. App. 1994)
Lawyers from our firm argued that the Patients Compensation Fund had not reached an accord and satisfaction with a health care provider in connection with a medical malpractice claim settlement. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the trial court, finding that an actual settlement agreement existed and should be enforced.
Ready v. Yap, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Appeal No. 91-0152 (Ct. App. 1991)
In this appeal, we aligned as amicus counsel for the State Medical Society, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the American Medical Association with the Patients Compensation Fund in arguing that the non-economic damage cap contained in Chapter 655, Stats., was constitutional in this case involving a multimillion dollar damage verdict.
Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Smith, 154 Wis. 2d 1999, 453 N.W.2d 856 (1990)
This appeal, argued by our firm's lawyers, involved the reporting and delivery requirements of Wisconsin's unclaimed property law for uncashed workers' compensation claim payments. The Supreme Court determined the treatment and disposition of millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property after considering the insurer's arguments involving statutory construction and constitutional limitations of both Wisconsin's unclaimed property and workers' compensation laws.