Daniel F. Sullivan

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Dan Sullivan is a trial lawyer who represents clients in complex commercial disputes, with an emphasis on insurance coverage and extra-contractual claims litigation. He has represented clients in state and federal courts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. He has been involved in appeals to the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, and Fourth Circuits and the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Connecticut, as well as numerous arbitration and mediation proceedings. He has substantial trial experience, having tried more than 25 matters to verdict, final judgment, or final arbitration decision.

    Insurance Coverage Litigation

    Mr. Sullivan’s work representing insurance companies in complex property insurance coverage litigation includes serving as counsel for insurers in significant cases arising from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Katrina, and the September 11 terrorist attacks.  He has also litigated cases involving losses to residences and businesses arising from catastrophic fires and explosions, mold contamination, defective workmanship, and construction defects. In addition, he has litigated significant cases arising under liability, marine, boiler and machinery, and builders’ risk policies.

    His experience includes coordinating a major insurer’s investigation, coverage analysis and litigation regarding claims for damages associated with Chinese-made drywall; representation of a commercial property insurer in a case involving a $100 million claim by a publicly traded company for claimed losses arising from an arson fire; and representation of an insurance carrier in coverage litigation initiated by a major Roman Catholic archdiocese seeking coverage for a multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

    Business Litigation

    Mr. Sullivan has also represented other businesses in a broad spectrum of commercial litigation. He was lead litigation and trial counsel for an international pharmaceutical company in its initial response to, investigation of, and litigation arising from an explosion that resulted in serious personal injuries and significant property damage. He has represented financial institutions in challenges to the validity of mortgages and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS). Most recently, he assisted in the successful defense of a national actuarial firm in a malpractice case involving claims asserted by a municipal pension system. His other case experience includes the trial and appeal of dissolution and shareholder derivative actions which established the scope of the business judgment rule in the state of Connecticut and a murder case that was a case study on the issue of time of death in Dr. Henry Lee's book Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crime.

    Mr. Sullivan has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Insurance Law since 2006 (Copyright 2014 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC) and in Connecticut and New England Super Lawyers® in the area of Insurance Coverage since 2007 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.). For ten years, he was a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he developed and taught a graduate-level course in property insurance law. He frequently speaks on insurance and litigation-related issues to bar and industry organizations and provides in-house training sessions to insurance company personnel on coverage issues and trial tactics. Mr. Sullivan previously served as co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Section and chair of the firm’s Insurance and Reinsurance Practice Group.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Representing commercial property insurers in coverage actions involving claims arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
      • Representing commercial property insurer in litigation involving $100 million property insurance claim by publicly traded company for claimed losses arising from arson fire and in related bankruptcy, criminal, and civil enforcement actions.
      • Represented commercial property insurers in several multimillion-dollar cases and claims involving business interruption losses in lower Manhattan arising from September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
      • Represented party in reinsurance dispute and litigated issue about whether arbitrations relating to 12 different reinsurance agreements could be consolidated into a single arbitration.
      • Represented party in reinsurance dispute concerning payment by reinsurer of share of settlement of coverage dispute related to underlying asbestos-related claims; issues included dispute over appointment of umpire for arbitration.
      • Represented insurer in claim brought by a seller of Christian-based inspirational gift items, such as T-shirts and Bible covers, to recover business interruption losses and expenses in excess of $10 million and bad faith damages following a fire that damaged the insured's warehouse and inventory. Robinson & Cole prepared the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment on several significant issues to the litigation and in opposition to plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. The firm also assisted local counsel in preparing the joint pretrial order and provided guidance regarding settlement negotiations and drafting the settlement agreement. The case settled shortly before trial with a settlement favorable to insurer.
      • Other Significant Matters

      • Lead trial counsel in defense of $100 million Hurricane Katrina commercial property case. First Hurricane Katrina case the client insurance company allowed before a New Orleans jury. Tried to successful verdict and settled on appeal for less than 2% of the claim.
      • Significant Reported Decisions

      • Travco v. Ward 468 Fed. Appx. 195 (4th Cir. 2012) and 284 Va. 547 (Va., 2012), (US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and Virginia Supreme Court) – This was the nation's leading case on the question of whether coverage existed under property insurance policies for losses caused by the presence of Chinese Drywall. We brought this declaratory judgment action on behalf of the insurer, which was a Travelers subsidiary. We successfully obtained summary judgment from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On appeal, after briefing and argument, the US Fourth Circuit certified most of the coverage issues to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Virginia Supreme Court then affirmed the rulings of the federal district court, and the US Fourth Circuit subsequently affirmed the judgment in its entirety. Steve Goldman argued the motion for summary judgment before the district court and the appeals in both the US Fourth Circuit and the Virginia Supreme Court.

      • Other Experiences

      • Represented insurance carrier in coverage litigation initiated by major Roman Catholic archdiocese seeking coverage for multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.
    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      University of Connecticut School of Law
      Insurance Law Center, Adjunct Faculty (1998 - 2008)

      American Bar Association
      Section of Litigation
      Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Past Vice Chair of Property Insurance Law Committee

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Insurance Law Section
      Litigation Section

      Rhode Island Bar Association
      Federal Court Bench and Bar Committee
      Superior Court Bench and Bar Committee

      Defense Counsel of Rhode Island

      Federal Bar Association

      Defense Research Institute
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Insurance Law since 2006 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Insurance Coverage since 2007 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Property Insurance Litigation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: The Early Results," published in CPCU Society Claims Quarterly, co-authored with Gregory P. Varga and Christopher F. Girard (11/2006)

      "Insurance Coverage Litigation in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," published in CPCU Society Claims Quarterly, coauthor (12/2005)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," published in Tort and Insurance Law Journal at (2000)

      "Applying the Efficient Proximate Cause Doctrine in First-Party Coverage Disputes," published in CGL Reporter (1999)

      "The Standard Mortgage Clause in Property Insurance Policies," published in Tort and Insurance Law Journal at (1997)

      "Explore Hartford: Twenty Terrific Tours,"

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Let’s Agree to Agree: Undisputed Amounts and Partial Payments," co-presented with Laura Farach, at the Spring Meeting for the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s Property Insurance Law Committee in Orlando, Florida. (4/7/2017)
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      "Preparing for and Providing Testimony in a Fire Case," co-presented with Eugene P. Murphy, at the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention 39th Annual Seminar, held at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala, Florida (3/8/2017)
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      "Cross Examination of Experts," Mr. Sullivan was invited by representatives of the Connecticut Office of the Chief State's Attorney to present at the Connecticut Fire Academy's annual Advanced Fire Training Session (5/4/2016)
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      "Property Coverage Legal Update 2006: Hurricane Katrina and Beyond," at New England Claims Executives Association, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga (11/14/2006)

      "Weathering the Storm: An Update on First-Party Coverage Litigation Arising from Hurricane Katrina," at CPCU Society, Connecticut Chapter, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga (11/9/2006)

      "Hurricane Katrina: New Challenges Facing the Insurance Industry," at New England Claims Executives Association (11/8/2005)

      "Recent Developments in Discovery in Insurance Coverage Cases," at Connecticut Bar Association Insurance Law Section (5/18/2005)

      "Overview of Recent Bad Faith Cases Impacting Trials," at TIPS Property Insurance Law Committee program "Partnering With Counsel From Claim to Verdict: Bad Faith Trial of a Mold Claim" (4/12/2002)

      "Ordinance and Law Coverage," at New England Claims Executives Association, co-presented with Gerald P. Dwyer Jr. (3/12/2002)

      "The Economic Loss Doctrine," at program for mid-winter meeting of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section's Property Insurance Law Committee of the American Bar Association, "Subrogation – Investigation Through Litigation," Pebble Beach, California (4/15/2000)

      "Appraisal for the New Millennium," at half-day seminar for New England Claims Executives Association (4/13/1999)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (3/9/1999)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at National Business Institute (NBI) seminars (1/20 to 1/21/1999)

      "Collapse Coverage," at program at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "What Claims Professionals and Attorneys Should Know About Concurrent Causation, Ensuing Loss, and Collapse," New York, New York (12/14/1998)

      "What Is Efficient Proximate Cause," at ABA's Annual Meeting program of the TIPS, "Hot Button Topics in Property Insurance Coverage: Concurrent Causation, Ensuing Loss, and Collapse," Toronto, Ontario (8/1/1998)

      "Collapses Not Covered: Excluded Property and Settling, Cracking, Shrinkage, Bulging, or Expansion," at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "Collapse Coverage," Chicago, Illinois (6/11/1998)

      "Recent Developments in Civil and Criminal Fire Cases," at IAAI, Connecticut chapter (3/18/1998)

      "Meeting the Obligations of Good Faith and Fair Dealing," at Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) (3/6/1998)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (1/13/1998)

      "Maximizing Subrogation Recovery," at Blue Ridge Insurance Company, June 10, 1997; Travelers Property Casualty, June 20, 1997 (6/1997)

      "Contractual Period of Limitations, Fraud, and Concealment," at regional meeting of the TIPS' Property Insurance Law Committee of the ABA, "The First-Party Property Policy: Policy Conditions & Policy Defenses," Chicago, Illinois (5/1997)

      "Insuring to Value," at Connecticut Insurance Day (4/1997)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at NBI seminars (1/1997)

      "Recent Developments in Civil and Criminal Arson Cases," at Connecticut chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) (6/1996)

      "Recent Developments in Property Insurance Law," at New England Claims Executives Association (3/1996)

      "Emerging Issues in Insurance Claims Litigation, 'Practical Aspects of Litigating of Concurrent Causation and Pollution Cases Under First-Party Policies'," at Lorman Education Services seminar (4/1995)

      "Bad Faith Litigation in Connecticut," at NBI seminars (2/1995)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • April 20, 2017

        Insurance Group Lawyers Present on Undisputed Amounts and Partial Payments

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      • March 24, 2017

        Insurance + Reinsurance Group Lawyers Present at 39th Annual Arson Seminar

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      • May 18, 2016

        Dan Sullivan Presents at Connecticut Fire Academy’s Training Session

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • August 19, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • September 12, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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