Carl J. Pernicone Partner




Carl Pernicone is co-chair of the firm’s Insurance-Reinsurance Coverage practice. Carl has extensive experience with matters involving toxic tort and environmental liability claims, including property insurance claims. He also applies the skill set he has developed in handling complicated environmental issues to assist insurers facing claims in emerging coverage areas such as climate change and clean energy technologies.

Carl adds value to his client relationships through responsiveness and regular follow up. He takes the time to get to know the issues of interest to each of his clients – including issues not related to projects Carl is handling for them– and frequently will pass along relevant news articles, email alerts or other materials to his clients. Carl also provides regular follow up on key topics of interest to attendees of educational programs he has presented.

In addition to his legal practice, Carl manages Wilson Elser’s national attorney training program and is chair of the Associate Development Committee. 

Areas of Focus

Insurance-Reinsurance Coverage
For more than two decades, Carl has represented insurers and reinsurers across the country as counsel of record in complex, high-exposure insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes in state and federal courts. In addition to litigating matters, he analyzes coverage, issues coverage opinions, prepares reservation of rights and disclaimer letters, drafts policy wording, and drafts insurance coverage settlement and “buyback” agreements.

Much of Carl’s work concerns coverage disputes arising from so-called “long-tail” injury claims, such as those involving asbestos, lead, silica, workplace chemical exposure and environmental liability. More recently, Carl has applied his extensive experience assisting insurance companies with long-term pollution cases from the 1980s and 1990s to address coverage implications for his clients in emerging areas such as climate change liability and hydrofracking for natural gas trapped in shale.

Currently, Carl is counseling insurers on the coverage implications of claims brought by plaintiffs residing in the vicinity of hydofracking operations. The plaintiffs are seeking medical monitoring for future injury due to the potential seepage of fracturing fluid into groundwater and the potential release of methane gas during the natural gas extraction process. In addition to such toxic tort and property damage claims, Carl is counseling insurers on potential product liability claims alleging defective drilling equipment.

Many of these same issues are surfacing in connection with other clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and Carl presently is involved in analyzing them on behalf of his insurer clients.

Representative Matters

Budofsky v. Hartford Insurance Co. (seminal New York decision sustaining applicability of absolute pollution exclusion for environmental claims)

Maryland Casualty Co. v. W.R. Grace & Co,

In Re Union Carbide Corporation Multi-State Environmental Coverage Litigation

G. Heilman Brewing Co. v. Royal Group, Inc, et al.

Borg-Warner Corporation v. INA, et al.

In Re Babcock & Wilcox asbestos bankruptcy proceeding

In Re W. R. Grace asbestos bankruptcy proceeding

In Re Federal-Mogul Corporation asbestos bankruptcy proceeding

In Re Quigley asbestos bankruptcy proceeding