Kara Thorvaldsen Partner




Kara Thorvaldsen is a seasoned commercial litigator, representing clients from pre-suit investigation through the exhaustion of appeals. Her primary areas of focus are professional liability, intellectual property, class action defense, insurance coverage and all types of appeals. Kara has a strong record of success in defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers, and company directors, officers and trustees, and in many cases has obtained summary judgments or voluntary dismissals for her clients. In addition, Kara has defended trademark, copyright and unfair competition claims in the federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A polished and passionate oral advocate, Kara has broad experience arguing appeals, including in the Rhode Island Supreme Court and First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pro Bono & Community Involvement
Committed to giving back, Kara is a long-time member of Wilson Elser’s Pro Bono Committee and has been the coordinator for the firm’s Boston office pro bono efforts since 2007. She regularly provides direct pro bono representation to immigrant children through KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), and has volunteered with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Clinic, which provides representation to low-income survivors of domestic violence in family court matters. In addition, Kara is a member of the board of directors of DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), which conducts community outreach and education through presentations, workshops and trainings for health and social service providers, businesses, faith-based groups, community and civic groups, and others. DOVE also operates a prevention initiative presently working with a number of high schools.

Areas of Focus

Class Actions & Complex Litigation
With experience defending class actions in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts, Kara takes a proactive approach to defending complex and potentially high-profile cases. From targeted motions to dismiss, strategic early settlements, carefully staged discovery and zealous advocacy against class certification to overseeing the administration of complex class-wide settlements, she is able to provide valuable insight and guidance as to strategic options for the defense of class actions, and successfully implement those strategies to further the client’s legal and business objectives. 

Kara has significant experience defending federal statutory claims brought either as individual or class claims, including claims under the False Claims Act, Lanham Act, Copyright Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act and RICO. Kara specializes in balancing an aggressive defense of these claims with the objective of achieving efficient and cost-effective resolutions. She also has experience defending constitutional and civil rights claims, including police misconduct and due process and equal protection claims in state and federal court. She handles cases arising under state and federal fair employment practices statutes and has appeared before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and in state and federal court in defense of these claims.

Kara has successfully handled appeals in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals and Supreme Judicial Court, and in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits. Kara has exceptional research, analytical and writing skills and is a highly effective oral advocate. Her ability to review a record to identify appealable issues and her familiarity with the specialized area of appellate practice and procedure make her an invaluable resource to parties considering the availability and advisability of pursuing an appeal.

Kara regularly provides coverage opinions and represents first- and third-party insurers in coverage and bad faith actions. She also has experience defending insurance carriers against claims brought under ERISA as well as state laws relating to the denial of long-term disability and life insurance claims. Kara has successfully represented insurers on appeal in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits. In addition, she served as a senior editor on the CGL Reporter editorial board. Written by members of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section, the CGL Reporter is a monthly publication that provides annotations of the most critical insurance cases involving general liability and other business-related policies.

Intellectual Property, Media & Internet Law
Kara has significant experience defending cases involving allegations of trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets and related claims. In addition, she has handled claims involving website accessibility, “astro-turfing” and other claims unique to internet exposures. Kara regularly represents clients at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in opposition and cancellation proceedings. In addition to advising clients regarding litigation, she is able to provide counsel regarding trademark and copyright registrations, licensing agreements and intellectual property audits. She serves as the Vice Chair of Publications in the DRI Intellectual Property Litigation Committee and sits on its steering committee. Kara also is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA).

Professional Liability
Kara has extensive experience defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers. Working closely with her clients to understand their professional and personal objectives, Kara assists them in resolving disputes while protecting their reputations and businesses with a minimum of disruption.

Admiralty & Maritime
Having earned a certificate in Admiralty and Maritime Law from Tulane Law School, Kara has a solid background in the complex procedural and substantive issues that arise in this highly specialized area of law. She has defended marine insurers in coverage disputes and litigated maritime personal injury claims, including actions brought under the federal Limitation of Liability Act.

Representative Matters

Summary judgment on behalf of a private investigator sued for invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Affirmation of dismissal of federal civil rights claims against demolition contractor in wrongful demolition case.

Summary judgment for excess insurer where insured did not provide timely notice of claim and breached voluntary payments provision.

Summary judgment in favor of umbrella insurer, holding that primary coverage under multiple policies was triggered by allegations in underlying claim.

Bad faith claim brought by primary insurer against client excess insurer, summary judgment denied, where court accepted our novel argument that inequitable conduct of primary insurer may preclude it from relying on the anti-subrogation doctrine under New York law.

Dismissal of FCRA and FDCPA claims as a matter of law for failure to state a claim.

Partial dismissal of state and federal civil rights claims against private investigator for failure to state a claim.

Dismissal of bad faith claim in coverage case, resulting in favorable settlement on coverage issue.

Denial of class certification in “copyright troll” case; subsequent favorable ruling on fee application after individual case was settled for $3,179.52, awarding $31,795 fee rather than $362,767 fee requested by plaintiff’s counsel.

Partial summary judgment on fraud claims against attorney client.

Summary judgment on FDCPA and M.G.L. c. 93A claims; summary judgment granted on grounds of res judicata affirmed on appeal.

Dismissal of attorney general suit against attorney client from bankruptcy proceedings for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Summary judgment affirmed for travel agency where plaintiff alleged she was sexually assaulted while on spring break trip.

Reversal of $3 million jury verdict for erroneous denial of motion for directed verdict.

Dismissal of claims brought by former client against attorney pursuant to Anti-SLAPP statute, with award of fees and costs.