Kieran W. Leary Of Counsel

     

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Kieran Leary advises and represents insurers in coverage litigation through trial and appeal, with a particular concentration in complex and high-exposure first-party property and third-party liability claims. As part of his nationwide practice, Kieran has been retained regularly in connection with COVID-19 business interruption lawsuits, hurricane and hail; leaking pipes, fire, defective construction, and sexual abuse claims and lawsuits.

Kieran served as lead trial and co-appellate counsel in the seminal Connecticut Supreme Court case Karas v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 335 Conn. 62, 228 A.3d 1012 (2019), which resolved the crumbling foundation “collapse” litigation decisively in favor of insurers ‒ a decision that saved the insurance industry $2 billion. He also successfully served as lead trial and appellate counsel in Dino v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., identified by Law360 in its top daily story as one of “4 Insurance Battles to Watch at State High Courts” in Fall 2019. Dino concerned the appropriate trigger of coverage for a supposed progressive first-party property loss.

In 2019, The Connecticut Law Tribune recognized Kieran’s coverage team as the Insurance Coverage Litigation Department of the Year for the numerous favorable rulings of first impression obtained by Kieran in first-party property coverage litigation.

Kieran began his career as a public defender in Tampa, Florida, before transitioning to private practice. Raised between Northwest Philadelphia and Harris County, Texas, Kieran dedicated his summers in college to educational and literacy outreach efforts in Philadelphia’s most impoverished and crime-afflicted neighborhoods on behalf of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. He credits his upbringing and proven dedication to his community as key components of his unique coverage perspective that led to his successes in practice.

In addition to his litigation practice, Kieran is a frequent speaker on insurance-related issues, including the latest developments in appraisal and first-party claims in Texas, COVID-19 business interruption lawsuits and coverage issues pertaining to rip-and-tear costs.

Areas of Focus

Property & Casualty Bad Faith Litigation
As part of an experienced litigation team that focuses on defending insurers and adjusters, Kieran possesses the experience and ability necessary to prevail at trial and on appeal in complex coverage and bad faith cases. In addition to his successes as first chair in trials concerning multimillion-dollar property losses, Kieran has prevailed on behalf of clients in multiple seminal first-party appellate cases featured as the top daily stories on Law360 and in Claims Journal.

Representative Matters

Karas v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 335 Conn. 62, 228 A.3d 1012 (2019) (Substantial impairment of structural integrity standard applies to “collapse” provisions of homeowners’ policy and requires a showing that the building is in imminent danger of falling down or caving in; and coverage exclusion for loss to foundation includes the basement walls). 

Obtained declaratory judgment and dismissal of counterclaim in Western District of Oklahoma for a COVID-19 business interruption claim where policy at issue did not contain a virus exclusion.

Obtained summary judgment in busted pipe lawsuit in 42nd District Court in Taylor County, TX. 

Obtained judgment of dismissal in Hurricane Harvey lawsuit in Southern District of Texas. 

Obtained a defense verdict from a Bridgeport, CT, jury following a five-day jury trial in a matter concerning a multimillion-dollar commercial property loss. 

Obtained judgment in favor of defense in a confirmed sinkhole case in Florida in a matter of first impression concerning the interplay of Florida’s sinkhole and guaranty fund statutes. 

Roberts v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 264 F.Supp. 3d 394 (D.Conn. 2017) (Judgment on bad faith and unfair insurance practices in a “collapse” lawsuit in a matter of first impression that established good-faith nature of coverage denial in bona fide coverage dispute). 

Vera v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 335 Conn. 110, 228 A.3d 1009 (2019) (Substantial impairment of structural integrity standard applies to “collapse” provisions of homeowners’ policy and requires a showing that the building is in imminent danger of falling down or caving in; and coverage exclusion for loss to foundation includes the basement walls). 

Lester v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 325 F.Supp. 3d 243 (D.Conn. 2018) (Judgment in favor of insurer in a crumbling foundation lawsuit in a matter of first impression concerning proper interpretation of “collapse” provision in policy). 

Alexander v. General Ins. Co. of Am., 2017 WL 188134 (D.Conn. 2017) (Judgment in favor of insurer in a crumbling foundation lawsuit in a matter of first impression concerning proper interpretation of abrupt “collapse” provision in policy). 

Kowalyshyn v. Excelsior Ins. Co., 2018 WL 888724 (D.Conn. 2018) (Judgment in favor of insurer in a matter of first impression that established the applicability of a manifestation trigger to first-party property loss claims). 

Soderburg v. Unitrin Preferred Ins. Co., 2018 WL 3862330 (Conn.Super. 2018) (Judgment in favor of insurer in matter of first impression that addressed interplay of appropriate coverage trigger for first-party property losses in relation to the policy’s suit limitation provision).