Michelle R. Press Partner

     

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Michelle Press focuses her practice on complex insurance coverage, litigation and transactional matters.  She is a seasoned trial attorney who has been lead trial counsel in numerous insurance-related cases that resulted in favorable judgments or verdicts and she has been published by several California Courts of Appeal as well as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to defending her insurance company clients from extra-contractual and related claims, Michelle has extensive experience in prosecuting and trying complex mass recovery actions and handling general civil litigation on various topics. 

Michelle is an experienced attorney who is comfortable handling highly complex insurance and defense matters, and she is known for her focus on achieving efficient, creative resolutions to litigated and non-litigated matters that protect her clients and avoid the time and expense of protracted litigation.  Michelle has been selected to present the California Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations to the London (Re)insurance Market at the Old Library at Lloyd's in conjunction with the LMA for the past four years based on her unconventional seminar presentation style.

Areas of Focus

(RE)Insurance Coverage, Monitoring and Management
Michelle’s practice includes providing insurance coverage advice on a variety of subjects; defending insurance carriers in extra-contractual litigation; acting as monitoring/coverage counsel for insurance programs; prosecuting mass recovery actions; litigating rescission, contribution/subrogation and declaratory relief actions; auditing and rehabilitating insurance programs for the London (re)insurance market; defending class actions; and handling a broad range of state and federal appeals.

Michelle has handled a wide variety of insurance monitoring and coverage matters involving Construction Defects; Rescission; Reinsurance; APH; Property; Lawyers Professional Liability; Employers Professional Liability; Marine Employers Liability; Professional Indemnity; Theft, Insurance Fraud; Marine; Transportation; Uninsured Motorist; and a host of other types of insurance claims and litigation arising out of Commercial General Liability, Claims-Made, Errors and Omissions, Directors and Officers, Property, Personal and Commercial Umbrella, Homeowners, Automobile and Business Policies, as well as various types of manuscript policies such as Commercial General Liability Gap Policies.  

Michelle has extensive experience in program and claims management, with a focus on conducting comprehensive and efficient audits that are geared toward evaluating and improving the handling and profitability of entire programs.  These audits have resulted in millions of dollars of savings or reimbursement for her clients, the closing of a significant percentage of open files, and in many cases, a reduction in the average payments being made per claim.  In addition to her auditing work, Michelle is experienced in the rehabilitation of programs that suffer from negative loss ratios through development of claims protocols and associated training for management of the program and the handling of individual claims.

Complex Tort & General Casualty
Michelle is experienced in the defense of actions involving allegations of professional indemnity, unfair claims practices, habitability, general liability, contract law, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, violation of the California Labor Code, personal injury, wrongful death, employment discrimination, violations of the American with Disabilities Act, uninsured motorist, advertising injury, Jones Act allegations, and in the defense of class actions.

Representative Matters

Successfully tried a complex rescission case in Federal Court that included defense of the associated bad faith counter-claim as well as recovery of approximately $2 million her London reinsurer client had paid in defense and indemnity of its insured.

Recently obtained affirmation by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the trial court's dismissal of a claim for extra-contractual damages and related claims for her London market clients.

Obtained in excess of $12 million for her insurer client in a mass recovery action involving hundreds of underlying actions and multiple insureds, where her client hoped to obtain a judgment of $2 million.

Achieved a reduction in the total amount paid during a 12-month period as compared to the prior 12-month period by $6 million for the London insurance market with respect to a large construction defect program. Reduced the average paid by claim by one third for the largest category of claims in the program during the same time period.

Successfully defended a tenacious class action alleging an auto insurer's improper use of Preferred Repair Facilities.

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