CPR member-only committees are the backbone of CPR’s
thought-leadership and play a critical role in shaping the future of
ADR. Committees provide the unique and rewarding opportunity for users
and practitioners to convene, collaborate, define best practices and
spearhead innovation in commercial conflict management. If you are
interested in joining a committee, attending one of these meetings, and
strengthening your connections, contact CPR Membership Director Terri
Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org or + 1.212.949.6490.
Contact Mara Weinstein at email@example.com for more information.
FEATURED PANELS: INSURANCE PANEL, INSURER-POLICY HOLDER COVERAGE AND “WELLINGTON” PANELS
CPR’s Insurance Panel and Insurer-Policy Holder Coverage
Panel are comprised of distinguished neutrals with unparalleled
qualifications to handle complex insurance, reinsurance and coverage
issues among insurers, reinsurers, and corporate policy holders. As a
part of this unique panel, CPR has also joined the Agreement Concerning
Asbestos-Related Claims (Wellington Agreement). The panel includes
several highly experienced retired judges available to act as mediator
or arbitrator for these types of disputes.
One such retired judge, Abraham D. Sofaer is the first
George P. Shultz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
University. He will teach Arbitration in America at Stanford Law School
in the spring of 2014. As a hearing officer, Sofaer heard one of the
first major environmental cases, regarding the discharge by General
Electric, Co. of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the Hudson River.
He then served six years as a federal trial judge in the Southern
District of New York, hearing civil, criminal, and high profile matters.
He also served as Legal Adviser to the U.S. State Department for five
years, and as agent for the United States in numerous international
arbitrations in The Hague and elsewhere.
Abraham D. Sofaer
Of his experience in handling insurance disputes, Sofaer
says that his involvement started with his service as a judge, during
which he handled cases involving many types of insurance, including
maritime, cargo, airline, fire, building collapses, and environmental,
as well as pharma-related claims. Cases in which he published a
significant decision include American Home Prods. Corp. v Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 565 F. Supp. 1485 (S.D.N.Y. 1983), later cited and relied upon as New York law by the New York Court of Appeals in Continental Casualty Co. v. Rapid-American Corp., 80 N.Y.2d 640, 650-51 (1993), adopting the injury-in-fact standard for long-term exposure to dangerous products.
Since leaving the Department of State, Sofaer has served
as a sole arbitrator in CPR’s Wellington program, as well as in other
CPR cases. He has handled insurance claims, both as a party-appointed
arbitrator and as chairman, in cases covering the full range of
insurance disputes: pharma-related claims, environmental damage, mine
explosions, alleged negligent automobile design or manufacture, business
failure, and construction. He is familiar with conventional and Bermuda
form policies, as well as corporate D&O insurance.
“Insurance cases are a particular favorite of mine, as
they often involve large sums of money, which usually means dealing with
competent and experienced attorneys,” Sofaer says. “The issues are
complex and technical, moreover, making the work especially interesting
Another distinguished panelist, Patrick Coughlan,
President of Conflict Solutions, a national mediation firm with offices
in Maine and Florida, has extensive experience in multiple practice
areas, including insurance coverage, business disputes, products
liability, personal injury, and all aspects of construction. With over
forty years of legal experience, Coughlan is one of the most experienced
mediators in North America and resolves more than 95% of the cases he
mediates. He has settled over $1 billion in cases. Coughlan’s
distinctions include such honors as inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in Arbitration and Mediation, and a Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms “excellent” ranking for Conflict Solutions.
Pat Coughlan describes his expertise with insurance ADR
as “one of the most challenging areas of my practice. Until one learns
where the money will come from, there can be no settlement. I have
developed an understanding of how the parties to insurance litigation
think and what they need to settle a dispute.”
Panel member Jerry Grissom has mediated and arbitrated
commercial disputes for over sixteen years. His ADR practice with JAMS
is based in Dallas, Texas, and he has also been selected to hear cases
in twenty states. Before beginning his full-time dispute resolution
practice in 1997, he was a trial partner for twenty years with Thompson
& Knight, in Dallas, where his practice included counseling and
representing both policyholders and insurance companies, and chairing
the insurance section. A member of CPR’s Insurance Panel, he is also a
Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators.
Grissom writes, “My practice as a trial lawyer and as
mediator and arbitrator has encompassed both a wide variety of insurance
policy issues, including coverage, claims, and valuation, as well as
disputes on the business side of insurance involving the relationships
among carriers, MGA’s, brokers, agents, and third party administrators.
The perspective and understanding that I have developed from my
extensive background experience can enhance, streamline, and make a
positive difference in complex mediation and arbitration proceedings.
Gary McGowan, of Houston, Texas, has served in national
and international disputes for the last twenty-three years. McGowan has
extensive experience in the arbitration of complex business matters
regarding insurance coverage, energy, oil, gas, and construction. He has
arbitrated more than ninety matters, with forty cases proceeding to a
final award, and has mediated countless others. Before practicing as a
neutral, he was a founding partner in a boutique business litigation
Of his insurance experience, McGowan notes, “My exposure
to insurance issues has been broad and deep. Since I’m based in Texas, I
see many coverage disputes arising from onshore and offshore drilling
activities, refinery operations, the healthcare business, and
hurricanes. They run the gamut—liability, property loss, and business
interruption. They have involved difficult questions of policy
interpretation, the application of multiple liability policies to many
years of exposure for toxic tort liability (pro rata allocation versus
all sums), missing policies, policy rescission for alleged fraud, prompt
pay claims, and alleged bad faith. And the insurers have been both in
the US and in the London market.”
A participant in one of McGowan’s insurance mediations
wrote: “I was impressed with your preparation and grasp of all the
issues, a complex web of coverage yet no coverage.”
For more information about these or other CPR Panels of
Distinguished Neutrals, please contact CPR Special Counsel Mara
Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Libbie Richards, CPR Institute Legal Intern
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