We represent vessel owners, operators, charterers, NVOCCs and their insurers in all types of casualty work, including crew, harbor worker and passenger personal injury and death cases, collisions, pollution, groundings, charter party disputes, salvage, cargo claim and sexual assault matters. We assist clients with vessel finance, stowaways, employment actions, marine insurance issues, customs work, drafting of bills of lading and charter parties, and a variety of transactional work, and we have obtained security for clients through arrest and attachment of vessels, cargo, bunkers and funds. We are recommended counsel by a group of international underwriters for occupational disease claims filed against shipowners. As such, we represent more than 50 shipowners in asbestos, benzene, hearing loss and other occupational and environmental disease litigation.
Our lawyers have practiced before all of the Federal District Courts in California and Florida, all Superior Courts in the San Francisco Bay Area and State Courts of Florida, numerous other Superior Courts throughout California, California Courts of Appeal, California Supreme Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Court of International Trade, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Florida District Courts of Appeal and U.S. Supreme Court. We have appeared before and worked with numerous state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Federal Maritime Commission, Federal Maritime Administration, Customs and Border Protection Service (I.N.S.), Department of Agriculture, Water Quality Control Board, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Port of Oakland and many others.
Our firm lawyers in our U.S., London and Bermuda offices regularly act as coverage and monitoring counsel for insurers of offshore professional, fiduciary and financial institution risks, and as defense counsel for offshore insureds when appropriate.
As Our firm is the only firm with offices in the U.S., London and Bermuda, it is uniquely placed to advise on matters of U.S., English and Bermuda law, and we are familiar with the laws and procedures of many other offshore jurisdictions that follow English common law. We have considerable experience dealing with insurance claims and contentious matters arising out of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and other offshore jurisdictions such as the Bahamas and Switzerland, in litigation, arbitration and mediation.
To the extent that local or specialist counsel may be required to assist in any particular matter, we have strong working relationships with leading law firms and forensic accountants and other professionals in all of the offshore jurisdictions, and with the leading specialist QCs at the London Bar.
Our Bermuda and U.S. offices are conveniently located in close proximity and time zone to the Caribbean offshore jurisdictions, and our London office is well-placed to deal with matters in London, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Europe. When offshore professionals or financial institutions become involved in U.S. legal proceedings, our U.S. offices are able to assist.
Our London office is highly ranked in Chambers U.K., with Edward Smerdon having “particular expertise in advising financial sector clients on professional indemnity matters.” Our Bermuda office is highly ranked in both Chambers Global and Legal 500. Mark Chudleigh has been described by Chambers Global as “widely experienced in commercial litigation and contentious insurance” and Alex Potts has a “very good reputation in Bermuda” with “particular expertise in fund litigation.” Both have been described by the Legal 500 as “top class” for commercial dispute resolution, insurance and reinsurance, and trusts litigation, and the firm as a “dynamic, no-nonsense practice.” London partners Karen Morrish and Tristan Hall are also both recommended by the U.K. editions of Legal 500 and Chambers.
In recognition of our significant experience and expertise in this area, our lawyers are regularly invited to give presentations to the market and to industry groups, and to contribute to expert publications on offshore legal and insurance issues.
Directors and Officers
- Advising D&O insurers on claims asserted against directors and officers of offshore trading, holding, fund, investment and trust companies, including a variety of claims arising post-financial crisis
- Advising directors and officers of various Bermuda exempt companies on directors’ duties and rights of indemnity under Bermuda law
- Advising D&O insurers on liquidation claims and a U.S. securities class action against directors and officers of a Guernsey hedge fund managed by one of the world’s largest private equity groups
- Advising directors and officers of various Bermuda exempt companies on regulatory compliance and insolvency issues (including personal liability for fraudulent conveyances, fraudulent preferences, and insolvent trading)
- Advising directors and officers of various offshore fund companies on the specific duties, liabilities and conflicts of interest that arise in fund structures
- Advising D&O insurers on liquidation claims against directors and officers of a Cayman fund and criminal proceedings against a director of its FSA regulated investment manager
Trusts and Trustees
- Advising various settlors, beneficiaries, protectors, guardians, and trustees of offshore trusts on a variety of matters arising in hostile litigation, including breach of trust and indemnity claims
- Advising various trustees, beneficiaries and guardians of Bermuda trusts on restructuring, administration, and variation applications, including Beddoes, Hastings-Bass and Public Trustee v. Cooper applications, and confidentiality and representation orders
- Advising various E&O insurers of offshore trustees on insurance coverage issues relating to professional negligence and breach of trust claims asserted against trustees
- Acting as monitoring and defense counsel for E&O insurers on substantial professional negligence and breach of trust claims in the Bermuda courts
- Acting as monitoring counsel for E&O insurers on substantial professional negligence and restitutionary claims asserted against offshore trustees in U.S. and Canadian courts
- Advising E&O insurers of trustees on subrogation and defense costs issues relating to trustees’ rights of indemnity against trust assets and beneficiaries
Accountants and Auditors
- Advising various offshore and international firms of accountants and auditors on disclosure and reporting obligations to offshore and onshore regulators, as well as confidentiality obligations
- Advising various offshore and international firms of accountants on their discovery obligations under letters of request issued by onshore and other offshore courts
- Advising various U.S. firms of accountants and auditors and their E&O insurers on professional negligence claims arising out of services provided to offshore companies
- Advising the E&O insurers of an offshore law firm on coverage issues arising out of a substantial breach of trust claim relating to the firm’s client accounts
- Advising an international offshore law firm on an alleged professional negligence claim arising out of a substantial commercial conveyancing transaction
- Advising a Jersey law firm and their E&O insurers on an alleged professional negligence claim arising out of alleged mishandling of a pension dispute
- Advising an offshore law firm and their E&O insurers on an alleged professional negligence claim arising out of a substantial residential conveyancing transaction
- Advising an offshore law firm and their E&O insurers on an alleged professional negligence claim arising out of alleged mishandling of high-value personal injury litigation
- Advising various U.S. law firms and their E&O insurers on professional negligence claims arising out of services provided to offshore companies
- Advising various offshore funds and fund managers on potential claims by investors and creditors for alleged professional negligence, including a variety of claims post-financial crisis, and claims arising out of alleged investment scheme frauds, such as Madoff, Petters, Manhattan Investment Fund, and Lancer Group
- Advising E&O and D&O insurers on coverage issues arising out of the collapse of a group of offshore fund companies and fund managers
- Advising E&O insurers of a U.K. fund manager whose funds, which were invested in Guernsey cells, were suspended by the FSA, resulting in enforcement proceedings and multiple investor claims
- Advising E&O insurers on coverage issues arising out of a regulatory investigation and settlement of EPL claims against an offshore fund manager
- Advising fund administrators and fund custodians of offshore funds on potential claims for contribution and indemnity against funds and fund managers
- Advising and representing offshore fund managers in response to regulatory investigations initiated by the BMA, FSA, SEC, CFTC and similar agencies
- Advising E&O insurers of an offshore fund administrator on coverage issues arising out of claims for alleged professional negligence and fraud
- Advising international offshore fund administrators on alleged professional negligence claims arising out of the collapse of two very substantial hedge funds
- Advising international offshore fund administrators on standard terms and conditions of engagement, including limitations of liability and exculpation clauses
Banks and Fund Custodians
- Advising E&O insurers of an international offshore bank in relation to U.S. criminal and regulatory proceedings arising out of a Ponzi scheme operated through the bank’s accounts
- Advising international fund custodians on alleged professional negligence claims arising out of the collapse of two very substantial hedge funds
- Advising international fund custodians on standard terms and conditions of engagement, including limitations of liability and exculpation clauses
- Advising and representing Bermuda banks and financial institutions in regulatory investigations
Insurance Brokers, Insurers and Underwriting Agents
- Advising E&O insurers on various professional negligence claims asserted against insurance brokers in Bermuda and other offshore jurisdictions
- Representing an underwriting agent in respect of lawsuits and arbitrations arising in Bermuda, the United States, and the United Kingdom following a massive reinsurance fraud and substantial underwriting losses
- Advising and representing Bermuda insurers and insurance brokers in regulatory investigations
Architects, Real Estate and Construction Professionals
- Advising E&O insurers on alleged professional negligence claims against architects, construction professionals, and real estate agents in Bermuda and other offshore jurisdictions