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Gretchen Hoff Varner
Gretchen Hoff Varner
Partner
San Francisco +1 415 591 7056 ghoffvarner@cov.com Download V-card

An accomplished trial lawyer recently named as one of the Daily Journal's 2017 Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers in California, Gretchen Hoff Varner represents a wide range of companies in high-stakes coverage litigation and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurers on behalf of her clients. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to family-owned businesses, with a particular focus on claims related to the agriculture industry. She has successfully handled cyber-liability, first-party property damage and business interruption, product liability, professional liability, general liability, automobile insurance, and bad faith claims, as well as a range of other coverage disputes.

  • First-chaired a jury trial on behalf of major agricultural company resulting in favorable judgment, and ultimate resolution of related coverage and bad faith claims.
  • Second-chaired an insurance coverage trial on behalf of major corporation that resulted in a highly favorable ruling and ultimate resolution of coverage and bad faith claims.
  • Successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars in insurance coverage on behalf of major retailer after a highly publicized data breach.
  • Successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of oil and gas company related to product-related losses.
  • Representing several products manufacturers in obtaining coverage for highly-publicized underlying product defect litigations.
  • Advising several companies in pursuing insurance recovery for data and privacy breaches.
  • Representing major corporation in obtaining insurance for Mexico trademark liabilities and U.S. trademark/trade dress litigation.
  • Represented several agricultural clients for losses related to property damage, crop loss, contingent business interruption, and other agricultural issues.
  • Representing major corporation in seeking coverage for first party property loss and business interruption resulting from collapse of manufacturing facility, and related litigation in the Eastern District of California.
  • Representing major corporation in litigation against insurance agent for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and professional negligence in procuring insurance policies.
  • Representing major industrial manufacturer in seeking marine cargo coverage for losses resulting from marine transport.
  • Representing major corporation in seeking coverage under D&O policies.
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of complaint alleging violations of the False Claims Act on behalf of Gilead Sciences, Inc., in United States ex rel. Campie v. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (N.D. Ca).
  • Achieved a highly favorable settlement for the New York Stock Exchange in a widely reported SEC action involving the exchange’s dissemination of market data

Pro Bono

  • Lead Covington trial counsel in Floyd v. City of New York, a landmark federal class action that successfully challenged the constitutionality of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies and practices under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
  • Representing prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in a class action lawsuit alleging Eighth Amendment violations against the State of Mississippi.
  • Successfully obtained asylum and prosecutorial discretion on behalf of two unaccompanied minors from Guatemala.
  • Represented plaintiffs in Harris et al. v. Atlanta Independent School System, a class action lawsuit that successfully challenged the Atlanta Independent School System’s practice of placing students in privately-run, taxpayer-funded alternative schools.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Federal Bar Council

Previous Experience

  • The World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, Program Coordinator (2000-2003)
  • Daily Journal, "Top 40 Under 40" (2017)  
  • Legal 500 US, Insurance - Advice to Policyholders (2017)
  • Named 2015 and 2016 “Rising Star” by Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Charles C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (2013)