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René Siemens
René L. Siemens
Partner
Los Angeles +1 424 332 4751 rsiemens@cov.com Download V-card

René Siemens is a nationally recognized insurance coverage practitioner who represents policyholders in negotiations and disputes with their insurers. He also handles complex product liability, mass tort, environmental, and consumer cases.

Mr. Siemens has helped clients recover over $2 billion from their insurers.  Chambers USA has described him as “an encyclopedia of insurance law,” the PLC Cross-Border Insurance and Reinsurance Handbook has ranked him in the top tier of policyholder attorneys, Legal 500 has described him as “the smartest guy in the room.”

Insurance Coverage

Environmental

  • Obtained nearly $400 million in insurance settlements on behalf of an aerospace company for environmental cleanup claims relating to a single site under general liability, environmental “cost cap,” and EIL policies (In re: RFI Realty, Inc., et al., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona).
  • Lead counsel for national research university in recovering under general liability policies for claims arising out of alleged involvement in U.S. Army study of effects of aerosolized chemicals.
  • Won summary judgment that a $75 million environmental insurance policy had been wrongfully cancelled, resulting in a policy-limits recovery from the insurer and recoveries from the premium finance lender and insurance broker involved in the transaction (Steadfast Ins. Co. v. Whittaker Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of bad-faith claims under “cost cap” and EIL policies on behalf of the former owner of 1000-acre brownfield site (Chubb Custom Ins. Co. v. AISLIC, et al.; AISLIC v. Chubb Custom Ins. Co., Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of claims under historic general liability policies for manufacturer’s costs of remediating contaminated sites around the country (Whittaker Corp. v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co., et al.; Continental Cas. Co. v. Whittaker Corp., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of claims under historic insurance policies for remediation of a TCE plume in Texas and settlement of related toxic tort claims; obtained summary adjudication of twenty-four of the insurers coverage defenses (Pacific Indem. Co. v. Whittaker Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Helped secure landmark appellate rulings affirming California policyholders’ right to “stack” multiple years of insurance policies to cover continuing property damage claims under general liability policies (State of California v. Continental Ins. Co., California Court of Appeal (amicus)).
  • Represented of several major and middle market real estate developers and manufacturers in structuring and negotiating environmental insurance programs for contaminated properties.
  • Represented energy company in prosecuting one of the largest environmental insurance cases in history, seeking coverage under comprehensive general liability policies for CERCLA clean up costs at sites around the country (ARCO v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., Los Angeles Superior Court; Home Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, California Court of Appeal).
Disasters
  
 
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of coverage claims for the 2007 San Diego Wildfires, which allegedly caused over $2 billion of damage (PAR Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. ACE Property & Cas. Co., San Diego Superior Court).
  • Lead counsel for policyholder in successful insurance recovery action for eight-figure claims arising out of the 2004 “Power Fire” (VSC Sub, Inc v. Lexington Ins. Co., Amador County Superior Court).
  • Represented policyholders in securing insurance recoveries for Northridge Earthquake losses.

Asbestos
 
 
  • Lead counsel for national building company in recovering from insurers for legacy personal injury asbestos claims arising out of alleged operations of predecessor companies.
  • Lead counsel for two of the world’s largest chemical distribution companies in securing insurance recoveries for thousands of claims for nationwide asbestos liabilities.
  • Lead counsel for diversified manufacturing conglomerate in obtaining insurance recoveries for nationwide asbestos claims.

Cyber/Data Breach/Privacy Insurance
  
  • Lead counsel for national retailer in successful prosecution of claims against its D&O and CGL insurers for coverage of class action claims alleging illegal recording of customer telephone calls (Bass Pro v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am., et al., San Diego Superior Court).
  • Lead counsel for major medical center in litigation with a general liability insurer to obtain coverage for class action litigation arising out of alleged release of protected health information; obtained one of the first court rulings that statutory damages for privacy breaches are covered under CGL policies (Hartford Cas. Ins. Co. v. Corcino & Assoc., et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals).
  • Lead counsel for captive insurer of global professional services company in adjusting a nearly $40 million claim for costs of responding to a foreign government sponsored advanced persistent attack on its network, and in pursuing recoveries from the captive's reinsurers.
  • Lead counsel for one of the largest convenience store chains in the United States in recovering under crime policy for losses caused by hacking of customer data.
  • Lead counsel for mortgage processing company in recovering from E&O and D&O insurer for class action claims arising out of alleged illegal recording of telephone calls.
  • Lead counsel for national managed care organization in successful prosecution of coverage claims under its cyber and professional liability insurance policies for data security breach lawsuits arising out of the alleged loss of server drives containing confidential medical information of over a million patients and potentially seeking billions of dollars in damages.
  • Lead counsel for stem cell bank in recovering under cyber insurance for nine-figure privacy breach claim arising out of alleged breach affecting nearly 300,000 clients.
  • Lead counsel for numerous health care, professional services, and medical services companies in successful prosecution claims for insurance coverage arising out of data security and privacy breaches, including some of the largest reported claims, under cyber, E&O, D&O, crime and general liability policies.
  • Lead counsel for major university research hospital in recovering under cyber and D&O policies for an eight-figure data security breach claim arising out of alleged release of confidential medical information of nearly 20,000 patients.
  • Representation of many clients – including one of the world’s leading professional services organizations, two global credit card and payment services companies, an internationally renowned network of hospitals and clinics, a national health plan management company, a biopharmaceutical company, one of the nation's largest convenience store chains, and a leading medical claims processing company, among others – in structuring and negotiating the terms of their cyber insurance programs.
  • Advised one of the nation's largest retailers regarding insurance coverage for costs stemming from a cyber-attack launched against it during the holiday shopping season.
  • Advised a global professional services company and a national research university in establishing a captive insurer and reinsurance program to cover its privacy and data security risks.
  • Lead counsel for a national research institution on claims against its insurance broker for negligent placement of a cyber insurance policy.
  • Advised a technology incubator company in connection with negotiation of internet liability coverage program.
  • Represented major internet drugstore company in insurance coverage and products liability litigation and counseling.
  • Counseled international publisher on coverage for claims arising out of its acquisition of online magazines.

Nuclear
 

  • Lead counsel for company in connection with potential nine-figure nuclear property and business interruption insurance claims arising out of alleged defects in design of nuclear power plant.
  • Obtained summary judgment ruling invalidating the nuclear insurance industry’s standard “pollution exclusion,” and for the first time requiring a nuclear liability insurer to defend its insured under the current nuclear liability insurance form against a government claim for investigation and remediation of radioactive contamination related to the Nuclear Metals Superfund site (Whittaker Corporation v. American Nuclear Insurers, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts).
  • Represented energy company in successfully prosecuting claims against nuclear insurance pool for defense and settlement of personal injury claims (Hall v. Babcock & Wilcox Company, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania; The Babcock & Wilcox Company, et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pa.; In re The Babcock & Wilcox Company, et al., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals).

Products/Pharmaceutical/Clinical Trials
   

  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of claims for attempted “bad faith” rescission of product liability insurance coverage (Leatt Corp. v. Evanston Ins. Co., et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California).
  • Represented various research institutions, pharma and medical device companies in structuring and negotiating insurance programs to cover pharmaceutical, medical device and clinical trial risks, and in prosecuting claims for coverage.
  • Obtained defense and indemnity coverage for product defect claims against leading biopharmaceutical company.
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in successful prosecution of nine-figure coverage claims for mass tort suits arising out of alleged HIV- and HCV-tainted blood clotting medicines (Alpha Therapeutic Corp. v. Home Ins. Co., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court and California Court of Appeal; Alpha Therapeutic Corp. v. Steadfast Ins. Co., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Represented building material supplier in seeking California Supreme Court review of applicability of absolute pollution exclusion to silica exposure bodily injury cases (Garamendi v. Golden Eagle Ins. Co. (Pauli Systems), Supreme Court of California).
  • Represented medical product manufacturer in securing defense and indemnity under product liability policies for worldwide personal injury claims involving intraocular lens product.
  • Obtained defense and indemnity from product liability insurer for product defect claims involving reprocessed surgical devices.

Property & Business Interruption
 
 
  • Represented institutional lender in prosecuting claims for property and business interruption insurance coverage for World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2, 4, and 5 (SR Int’l Bus. Ins. Co. Ltd v. World Trade Center Properties LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York).
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of multi-jurisdictional claims against property insurer and mold remediation contractor for catastrophic losses due to water damage, business interruption, and mold in critical patient care areas of a hospital (HealthPlus Corp. v. Travelers Indem. Co. of Illinois & Munters Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court; Travelers Indem. Co. of Illinois v. HealthPlus Corp., U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas).
  • Represented home builder in insurance recovery for “Chinese Drywall” claims.
  • Assisted semiconductor company in recovering for flood damage to transceiver manufacturing and testing equipment.

D&O/E&O/Fiduciary Liability/Employment
 
 
  • Lead counsel in representation of former directors and officers of a failed community bank in securing defense and indemnity coverage from D&O insurer for lawsuit brought by FDIC.
  • Lead counsel in representation of former directors and officers of the nation’s largest failed credit union in prosecution of $6.8 billion D&O coverage and indemnity claims (National Credit Union Administration v. Siravo, et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California).
  • Represented national research institution in recovering from insurers for sex abuse claims.
  • Represented numerous institutional insureds or their directors and officers in negotiating and restructuring D&O and E&O insurance placements and renewals, including one of the leading global professional services companies, a global credit card and payment services company, a leading defense contractor, a global social media company, a leading semiconductor manufacturer, a major stem cell bank, directors of the nation’s largest credit union, one of the world’s largest data storage service providers, and a national food services company, among others.
  • Represented founding member of renewable energy company in obtaining coverage under D&O policies for costs of responding to Department of Justice investigation of a half billion federal loan default.
  • Lead counsel in representation of national research institution in recovery under D&O policies for eight-figure data security breach claims.
  • Obtained defense and indemnity coverage for claims against directors and officers or real estate investment company arising out of failed real estate transactions.
  • Prosecuted nine-figure errors and omissions coverage claim on behalf of managed care company for costs of defending and settling nationwide ERISA class actions alleging underpayment of medical benefits (Health Net, Inc. v. American International Specialty Lines Ins. Co., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, California Court of Appeal).
  • Advised one of the world’s largest product companies on allocation under D&O policies of nine-figure settlement of securities claims.
  • Advised global accounting company on availability of indemnity coverage for nine-figure settlement of professional liability claim.
  • Represented medical device manufacturer in connection with directors and officers, errors and omissions, and fiduciary liability insurance claims arising out of worldwide product recall.
  • Represented prominent attorney in defense and indemnity from professional liability carrier for malpractice claims.
  • Represented major talent agency in securing coverage for defense and settlement of age discrimination class action.

Cargo/Marine
 
  • Lead counsel in successful prosecution of coverage claims for theft of cell phone shipment under marine and inland cargo policies (LG Electronics Mobilecomm U.S.A., Inc v. LIG Ins. Co, et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of California).

Mortgage, Bond, Credit
 
  • Represented bank in prosecuting claims against its credit and bond insurers for mortgage-backed securities losses (Indymac v. Radian Insurance, Indymac v. Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, Los Angeles Superior Court, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Southern District of New York).

Aviation
 
 
  • Obtained full recovery from aviation insurers for destruction of building caused by plane crash near Los Angeles.

Life Insurance
 
 
  • Represented major financial institution in defense of cases brought around the country by insurers seeking to rescind “stranger-originated” life insurance policies (West Coast Life Insurance Co. v. Life Brokerage Partners LLC, et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of California).
  • Represented Holocaust survivors and their heirs in recovery of approximately $500 million in worldwide class actions against European insurance companies alleged to have denied benefits wrongfully under life insurance policies issued from the 1920s to the 1940s (Smetana v. Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., et al., San Francisco Superior Court; Sladek v. Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court (amicus); In re Holocaust Insurance Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court).
  • Assisted the California Legislature in drafting and testifying in support of the Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief Act.

Captives, Reinsurance, & Alternative Risk Transfer
 
 
  • Frequently represents clients — including a leading national research institution, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, and a global professional services organization — in structuring and negotiating the terms of captive insurance programs and ceding agreements between captives and reinsurers, and the handling of claims under captive programs.
  • Advises companies on, and litigates claims under, retrospective premium arrangements, fronting and self-insurance, and other alternative risk transfer mechanisms.
  • Successfully defeated insurers’ attempts to seek equitable contribution from policyholder’s captive and fronting insurance program (Pacific Indem. Co. v. Whittaker Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court).

Product Liability & Mass Tort
   

  • Represented defense contractor in toxic tort suits arising out of alleged groundwater contamination or air pollution near ordnance assembly and testing, R&D, and rocketry facilities in Northern and Southern California (Baier, Kerr, Taylor and Yeh v. Aerojet-General Corp., U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Gatter v. Aerojet-General Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court; Haynes v. Aerojet-General Corp., Sacramento Superior Court; Caldwell v. Aerojet-General Corp., Sacramento Superior Court, California Court of Appeal)
  • Represented the largest domestic cigarette manufacturer in defense of product liability claims through appeal (e.g., Henley and Whitely v. Philip Morris Inc., California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of California).
  • Represented reprocessor of surgical devices in connection with defense of personal injury litigation.

Other Complex Litigation
    
  • Lead counsel in prosecution of CERCLA “arranger” and “owner” claims against the United States based on government control over use of perchlorate, solvents, and explosive wastes at a munitions manufacturing sites (Whittaker Corporation v. United States, U.S. District Courts, Central and Northern Districts of California).
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims against directors of largest failed credit union in US history asserted by federal government (National Credit Union Administration v. Siravo, et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California).
  • Represented franchisor in high-profile lawsuit alleging breach of franchise agreements (Johnson v. McDonald’s Corp., U.S. District Court, Central District of California).
  • Represented defense contractor in defense of CERCLA groundwater contamination claims (Castaic Lake Water Agency v. Whittaker Corporation, U.S. District Court, Central District of California).
  • Represented oil company in defense of NEPA and Magnuson Act injunction claims arising out of permitting of shipping facility (Ocean Advocates v. BP West Coast Products, LLC, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington).
  • Represented national health care company in trademark, trade secret, and contract litigation against breakaway franchisees (Bradley Medical, Inc. v. Home Americair of California, and Parkman-Merritt, Inc. v. Home Americair of California, Orange County Superior Court).
  • Represented industrial hygiene company in defense of professional liability claims by mold remediation contractor (Munters Corp. v. Pacific Health & Safety, Los Angeles Superior Court).
  • Represented prominent attorney in defense of a substantial professional liability suit.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice on a motion to dismiss, with substantial sanctions award.
  • Attorney in defense and resolution of professional liability suit arising out of claims by former joint clients.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Fellow of American College of Coverage & Extracontractual Counsel
  • Law360, Editorial Advisory Board (2011)
  • Western Justice Center Foundation, former Member of the Board of Directors
  • Western Center on Law and Poverty, former Member of the Board of Directors
  • American Bar Association (Litigation and Tort and Insurance Practice Sections); Co-Chair, CGL Subcommittee of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
  • State Bar of California
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Risk and Insurance Management Society
  • Counsel to the Rampart Independent Review Panel, charged by the Los Angeles Police Commission with performing a review of the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Chambers USA, Insurance: Policyholder (2010-2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law (2014-2017)
  • Legal 500 US, Insurance - Advice to Policyholders (2016), Data Protection and Privacy (2011-2014) and Cyber Crime (2014)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, Insurance Coverage (2010-2016)
  • PLC Which Lawyer?, Insurance: Policy Holder (2011-2012)
  • Who's Who Legal, Insurance & Reinsurance (2013)
  • Wiley W. Manuel Award, Pro Bono Legal Services, State Bar of California (2003)
  • Certificate of Recognition for Pro Bono Activities, Speaker of the Assembly of the State of California (2002)
  • Richard E. Guggenheim Pro Bono Award (2000)
  • Pro Bono Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award, Bet Tzedek Legal Service (1999)