Cozen O’Connor Further Expands its Insurance Coverage Practice, Adding Litigators in Los Angeles and Houston

Monday, October 16, 2023

PHILADELPHIA – October 16, 2023 – With insurance disputes continuing to rise throughout North America, Cozen O'Connor has further expanded its rapidly growing  international Insurance Coverage practice with the addition of litigators Julie E. Van Wert, David M. Berke, Jerome P. Doctors, and Rangi Perera in Los Angeles and Christopher Tramonte in Houston. These attorneys represent a wide array of insurance clients — from primary and excess insurers, to brokers, agents, and independent adjustment companies — in every line of business.

These five new attorneys continue a cycle of growth for Cozen O’Connor’s Insurance Department. Since the beginning of 2023, the Insurance Department has added 36 attorneys, including eight members, six counsel, and 22 associates.

“Major insurers are by necessity looking to increase their outside counsel resources substantially,” said Michael J. Heller, Cozen O’Connor’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Adding these attorneys further enhances our ability to provide comprehensive, one-stop Insurance Coverage services — whether the case involves resolving a dispute, identifying new coverage and claims handling trends, or advising on each state’s unique set of codes and jurisprudence. Each brings an important skillset to our insurance coverage practice, and I’m thrilled to welcome them to the firm.”

Van Wert, Berke, Doctors, and Perera come to the firm from London Fischer LLP. Van Wert’s background includes nearly three decades of handling intricate and often complicated corporate-level insurance coverage disputes, with an emphasis on professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, cyber defense, technology and media, and commercial general liability matters. Known for her ability to bring sometimes bitterly contested matters to an amicable resolution, Van Wert brings to the firm an aggressive and efficient litigation practice paired with a commitment to exploring all avenues of early resolution. She earned her J.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her B.A. at University of California, Berkeley. She is joining the firm as a shareholder.

“Insurance clients are increasingly turning to us for counsel on a range of global coverage issues, from natural disasters and social governance, to a fast-growing list of technology-related liability issues,” said Joseph A. Ziemianski, co-chair of the firm’s Global Insurance Department. “Julie, David, Jerome, Rangi, and Chris all bring substantial experience across all of the industry’s business lines and I’m very much looking forward to working with them.”

Berke, who joins the firm as a member, focuses on providing coverage analyses and litigating a range of coverage disputes involving employment practices, professional liability, cyber/technology, directors’ and officers’ insurance, commercial general liability, and media. He also has experience handling a range of ERISA and errors and omission (E&O) liability matters; providing oversight in litigated employment practices liability (EPL) and technology policies; and representing insurers in coverage and underlying action mediations. He earned his J.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For the last 25 years, Doctors has provided insurers with guidance on complex risks and high-severity losses, offering insights into underwriting, coverage, and claims matters. Jerry represents insurers in disputes across a wide spectrum of issues arising under primary and excess policies, reinsurance coverages, cyber defense and coverage, and various areas of liability like toxic torts, products, construction, health care, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, and environmental concerns. He earned his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law and his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Doctors joins the firm as a member.

Perera, who joins the firm as counsel, focuses her practice primarily on representing companies in personal injury cases, construction defect cases, professional liability cases, insurance defense/coverage cases, and employment related claims. She has successfully litigated a wide range of business and commercial disputes in various state courts, and at trial. She earned her J.D. from Western State University College of Law and her B.A. in political science from the University of California, Riverside.

“The size, bench strength, and geographic scope of our Insurance Coverage practice greatly benefits insurers,” said Alycen A. Moss, co-vice chair, of the firm’s Global Insurance Department and co-chair of its Property Insurance Group. “These five highly skilled attorneys bring impeccable track records effectively and efficiently resolving coverage disputes through dispositive motions, alternative dispute resolution and, when necessary, trial.  I’m very happy they’ve chosen to be part of our group’s ongoing expansion.”   

Tramonte, who moves to Cozen O’Connor from his own boutique firm and joins as a member, represents foreign and domestic insurers and policyholders in a range of coverage disputes, including general liability, catastrophic injury, life, accident, and products liability matters. He also brings a successful track record of representing clients in post-trial matters and appeals, including the preparation and presentation of motions, writs, briefs and, ultimately, oral arguments in both state and federal appellate courts. Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer, his background also includes providing coverage analyses, advising on contractual indemnity and insurance provisions, and litigating related disputes. Tramonte earned his J.D at South Texas College of Law, and his B.B.A. at the University of St. Thomas.

About Cozen O’Connor

Established in 1970, Cozen O’Connor has over 850 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle-market companies, Cozen O’Connor serves its clients’ needs through 32 offices across two continents.

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