Danielle Willard has developed a national practice counseling and representing insurance companies in coverage litigation and claim strategy, involving a broad range of first- and third-party coverage issues.
Dani is trusted by leading insurance companies to successfully resolve complex insurance coverage matters throughout the country. Her meticulous and inventive approach to resolving complex coverage issues enables Dani to craft solutions for her clients and provide successful and cost-effective representation that focuses on both the case at hand and the client’s broader strategic concerns. Her approach has resulted in favorable resolutions and summary dismissals in complex insurance coverage matters throughout the United States.
Dani’s matters commonly involve extra-contractual/bad faith claims, fraud, rescission, excess/primary insurer relations, professional liability and first-party property coverage issues. She has also handled matters involving construction defect coverage and environmental, climate, and toxic tort issues.
She has won praise from her clients for her prompt responsiveness, collaborative and practical approach, and commitment to achieving their goals. While Dani routinely obtains equitable resolutions without costly litigation, when litigation is unavoidable, her advocacy often results in early resolution and conservation of client resources. Dani’s reputation as a skilled, effective coverage attorney has compelled leading insurers to select her to serve as national counsel in connection with first-party COVID-19 matters.
Dani has been recognized by her peers as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2021 and 2022.
She earned her J.D. (cum laude) at Delaware Law School and her B.S. at The Pennsylvania State University.
Multiple Actions (New Jersey 2015). Successfully moved to quash existing court orders permitting substituted service upon clients on coverage and constitutional bases.
High Associates v. Zurich (Pennsylvania 2014). Obtained summary judgment in large first-party case establishing that cost to refill sinkholes was not covered.
Colony v. Sorenson (Kentucky 2011). The Federal District Court, in a 48-page opinion, granted our client’s motion for summary judgment holding that the insureds’ failure to comply with the “claims made and reported” provision in an excess policy resulted in a multi-million dollar gap in coverage between primary and excess layers.
Spider Construction v. Colony (New Jersey 2011). Court awarded judgment to client/liability insurer in eight figure construction defect case on the basis of a policy limitation restricting coverage to “designated operations.” In reaching its holding, the Court created favorable new law restricting substituted service upon insurers in New Jersey.
Steadfast v. AES (Virginia 2011). SBR attorney served as trial and appellate counsel in litigation designated as a “Top 10 Insurance Case of 2011.” In this high-profile case of first impression, our client successfully established that climate change nuisance claims are not covered under CGL policies.
SPX v. ICSOP (Pennsylvania 2010). A state court (Philadelphia County) judge awarded summary judgment to excess insurer/client recognizing the applicability of an $8 million set-off based upon a novel horizontal exhaustion theory.
American Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Intel Corp. (Delaware 2009). Obtained summary judgment for an insurer in an advertising injury coverage action in which the underlying case was described as potentially becoming one of the largest antitrust cases ever in the United States.
Johnny Word v. ACE (Florida 2009). Insured sought $2 million in under-insured motorist coverage under his employer’s liability insurance policy. Prior counsel had recommended a $1 million settlement, but an SBR lawyer recommended filing a dispositive motion. The Court granted ACE’s motion for summary judgment, creating highly favorable case law in Florida on UIM waiver issues.
Eagle Access, LLC v. Fireman’s Fund (Alabama 2008). In first party coverage action, the insured sought $350,000 as a result of damage sustained to construction equipment, and vigorously pursued bad faith claims. After briefing of motion for summary judgment, case was dismissed.
Essex Builders v. One Beacon (Florida 2007). Insured was represented by premier Florida bad faith firm in this construction defect coverage case. Similarly situated co-defendant paid $2 million to settle its exposure, and prior counsel suggested that our client make a “seven figure offer.” An SBR lawyer recommended against settlement, and the client prevailed on the coverage issues, creating favorable new law on what constitutes an “occurrence.” The Federal Court also awarded our client $78,000 in prevailing party attorney’s fees.
Highest Distinction of Academic Achievement, Appellate Practice, Delaware Law School
Highest Distinction of Academic Achievement, Delaware Practice, Delaware Law School
Highly Anticipated Supreme Court Decision On Climate Nuisance Law Leaves The Door Ajar For State Law Claims. [Insurance Coverage Alert] June 2011.
Second Circuit Swings Open The Door For Global Warming Tort Litigation. [Insurance Coverage Alert] September 2009.
Dani is a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.