Hinkhouse Williams Walsh

Sarah H. Dearing

Sarah H. Dearing

  • Partner
  • 180 North Stetson Avenue
  • Suite 3400
  • Chicago, Illinois 60601

Overview


Sarah Dearing represents domestic and international insurers in connection with complex coverage litigation, claims analysis, and claims resolution.  Sarah's practice focuses on claims involving advertising/personal injury, sexual misconduct, civil rights, environmental pollution, product liability, rescission, Bermuda form arbitrations, and bad faith.  Sarah also has significant experience handling appeals in state and federal courts across the country on insurance coverage matters.


Experience

Below is a representative sample of matters Sarah has handled.

  • Obtained summary judgment and appellate affirmance in Wisconsin case finding that pollution exclusion applied to bar coverage for contamination resulting from the circulation of PCBs throughout insured's recycling equipment.  United Milwaukee Scrap v. Illinois Nat'l Ins., 863 N.W.2d 634 (Wis.Ct. App. 2015)
  • Obtained summary judgment in South Dakota coverage case for breach of contract and bad faith claims handling finding that insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the policyholder in underlying lawsuit involving decision to terminate benefits of a former employee because conduct was not a wrongful act under the policy.  NorthWestern Energy Corp. v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, No. 12-1037 (2015)
  • Obtained dismissal in Northern District of Illinois in two separate declaratory judgment actions finding the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnity underlying lawsuits alleging that the insured submitted false appraisals based on the policy exclusion for claims arising out of dishonest, fraudulent, criminal or malicious acts or omissions.  General Star National Ins. Co. v. Adams Valuation Corp., No. 14 C 1821 (N.D. Ill. 2014); General Star National Ins. Co. v. Adams Valuation Corp., No. 13-cv-2973 (N.D. Ill. 2014).
  • Obtained Eighth Circuit affirmance in coverage litigation finding that pollution exclusion precludes defense coverage for lead smelter in Missouri.  The Doe Run Resources Corp. v. Lexington Ins. Co., 719 F.3d 876 (8th Cir.2013)
  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of insurance company in English arbitration under a Bermuda form policy involving insurance claim seeking over $120 million in advertising liability/personal injury coverage for defamation (2012)
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of insurance company client in declaratory judgment filed in Illinois on issue of allocation between covered and uncovered claims in underlying construction defect case. ATMI v. Illinois National Ins. Co., Case No. 07 CH 37205 (Cook County, Illinois, 2011)
  • Obtained appellate affirmance in Illinois coverage action involving over $100 million in exposure arising out of medical devices used to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms.  Allianz v. Guidant, 900 N.E.2d 1218 (Ill. App. 2008)
  • Obtained summary judgment and Seventh Circuit affirmance on behalf of insurance company client in declaratory judgment lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois seeking coverage for numerous underlying antitrust class-action lawsuits pending across the country. Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. v. Transportation Ins. Co., 500 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2007)
  • Obtained summary judgment and appellate affirmance on behalf of insurance company client on issue of additional insured coverage in declaratory judgment lawsuit in Ohio seeking in excess of $20 million in commercial automobile liability coverage issued to religious institution. Flynn v. Westfield Ins. Co., 858 N.E.2d 858 (Ohio Ct. App. 2006)
  • Successfully handled appeal on behalf of insurance guaranty fund client under the Illinois Guaranty Fund Act in Illinois lawsuit brought by insolvent school district seeking coverage under the Act. Community Unit School Dist. v. Ill. Ins. Guaranty Fund, 832 N.E.2d 472 (Ill. App. Ct. 2005)
  • Successfully obtained reversal of underlying judgment in Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of insurance company client on issue of scope of an arbitration clause. Masco Corp. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 382 F.3d 624 (6th Cir. 2004)
  • Successfully handled appeal on behalf of insurance company client on issue of coverage for clean up costs and defense costs exceeding $20 million. Tribune v. Allstate Ins. Co., 853 N.E.2d 453 (Ill. App. Ct. 2003)    

Related Practices

Education, Admissions & Affiliations

Education

  • University of Michigan, J.D., 2000
    • Articles Editor, Michigan Journal of Race and Law
  • Knox College, B.A., cum laude, 1997

Admissions

  • Illinois State Bar, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit), 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (7th Circuit), 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (8th Circuit), 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit), 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (11th Circuit), 2008

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association, Judicial Evaluation Committee

Related News & Articles

Articles and Presentations

  • Co-author, "A Guide to Collusive Policyholder Settlements," (Coverage Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3, May-June 2013)
  • Speaker, Claims on Appeal: A Primer on the Appellate Process for Claims Professionals (2008)
  • Speaker, Lessons of Congoleum Bankruptcy: Prepackaged Bankruptcies and the Use of Insurance Assets to Deal with Mass Tort Claims (ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar March 2008)
  • Speaker, Insurance Coverage Issues Involving Additional Insurers or Multiple Insurers (CLE Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP July 2007)
  • Speaker and co-author, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Potential Pitfalls Arising from a Policyholder’s Simultaneous Defense of the Underlying Lawsuit and Insurer-Initiated Coverage Litigation," (ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar March 2007)
  • Contributor, Coverage and Liability Issues in Sexual Misconduct Claims Handbook, (published by Munich Re 2005)
  • Co-author, "Rescission, Reformation and Specific Performance, Handbook of Illinois Causes of Action," (Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2002-present)

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