Insurance Bad Faith Pre-Trial Strategies: Demand Letters, Pleadings, Defenses, Damages, Bifurcation, and Experts

Developing Winning Pre-Trial Tactics for Policyholders and Insurers

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, March 2, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will outline pre-trial strategies for both insurers and policyholders litigating bad faith claims. The program will focus on demand letters to insurers, drafting and answering bad faith complaints, proving and opposing damages, bifurcation, and using expert witnesses.


Bad faith allegations are a potent weapon for policyholders in coverage litigation to negotiate for a higher settlement due to the risk of an unacceptable jury award. In order to leverage this tool, policyholder counsel must carefully draft complaint allegations to survive a motion to dismiss.

Expert witnesses play a critical role in bad faith litigation, both for policyholders and insurers. Insurance experts typically are underwriters, claims handlers, brokers, regulators and attorneys with knowledge of insurance industry customs.

Insurers must weigh the pros and cons of bifurcating the coverage trial from the bad faith trial. Bifurcation may be imperative if the “bad” evidence regarding the bad faith claim may negatively impact the jury’s perception of the underlying coverage case.

Bifurcation also may enable the insurer to protect the claims file from discovery if the bad faith claim is stayed pending resolution of the contract issues.

Listen as our authoritative panel of insurance practitioners imparts insight on bad faith pre-trial strategies for both insurers and policyholders. The panel will discuss demand letters, drafting and answering bad faith complaints, proving and opposing damages, bifurcation of coverage and bad faith issues, and use of expert witnesses.


  1. Policyholder strategies
    1. Bad faith demand letters
    2. Bad faith pleading requirements
    3. Proving insurer breach of duties
    4. Calculating damages
    5. Using experts in bad faith cases
  2. Insurer strategies
    1. Responding to demand letters
    2. Bad faith defenses
    3. Change of venue and removal if jurisdiction unfavorable to insurance carriers
    4. Bifurcating coverage and bad faith issues
    5. Challenges to claims professional testimony


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Is the insurer’s disclaimer of coverage enough to state a bad faith claim?
  • What facts regarding the insurer’s actions should policyholders include in the complaint to survive a motion to dismiss?
  • What industry experts are best suited for bad faith claims, and what are common challenges or objections to their testimony?
  • What factors should insurers consider in deciding whether to move to bifurcate the coverage trial from the bad faith trial?


Michael J. DiSantis, Partner
Tressler, Pittsburgh

Mr. DiSantis focuses his practice in the areas of insurance coverage analysis and insurance coverage litigation, assisting insurance companies in resolving complex disputes. He has represented insurance companies in litigated coverage matters in federal and state courts throughout the country, including those involving advertising injury, personal injury, bodily injury and property damage. His experience encompasses coverage for environmental risks, toxic torts, asbestos, habitational risks, security, construction defects, consumer class actions, general coverage and allegations of bad faith. 

Michael H. Sampson, Partner
Reed Smith, Pittsburgh

Mr. Sampson's practice is focused on representing corporate policyholders in complicated coverage disputes with their insurers. He counsels clients and litigates about subjects as diverse as trigger of coverage, defense obligations, other-insurance clauses, insurer bad-faith claims-handling, and abstention. He also advises and represents clients with respect to many other issues relating to commercial general liability policies, management liability coverages, and other types of insurance.

Edward Susolik, Atty
Callahan & Blaine, Santa Ana, Calif.

Mr. Susolik has been a litigation attorney for over 24 years. He has extensive expertise in multiple areas of complex litigation, including complex business litigation, insurance bad faith and coverage and catastrophic personal injury. His practice is split evenly between plaintiff and defense perspectives as he was trained as a defense lawyer at an international law firm, but is equally adept at prosecuting eight-figure plaintiff cases. Mr. Susolick has recovered over $1B on behalf of his clients during his career.


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Insurance Law Advisory Board

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Greve Clifford Wengel & Paras

Tred Eyerly

Of Counsel

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John D. Green


Farella Braun + Martel

Alan P. Jacobus


Law Offices of Alan Palmer Jacobus

William E. Kelley, Jr.


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William O. Krekstein


Timoney Knox

Jay M. Levin


Reed Smith

Peter J. Mintzer


Selman Breitman

Barry S. Neuman


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Clyde & Co.

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Hinshaw & Culbertson

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