Tami Kay Lee
E-Mail: [email protected]
Ms. Lee is Senior Counsel with substantial experience in defense of carriers against insurance coverage/bad faith liability and agent/broker malpractice involving multi-million dollar exposures. Her experience includes litigation defense work on a wide range of insurance policies and providing coverage opinions involving commercial general liability, reinsurance coverage, excess coverage liability, errors and omissions, directors/officers, manuscript type policies, and up and coming coverage trends relating to cyber liability and data breach losses.
Ms. Lee has defended corporations, individuals, general contractors, developers/subcontractors, surplus lines carriers, agents/brokers, and accountants through various forms of alternative dispute resolution including arbitrations. She also finds her expertise in appellate work with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and various California Appellate District Courts from briefing to oral arguments. Her extensive litigation background and appellate work takes a lawsuit from the cradle to the grave.
Ms. Lee received her Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University, Los Angeles. While in law school, Ms. Lee was a member of the Moot Court Honors Board and participated in the Rendig’s Products Liability Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also externed with two Federal District Court Judges, the Honorable Consuelo Marshall and Marianna Pfaelzer, who both certified Ms. Lee as a student law clerk before the Federal District Court. As an undergraduate, Ms. Lee was active in the national accounting fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi, and was a member of the National Golden Key Honor Society.
Ms. Lee is a member of the State Bar of California, State Bar of Nevada, the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit and the Federal District Court, Central and Southern Districts of California. She is also a California Certified Public Accountant.
Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judge Richard E. Rico, granted Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff Biopharma Research Organization, LLC’s entire complaint alleging bad faith conduct in denial of a commercial property loss claim. Plaintiff alleged it was entitled to an entire new roof costing in excess of $400,000 including punitive damages in relation to the bad faith denial claims. The Court found that plaintiff did not sustain a direct physical cause of loss and evidence was undisputed as to no wind or hail penetrating the roof causing a hole in the roof through which rain water can enter when tarp was placed on the roof.
The Sonoma County Superior Court in Baback v. Davis granted the cross-defendant Granton Insurance Agency’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there was no special duty to place commercial auto insurance based on the assumption that the customer would require it because it operated a catering business. The Court found that the customer/insured never had the coverage for eight years prior to the catastrophic underlying loss that resulted in the 18 year old Plaintiff Baback’s permanent flaccid paralysis of his right dominant arm. The agency also argued under the Unclean Hands Doctrine that the customer clearly did not want the coverage sued upon based on evidence suggesting the customer’s prior alteration of a Certificate of Insurance that did not also indicate existence of the coverage in dispute.
Prevailed on motion for summary judgment for Bulen Insurance Agency in Riverside County Superior Court. Plaintiff Inland Properties LLC alleged that Bulen failed to place coverage for a tenant’s criminal acts occurring on Plaintiff’s property but was not able to prove that such coverage was available to begin with in a Landowner’s policy. Plaintiff also alleged that the agent misrepresented the terms of coverage. However, the Court stated that Plaintiff simply failed to provide any evidence that the damage was not due to wear and tear rather than the tenant’s vandalism and focused on the exclusion regarding same.
- 2nd Appellate District – Follow up to Canan v. Jones: Appellate Court in Ventura County affirmed lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Jones & Maulding insurance agency. The Appellate Court found that long standing California law on an agent’s duty of care was not altered based on undisputed evidence supporting the finding that the Jones agency need not advise the customer to purchase excess coverage for UM insurance from another carrier because the customer had specifically requested a $1 million umbrella policy from Allied which only provided excess liability coverage.
Los Angeles Superior Court granted San Fernando Insurance Agency’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there was no triable issue as to whether the agency had a duty to inspect the plaintiff’s distribution warehouse to confirm that it was in compliance with the Protective Safeguards Endorsement which required regular maintenance of an operable smoke detector as a condition precedent to coverage. The Court also found that there was no triable issue as to whether there was an implied contract between plaintiff and the agency as to whether the agency had to inspect plaintiff’s property as part of the services involving the agency’s placement of the commercial property policy. In support of this finding, the Court primarily relied on Travelers Prop Cas.Co. of America v. Superior Court (1993) 215 Cal.App.4th 561 which states that no duty to inspect can arise out of the course of the parties’ ordinary broker-insured relationship which was what was involved in the given fact scenario.
Plaintiff policy holders agreed to release an insurance agent/broker from their claims for Unruh Act violations, Civil Code §51, and Elder Abuse Claims pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30 following Rancho Simi’s demurrer. Plaintiffs allege they sustained at least $30,000 due to burglary of personal property.
Plaintiff policy holder voluntarily filed a dismissal as to a defendant agent/broker following a FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on the grounds that the statute of limitations as to the agent/broker expired and plaintiff failed to timely prosecute pursuant to FRCP 41(b). Plaintiff Michie alleged that agent/broker failed to inform him about lapse in coverage relating to group errors and omissions coverage for securities brokers. The policy holder Michie was an additional named insured and claimed that the agent/broker failed to inform him that the errors and omissions policy was a claims made policy. Plaintiff policy holder’s damages arose out of an underlying pending lawsuit against him for securities broker fraud and legal malpractice for $2 million.
Agent/broker malpractice claim filed in Ventura County Superior Court entitled Canan v. Jones, Plaintiffs alleged that their 17 year old son sustained in excess of $ 1 million in medical damages when he was severely injured while crossing a cross-walk on his skateboard. Plaintiffs claimed that they were supposed to have excess underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage along with their umbrella policy. The agent/broker moved for summary judgment and the Court granted the motion after two lengthy hearings. The Court gave the Plaintiffs an opportunity to submit supplemental briefing to establish the agent’s expanded scope of duty based on evidence of a special relationship regarding placement of an excess personal umbrella policy. The Court found that the agent/broker had no duty to recommend greater coverage than the customer requested. The Court recognized that the law had not changed on this standard for almost 30 years following Fitzpatrick v. Hayes (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 916, 920.
The Honorable John F. Walter of the United States Federal District Court, Central District of California, granted summary judgment to Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London when he found there was no triable issue of fact as to whether Brighton Collectibles, LLC’s alleged conduct of selling customer lists fell into the policy wording for advertising injury based on Underwriters’ cited case law from the California Supreme Court, Hameid v. National Fire Ins. of Hartford, 31 Cal.4th 16, 28-29 (2003). Hameid rejected the argument that “advertising” included activity involving personal solicitation of customers, such as sending mailers to customers on a mailing list or making personal phone calls to the customer from a customer list. Though Judge Walter also found that Brighton’s alleged act of selling personal identifying information to third party direct marketers constitutes a “publication” as that term is used in the “personal injury” clause of the policies, he found that where “personal injury” coverage in an insurance policy requires “publication”, the term means “making known to any person or organization”. In this regard, despite the fact that Brighton’s alleged act constitutes a “publication”, it was still not entitled to coverage because Underwriters’ policy wording provided for an exception to “publishing activities” “arising out of” publishing done by or for Brighton and the Court granted Underwriters’ motion for summary judgment.