John L. Watkins
John senior counsel in Thompson Hine’s Atlanta office practicing primarily in the area of business litigation, with a substantial focus on insurance coverage. He represents business policyholders in connection with their insurance claims, including in disputes with their insurers. John is also an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, teaching the Insurance Law course.
John’s work in this area includes:
- Representing business policyholders in coverage litigation when their insurers have denied or threatened to deny coverage.
- Serving as independent counsel for businesses in litigation being defended by insurance companies.
- Assisting businesses in reviewing insurance coverage in connection with purchasing or renewing insurance coverage.
John’s experience with insurance coverage matters is unique in two important ways:
- Although John currently represents policyholders, he has extensive prior experience representing insurance companies in multimillion-dollar coverage and bad faith disputes.
- This experience provides valuable insight regarding the information carriers need and the arguments that may persuade them to reconsider their position and reach practical solutions.
- John also has extensive experience in defending many types of underlying claims businesses face that lead to coverage disputes, such as catastrophic tort claims, environmental claims and construction claims.
- This experience often provides the broader view necessary to develop a strategy to work with the insurer and defense counsel to resolve the coverage dispute and the underlying claim.
John has handled insurance coverage matters in federal and state courts in many states including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A sampling of his experience includes representing:
- A developer on claims relating to hurricane damage under a builder’s risk policy, resulting in recovery of full compensatory damages at trial in the Eastern District of Virginia with judgment affirmed on appeal.
- A recycler in connection with business interruption claims resulting from a fire, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- A large engineering company in insurance coverage litigation for claims arising under a professional liability policy relating to an underlying industrial project, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- A utility company as an “additional insured,” obtaining summary judgment for the utility on coverage.
- A property owner in connection with coverage for an environmental nuisance claim where the insurers sought to avoid coverage based on the pollution exclusion, resulting in confidential settlements of the insurance claims and underlying nuisance claim.
- A software developer in insurance coverage claims relating to underlying claims for alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract, resulting in confidential settlements of the coverage claims and underlying trade secret claims.
- A developer in connection with insurance coverage for alleged construction defects in a large condominium conversion project, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- The former directors of a financial institution in connection with denial of coverage under a D&O policy for a claim asserted by a bankruptcy trustee for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- A subcontractor in connection with insurance coverage for claims resulting from the collapse of an elevated walkway while under construction, resulting in a confidential settlement.
- A religious institution in connection with insurance coverage for claims alleging sexual misconduct, resulting in a confidential settlement.
John’s publications on insurance coverage issues include:
- “Increasing Use of Cyber Insurance Requirements in Contracts,” Thompson Hine Business Law Update, Summer 2016
- “Fourth Circuit Finds Insurance Coverage for Exposure of Electronic Medical Records Under Traditional Insurance Policy,” Thompson Hine Privacy & Cybersecurity Update, April 2016
- "Reducing Cyber-Anxiety: Insurance Coverage for Cyber Risks,” Georgia Bar Journal, April 2016
- “Are You Covered For Cyber-Related Injury And Damage Claims?” IMPO Magazine, March 2016
- “Danger in Wires: Insurance Coverage for Cyber Risks,” Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report, January 2016
- "What to Look for in Cyber Insurance," Fulton County Daily Report, September 14, 2015
- "Erie Denied: How Federal Courts Decide Insurance Coverage Cases and What to Do About It," Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, July 21, 2015
- “When Should You Call Outside Insurance Coverage Counsel?,” Corporate Counsel, December 4, 2013
- “Georgia’s Stance In The Split On Construction Defect Coverage,” Law360, August 2013
- “American Empire Surplus Lines v. Hathaway Development Co.: An Important Occurrence in Georgia Insurance Law,” 17 Ga. B. J. 10, October 2011
- Co-author, “Is Your Company Sitting on Buried Treasure? Finding Resources in Insurance Policies,” The Corporate Counselor, October 2011
- “Insurance Issues in Construction Related Claims: Some Practical Thoughts,” Construct! (ABA Section of Litigation), Summer 2011
- Presenter, “Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for the Nonprofit Organization,” Thompson Hine Best of Boards Governance Series, January 2014
- “Maximizing Insurance Contributions in Mediated Settlements,” Strafford Legal Webinar, 2011
- Selected for inclusion on the Georgia Super Lawyers list since 2008; included on Georgia Super Lawyers Top 100 list in 2010, 2012 and 2014
- Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite, 2010-2012
- AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Avvo Rating 10.0 (its highest rating)