David Barrett is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and a member and former Global Chair of the Insurance Counseling & Recovery Practice. His practice focuses primarily on representing policyholders throughout the US in major first and third-party insurance coverage matters. Mr. Barrett’s practice has encompassed counseling on the insurance-related aspects of corporate transactions, insurance placements and renewals, and claims arising under multiple lines of insurance in connection with billions of dollars in losses and liabilities.
Mr. Barrett's practice also focuses on the negotiation of custom insurance products for unique and other risks (lost income, environmental, tax, representations and warranties, punitive wrap, general liability, property and business interruption, etc.). For example, in advance of an anticipated lockout of National Football League (NFL) players by league owners before the 2011 NFL season, Mr. Barrett developed and negotiated a secret high-limits insurance policy — on behalf of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) — which was designed to reimburse NFL players for lost income in the event that an owner-imposed lockout resulted in the cancellation of games during the 2011 season. It is believed to be the first ever union-side lockout policy ever written. The players’ disclosure of their insurance coverage during an 11th-hour impasse in negotiations with the NFL was described in the media as a “game-changer” and “negotiating genius.” Mr. Barrett’s precedent-setting lockout insurance strategy was “commended” in the Financial Times' 2012 US Innovative Lawyers Report, which praised the strategy for “helping to prevent cancellation of the 2011 season.” (See also, e.g., D. Combs, “Backfield in Motion: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Legal Wrangling That May Have Helped Bring Last Year’s NFL Lockout To An End,” The American Lawyer, September 2012.) Mr. Barrett co-authored The Business Interruption Book: Coverage, Claims, and Recovery (The National Underwriter Company, 2004) (second edition published in April 2011). Mr. Barrett is recognized by Chambers USA 2018 and The Legal 500 US 2018 for his insurance coverage work for policyholder clients.
In addition to his insurance coverage practice, Mr. Barrett also serves as outside counsel to the NFLPA on litigation and other matters (see, e.g., White v. NFL (TV Revenues), 766 F. Supp. 2d 941 (D. Minn. 2011)), and he has represented US and foreign clients in a wide variety of commercial matters, including environmental, securities, contract, intellectual property, toxic tort, fraud, and subrogation matters.
Mr. Barrett's representative matters include:
- Lead coverage counsel for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), United States Soccer Federation (USSF), National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in connection with their respective claims for coverage under historic, long-tail liability policies with respect to both class action and individual concussion-related suits.
- Coverage litigation regarding Ford Motor Company's first-party property and business interruption claims arising from an explosion at the Ford-Rouge Powerhouse, as well as in related subrogation matters, which were tried in a private arbitration.
- Major hurricane and earthquake-related property and business interruption claims.
- First and third-party coverage matters and tort litigation arising out of a natural gas leak that resulted in the evacuation of local residents.
- Representation of Ford Motor Company in connection with environmental coverage claims in multiple forums, including a Michigan State court action involving 100-plus sites believed to be the largest such environmental coverage action in the United States pending at that time. During this matter, Mr. Barrett led a large group of amici in several related cases before the Michigan Supreme Court, which resulted in the Court’s adoption of the “injury-in-fact” trigger for environmental liability claims, and rejection of the coverage-limiting “manifestation” theory. Mr. Barrett published an article on this topic titled “The Manifestation Infestation in Michigan” in Mealey’s Litigation Report: Insurance (May 28, 1997).
- Representation of Fortune 500 policyholders in connection with their asbestos insurance coverage claims.
- Representation of defendant manufacturer in connection with 1000-plus tort claims arising from alleged polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures and related insurance coverage matters.
- Representation of Montrose Chemical Company in connection with its environmental coverage claims and underlying liabilities. The Montrose litigation produced two California Supreme Court decisions of national prominence (including the adoption of the “continuous trigger” rule for environmental liability claims).
- Negotiation of multiple custom insurance products for unique and other risks (lost income, environmental, tax, representations and warranties, punitive wrap, general liability, property and business interruption, etc.).