Ronald Schiller, Chair of the firm, has a broadly diversified trial, appellate and arbitration practice. Ron is a business trial lawyer, appellate lawyer and counselor. Ron advises financial institutions, insurers and reinsurers, technology companies, and other businesses in high-stakes litigation matters, particularly where taking the case through trial or appeal needs to be part of the client’s arsenal.
Ron and his trial teams have prepared to try and tried two to four cases a year in courts and before arbitration panels every year for more than a decade. He and his teams have also prepared and argued appeals in appellate courts around the country at the rate of several a year. Most of this work has been for an array of insurers and reinsurers in sophisticated coverage, bad faith, and reinsurance disputes. A substantial part of this practice includes representing insurers and reinsurers in business disputes against financial institutions, other large companies, and healthcare and managed care companies on E&O, D&O, professional liability, reinsurance, and ERISA coverage disputes. The firm’s practice extends to trial and appeals courts in more than 25 jurisdictions. These cases include disputes in the billions of dollars. Many of these matters have helped define the coverage exposure in the state, with several cases even now poised to clarify the scope of coverage or exclusions under California, Washington State, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Louisiana law.
As recently as June 2016, Ron led a trial team in defending an insurer in a jury trial over a multimillion-dollar claim for coverage on a D&O policy, resulting in a verdict for the insurer after four hours of jury deliberations. Two weeks later, Ron argued before a state appellate panel in support of affirmance of a summary judgment win for another insurer arising from environmental coverage claims by Conrail for hundreds of millions of dollars sought from CGL railroad policies issued in the 1970s and 1980s. Then in November and December 2016, Ron and his team defended an insurer in a trial in Delaware Superior Court in a coverage dispute concerning a $15 million professional liability policy, resulting in a verdict for the insurer after less than three hours of jury deliberations.
Ron and his team have also represented contractors and owners in patent and licensing disputes, including in a successful JAMS arbitration in New York over a licensing dispute in 2014 and a jury verdict for his client in a three-week patent trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2012.
The respected English publisher Chambers & Partners recognized Ron in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, noting that clients admire him as “someone who consistently wins big cases.” Chambers & Partners has further stated: “He is a particularly experienced adviser of businesses and insurers in litigation avoidance matters and settlement strategies. He exhibits further expertise in complex coverage cases and reinsurance disputes. Sources praise him for his clarity, stating that he is able to take ‘complex analytical work, distill it down, synthesize it and navigate it for his clients.’” He has repeatedly been selected by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and has been named in the Best Lawyers in America.
- TIAA-CREF v. Illinois National Insurance Company, et al. – Lead trial and appellate attorney along with colleague Dan Layden. Ron represented Zurich American Insurance Company after TIAA-CREF sought millions from its professional liability insurance carriers, including Zurich, for TIAA-CREF’s settlement of three underlying ERISA class actions. Zurich contended that the insured never sought consent and never properly notified Zurich of the claim, which are both conditions precedent under the Zurich policy. In December 2016, we secured a defense verdict, removing Zurich’s $15 million policy from exposure. The Court denied post-trial motions in June 2017. TIAA-CREF appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court, seeking relief from the finding that it had never properly given Zurich notice of the settlement and potential claims and also urged the court to reverse the lower court’s denial of prejudgment interest. Ron argued the appeal for Zurich on June 6, 2018. Watch the full argument here.
- Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co. v. American Healthcare Services Association, et al. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. On March 1, 2017, Ron argued an appeal before the Supreme Court of New Hampshire in a case involving a multi-million dollar healthcare insurance dispute stemming from dozens of patients contracting Hepatitis C while being treated at a New Hampshire area hospital, which ultimately led to a criminal prosecution. In September 2017, the Court ruled in favor of Ron’s client, Arch Insurance Company. Watch the full argument here.
- UnitedHealth Group, Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co., et al. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Prevailed on summary judgment in coverage and bad faith litigation for two insurers that were part of a professional liability insurance tower issued to UnitedHealth Group, Inc. following insured’s settlement of underlying litigation for $350 million. On October 19, 2016, Ron argued the appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Listen to the full argument here.
- Connect America Holdings, LLC, et al. v. Arch Insurance Company – Lead trial attorney. Secured jury verdict in favor of Insurer in $5 million phase one coverage litigation arising from underlying trademark litigation.
- CIGNA Corp. v. Executive Risk Indemnity Inc. and Nutmeg Insurance Company – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Won summary judgment and held win on appeal on behalf of both Insurers in $20 million coverage and bad faith case arising from underlying ERISA class action.
- Executive Risk Indemnity Inc. v. CIGNA Corp. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Won partial summary judgment, later secured verdict at trial and held win on appeal in coverage and bad faith action involving $135 million insurance claim based on settlement of consolidated MDL class-action lawsuits. Established Pennsylvania law regarding burden of proof for allocation between covered and non-covered loss.
- HSB Group, Inc. v. SVB Underwriting, LTD – Lead trial attorney. Successfully represented plaintiff in Insurer v. Insurer dispute resulting in multi-million verdict for client and implicating foreseeability of loss under tail coverage policy.
- Specialty Surfaces International, Inc., v. Continental Casualty Co. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Won summary judgment and held appeal establishing important Third Circuit precedent that design defects do not qualify as “occurrences” under a general liability policy, whether a claim against the designer is pleaded as a contract or tort cause of action.
- Orchard Brands Topco LLC n/k/a OBC Topco LLC, et al. v. Twin City, et al. – Lead trial attorney. Won phase one decision on partial summary judgment against hedge fund in multi-million coverage dispute relating to disgorgement defense under California law, positioning case for positive resolution for client.
- Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. MP III Holdings, et al. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Won summary judgment in multiple state and federal court actions involving $10 million coverage and bad faith claims.
- Representation of Zurich as lead trial and appellate attorney in several bifurcated faith claims in Florida state and federal courts for property damage and lost income claims arising out of Hurricane losses and bad faith claims subsequent to appraisal proceedings.
- Representation of Chubb, Arch, Swiss Re, and other insurers as lead trial attorney in managed care coverage and bad faith litigation throughout the country, including successfully resolved actions against various Blue Cross and Blue Shield franchisees in Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, California and Illinois arising out of underlying managed care litigation brought by physicians and patients.
- National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford v. Robinson Fans Holdings, Inc. – Lead trial attorney. Tried statutory and common law bad faith claims to a favorable jury outcome, positioning the case to favorably resolve coverage claim arising from competing CGL and E&O policies as applied to allegedly defective industrial fans installed in large cogeneration facility.
- AstenJohnson, Inc. v. Columbia Casualty Co. and American Insurance Co. – Lead trial and appellate attorney. Won summary judgment in initial trial over claim for approximately $100 million of asbestos lawsuit-related damages, argued Seventh Amendment issues on appeal, and prepared for partial retrial, resulting in favorable resolution for client.
- Simon Wrecking Company, Inc., Simon Resources, Inc., Mid-State Trading Company v. American International Underwriters, et al. – Lead trial attorney. Won partial summary judgment in seminal pretrial rulings defining and applying “custom and usage” standard, admissibility of evidence on regulatory estoppel claim, and positioning coverage defense for trial and ultimate favorable resolution.
- The Broadcast Team v. The Hartford. – Lead attorney on post-trial motions and appeal. Won remittitur of $17 million jury award remitted to $1.7 million. The case ultimately resolved favorably on appeal.