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Sedgwick LLP

Bruce D. Celebrezze
Partner

San Francisco, California
tel: 415.627.3439
fax: 877.547.2780

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Biography

Bruce Celebrezze has been practicing in the field of insurance law for virtually his entire legal career. As one of the country’s leading insurance industry litigators, he has represented a wide variety of international, national, and regional insurers. In addition, Mr. Celebrezze frequently lectures and is widely published as a legal expert in the field. Mr. Celebrezze is exceptionally well regarded by his peers and the wider market, with a national practice that focuses on complex general liability, including personal and advertising injury, property, and specialty lines. He also spends a substantial portion on his practice handling commercial disputes for insurers.

Mr. Celebrezze has been recognized annually for many years by the preeminent legal directory, Chambers USA, as a leader in insurance. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of Insurance Law (2010-2017), as a leading practitioner in Who’s Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance from 2014-2016, and as a world-leading lawyer in the 11th and 12th editions of Insurance and Reinsurance: Expert Guide. Acknowledged in Chambers with highest esteem by his peers who describe him as “extremely knowledgeable, capable and commercially astute” and an as attorney who “would be on any insurer’s list,” Mr. Celebrezze is also recognized as “a great trial lawyer” who is “well known in the industry” for his insurance litigation. Mr. Celebrezze combines “good instincts with a real understanding of insurer and policyholder concerns.” Commentators in Chambers have also noted:

  • he is “a very hard-working, thoughtful, ‘never say die’ kind of guy;“ ”an incredible lawyer” who is “incredibly smart” and “very self-aware.” (2016)
  • “…he is one of the smartest and most hard working coverage attorneys I have ever met. He just really gets the concept of customer service and wants to anticipate your needs. I don’t know what I would do without him on complicated work.” (2015)
  • “…he is particularly strong in class actions and cases involving underlying IP disputes and is a very professional, easy-to-work-with lawyer” who is “really quite excellent.” (2014)
  • “…he has a very good way of facilitating a discussion with the other side to move the case forward to a reasonable resolution.” (2013)
  • “…he is incredibly smart, down to earth and one of the most hard-working people I have ever seen.” (2012)
  • “…the fabulous and dedicated” Bruce Celebrezze is held in high regard by his clients. (2011)
  • “…his dedication [and] practical and common-sense approach.” (2010)

Mr. Celebrezze is recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a California Local Litigation Star and nationally as an Insurance Litigation Star. Commenters for Benchmark Litigation noted, “Bruce Celebrezze is revered as a leading practitioner and has represented numerous top insurance companies in their most high-stakes litigation, including most recently when he successfully defended Travelers in Travelers Property Cas. Co. of America v. Federal Recovery Services, Inc.”

Memberships & Honors

Mr. Celebrezze is the President-Elect, a member of the Board of Regents, and a member of the Executive Committee of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC). The ACCEC is composed of preeminent coverage and extracontractual counsel in the United States and Canada, representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders. The ACCEC is focused on the creative, ethical and efficient adjudication of insurance coverage and extracontractual disputes, peer-provided scholarship, professional coordination and the improvement of the relationship between and among its diverse members. The ACCEC engages in a wide variety of activities designed to promote those goals, in addition to improving the civility and the quality of the practice of insurance law.

Mr. Celebrezze is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), where he recently completed service as a Senior Director and a member of the Executive Committee. Previously he has held several key positions with the FDCC, including serving as a vice president and as Dean of the Litigation Management College Graduate Program. He is also the former Chair of the FDCC’s Insurance Coverage Section and a recipient of the John Alan Appleman Award, which honors the Chair of an FDCC Substantive Law Section who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the FDCC’s education goals through the work of his or her Section.

Mr. Celebrezze is also a member of, and participates in, the Defense Research Institute. He also attends functions in other insurance industry organizations.

Mr. Celebrezze served for one year as a member of the civil grand jury for the City and County of San Francisco. From 2000 to 2016, he was a member of the Board of Trustees, and served as President of the Board for four years, of the Mechanics’ Institute, a 6,000 member, 165,000 volume non-profit library in San Francisco. He also serves as a member of the President’s Visiting Committee of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Litigation Matters

  • Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. KFx Medical Corp., 2016 WL 145996 (9th Cir. 2016) (Court of Appeals affirmed district court finding no duty to defend underlying patent claims under general liability insurance policy, relying on language in insuring agreement and intellectual property exclusion.)
  • Travelers Property Cas. Co. of America v. Federal Recovery Services, Inc., 2015 WL 2201797 (D.Utah May 11, 2015) (Court found no duty to defend claim under errors and omissions policy for intentional refusal to return data.)
  • ReadyLink Healthcare, Inc. v. State Compensation Insurance Fund, 754 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. June 12, 2014) (Issue preclusion barred an employer’s challenge to a California state agency’s calculation of workers’ compensation premium, despite allegation of federal preemption.)
  • Tria Beauty, Inc. v. National Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford, 2013 WL 2181649 (N.D.Cal May 20, 2013) (Court found no duty to defend underlying claims for false advertising, unfair competition, and trademark infringement under general liability insurance policy.)
  • Anh Hung Huynh v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America, 2012 WL 5893482 (N.D.Cal Nov. 23, 2012) (Court found no coverage under landlord policy for marijuana grow operation in view of policy exclusions.)
  • City of Evansville v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 965 N.E.2d 92 (Ind. Ct. App. March 23, 2012) (Appellate court ruled that municipality’s excess layer general liability policies were not triggered when action sought to prevent future pollution rather than remediate past pollution.)
  • The Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Computer Sciences Corporation, 2012 WL 639159 (Cal.App. February 27, 2012) (No duty to defend underlying class action litigation regarding use of “Colossus” software program to evaluate bodily injury claims resulting in uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists claims.)
  • Stonebreaker v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, et al., 2012 WL 601422 (S.D.Cal. February 23, 2012) (In action over life insurance proceeds, judgment in interpleader granted, and breach of contract claim dismissed and future prosecution of breach of contract claims enjoined.)
  • Rupracht v. Union Security Insurance Co., 2011 WL 6109574 (D.Nev. December 7, 2011) (Court granted motion to dismiss cause of action for conversion on claim for guaranteed death benefits.)
  • Bender v. Hartford Life Insurance Company, 2011 WL 3566483 (N.D.Cal. August 12, 2011) (Court granted summary judgment in favor of insurer, upholding denial of claim for long term disability benefits.)
  • Finley v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 2010 WL 4116636 (9th Cir. Oct. 19, 2010) (Ninth Circuit reversed district court order denying motion for summary judgment to insurer which terminated long term disability benefits, finding that termination of benefits was justified on the evidence.)
  • Zurich American Ins. v. Grand Ave. Transport, 2010 WL 682530 (N.D.Cal., February 23, 2010) (Court granted summary judgment to commercial auto/trucking insurer, finding that endorsement which barred coverage was enforceable under California Insurance Code and federal law.)
  • Riverport Ins. Co. v. Oakland Community Housing, Inc., 668 F.Supp.2d 1235 (N.D.Cal., November 06, 2009) (Court granted summary judgment to insurer that its obligation to provide notice of cancellation flowed only to named insured, not others claiming rights as additional insured.)

Selected Presentations

Mr. Celebrezze has written papers for, and participated as a lecturer, in various continuing legal education courses in the area of insurance coverage for insurance industry and legal organizations such as the FDCC, DRI, ACCEC, PLRB, and client- and Sedgwick-sponsored seminars domestically and in London. Some of these presentations include:

  • FDCC Annual Meeting, “The Inherent Difficulties in Interpreting the Application of the War Exclusion,” Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada (July 25, 2016).
  • DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, “Coverage B:  Personal Injury and Advertising Injury Liability Trends,” Chicago, IL (April 8, 2016).
  • Client Presentation, “Duty to Defend:  California Trends,” Hartford, CT (February 18, 2015).
  • Client Presentation, “Issues Regarding Additional Insureds and Claims By Insurers,” Los Angeles, CA (September 2, 2014).
  • Client Presentation, “Hot Topics in Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation,” (June 25, 2014).
  • Lecturer – Litigation Management College Graduate Program, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (2010-2014).
  • American College of Extracontractual Counsel 2014 Insurance Law Symposium, “Defective Construction Claims: Where Breach of Warranty and Covered Occurrences Merge or Divide,” (March 21, 2014).
  • HB Litigation Insurance Allocation Strategies 2013 Conference, “Allocating Defense Fees and Costs,” (October 28, 2013).
  • Client Presentation, “Settlement Obligations Under California Law,” In-House Presentation to Clients, San Francisco, California (September 18, 2013).
  • Client Presentation, “Dispute Resolution In a World Of Unpredictable Courts: The Art Of Settling a Claim,” (April 15, 2013).
  • DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, “Insurer Challenges In Dealing With Covered and Non-Covered Claims,” Chicago, IL (April 12, 2013).

Areas of Concentration

Property & Casualty Coverage; Extracontractual & Commercial Insurance Litigation; Governmental/Public Entity/Social Service Agency Coverage; Insurance Regulatory; Reinsurance

Admissions

California; Illinois; 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.); U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.); U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.); U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.); U.S. District Court (N.D. Ill.); U.S. District Court (E.D. Mich.); U.S. District Court (W.D. Mich.); U.S. District Court (N.D. Ohio)

Education

J.D. (1979) University of Michigan Law School
A.B. (1976) University of Notre Dame, with high honors