Jim Baffa focuses his practice on insurance coverage litigation and counseling. He has litigated insurance coverage disputes and multiple issues related to insurance company claims handling. He also has extensive experience representing excess and umbrella insurers, as well as defending carriers against bad faith claims. His nationwide insurance coverage practice regularly involves new or novel issues and matters of first impression.
Jim’s practice has included pro hac vice admissions in numerous jurisdictions in federal and state courts across the country at the trial and appellate level.
Jim represents domestic and international insurers in coverage and claims-handling disputes, and his broad coverage experience includes underlying claims involving:
- Product liability
- Construction defects
- Environmental liability
- Personal and advertising injury
- Pharmaceutical liability
- Professional liability
- Represented excess insurer in coverage and extra-contractual litigation arising from multi-million dollar construction defect claim concerning housing development in California.
- Represented primary and excess insurers in coverage and extra-contractual litigation arising from underlying allegations of product and “false claims” liability.
- Represented primary insurer in Florida federal court concerning personal and advertising injury coverage dispute involving underlying antitrust allegations; summary judgment affirmed on appeal.
- Represented primary insurer in North Carolina federal court with respect to coverage dispute involving the number of occurrences; summary judgment affirmed on appeal.
- Represented umbrella insurer in coverage dispute in California federal court concerning underlying product liability claims involving defective tomato cans; favorable settlement reached after extensive motion practice and appeal.
- Represented umbrella insurer in coverage dispute in California federal court concerning underlying product liability claims involving defective fruit cups; summary judgment affirmed on appeal.
- Represented claims-made pollution liability insurer in coverage dispute in Minnesota federal court involving underlying claims of bodily injury; favorable settlement reached after motion practice and appeal.
- Represented excess insurer in long-tail asbestos coverage dispute in New York state court involving choice of law, allocation and other issues; favorable settlement reached after extensive motion practice and appeal.
- Represented umbrella insurer in coverage dispute in North Carolina federal court involving underlying allegations of defective resin used to manufacture hurricane-resistant windows; favorable settlement reached after years of contentious litigation.
- Represented umbrella insurer in Indiana federal court involving underlying wrongful death lawsuit; summary judgment of no coverage due to insured’s breach of “no voluntary payments” condition affirmed on appeal.
Presentations and Publications
- Author, “The Incorporation Theory of Property Damage – Background, Nuances, Notable Errors in Application and a Proposal for Future Cases,” DRI For the Defense (May 2017).
- Commentary, “The ‘Unavailability’ of Insurance Exception to Pro Rata Allocation: What It Is and Why Courts Should Reject It,” 26-18 Mealey’s Litig. Rep. Ins. 13 (March 2012).
- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court (N.D. Ill.)
- J.D. (2005) DePaul University College of Law, magna cum laude
- B.S. (2001) Bradley University, magna cum laude
Memberships and Affiliations
- Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, Insurance Coverage Committee — co-chair (2009−2011)
- Armadillo Club (comprised of almost 1,000 attorneys nationwide who practice primarily in the insurance coverage field)