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, Bruce frequently lectures and is widely published as a legal expert in the field.
Bruce 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 of his practice handling commercial disputes for insurers.
Bruce has received many honors and recognitions for his insurance work and excellence. Bruce currently serves as president of the prestigious American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel. He has been recognized annually for many years by the pre-eminent legal directory Chambers USA as a leader in insurance, with highest esteem by his peers who describe him as “extremely knowledgeable, capable and commercially astute” and as an attorney who “would be on any insurer’s list.” Bruce is also recognized as “a great trial lawyer” who is “well known in the industry” for his insurance litigation. Bruce combines “good instincts with a real understanding of insurer and policyholder concerns.” Additional comments by peers in Chambers USA include:
- “He is incredibly responsive, as smart as they come and exceptionally skilled in this area of the law.” (2017)
- 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)
- [Bruce is known for] “his dedication [and] practical and common-sense approach.” (2010)
Bruce has been praised and recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a leader in his field, “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.”
- Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. KLA-Tencor Corporation, slip opinion, Santa Clara Superior Court, 2017. The court granted summary judgment finding no duty to defend under Coverage B of commercial general liability policy for underlying Walker Process antitrust claim pending in federal district court in Texas and Federal Circuit.
- Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. KFx Medical Corporation, 2016 WL 145996, 9th Cir. 2016. The 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. The 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. The 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. The 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. The appellate court ruled that the 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. The 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. The 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. The 9th 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. The 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. The 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.
Presentations and Publications
Bruce 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:
- “War and Peace (The Abridged Version): Application Of The War And Terrorism Exclusions,” American College of Coverage & Extracontractual Counsel, Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (May 11, 2017).
- “The Inherent Difficulties in Interpreting the Application of the War Exclusion,” Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Coverage Masters, Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada (July 23, 2016).
- “Coverage B: Personal Injury and Advertising Injury Liability Trends,” DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Chicago, IL (April 8, 2016).
- “Duty to Defend: California Trends,” Client Presentation, Hartford, CT (February 18, 2015).
- “Issues Regarding Additional Insureds and Claims By Insurers,” Client Presentation, Los Angeles, CA (September 2, 2014).
- “Hot Topics in Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation,” Client Presentation (June 25, 2014).
- Lecturer, Litigation Management College Graduate Program, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (2010-2014).
- “Defective Construction Claims: Where Breach of Warranty and Covered Occurrences Merge or Divide,” American College of Extracontractual Counsel 2014 Insurance Law Symposium (March 21, 2014).
- “Allocating Defense Fees and Costs,” HB Litigation Insurance Allocation Strategies 2013 Conference, (October 28, 2013).
- “Settlement Obligations Under California Law,” Client Presentation, San Francisco, California (September 18, 2013).
- “Dispute Resolution in a World of Unpredictable Courts: The Art of Settling a Claim,” Client Presentation (April 15, 2013).
- “Insurer Challenges In Dealing With Covered and Non-Covered Claims,” DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Chicago, IL (April 12, 2013).
- Program Chair, FDCC, Mid-Winter Meeting, Indian Wells, CA (March 2011).
- “The View From the U.S. Trial Room: Update on Bad Faith and Other Issues,” Sedgwick’s London Seminar, London, England (March 2011).
- “Update on Ojo v. Farmers — Is McCarran-Ferguson Being Eroded?” Sedgwick’s Insurance Regulation and Litigation Seminar, Sacramento, CA (February 15, 2011).
- “Litigation Management College,” PLRB/LIRB 2010 Claims Conference, San Antonio, TX (March 23-24, 2010).
- “Federal Regulation: Is it Time?” Sedgwick’s Insurance Regulation and Litigation Seminar, Sacramento, CA (January 2010).
- 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)
- J.D. (1979) University of Michigan Law School
- A.B. (1976) University of Notre Dame, with high honors
- The FDCC John Alan Appleman Award, for outstanding contributions as a chair of a law section to the advancement of the FDCC’s education goals
- Chambers USA repeated listings for insurance litigation excellence (2010 – 2017)
- Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law (2010 – 2018)
- Who’s Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance (2014 – 2017)
- Insurance and Reinsurance: Expert Guide, world-leading lawyer (2012 – 2016)
- Benchmark Litigation, “National Insurance Litigation Star” and “California Local Litigation Star”
Memberships and Affiliations
- 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.) — president; Board of Regents; Executive Committee
- Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) — recent senior director; Executive Committee; previous vice president and dean of the Litigation Management College Graduate Program; former chair of the Insurance Coverage Section
- Defense Research Institute
- City and County of San Francisco — civil grand jury member (1996-1997)
- Mechanics’ Institute (6,000 member, 165,000 volume non-profit library in San Francisco) — Board of Trustees (member for 16 years), former president (four years)
- St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio — President’s Visiting Committee