Cary B. Lerman

Cary B. Lerman

Cary Lerman has been representing clients in their most complex and significant insurance coverage matters for over 40 years as both a trial lawyer and adviser.

Mr. Lerman represents policyholders in the most difficult and challenging insurance coverage disputes they face. His clients include the largest corporations in the United States and prominent officers and directors of those corporations.  In addition to his policyholder clients, he also represents insurance subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, including General Reinsurance Corporation and Geico.  He also represents one of the largest international insurance brokers. This diverse group of clients gives him a unique perspective and hard-to duplicate experience in approaching insurance disputes, whether in litigation or, as is often the case, short of litigation. Mr. Lerman has a real world view of the interests of insureds, insurers, and brokers, and he brings that unusual experience to bear in representing all his clients.

In addition to trials and international arbitrations, Mr. Lerman counsels companies on insurance-related issues involved in acquisitions, mergers or demergers in order to ensure that coverage is maximized and preserved -- and not lost -- in the process of reorganization. He also reviews clients’ insurance programs and advises on weaknesses or gaps in coverage.  

Mr. Lerman’s practice focuses on all lines of property and casualty and errors and omissions liability insurance, including general liability policies, officer and director liability policies, legal malpractice policies, fidelity bond and crime policies, electronic errors and omissions policies, environmental impairment policies, engineering and architecture liability policies, cyber-security policies, aviation policies and first party property damage policies, including business interruption insurance.

These matters involve insurance coverage for environmental contamination, construction defects, product liability, securities law violations, employee theft, mass tort personal injury claims, advertising, trademark, copyright and privacy violations, and space launches, among others.

As a trial lawyer, Mr. Lerman’s practice includes litigating insurance coverage disputes and other claims in state and federal court. He has successfully tried general insurance coverage and bad faith claims. He won a multi-million dollar jury verdict against a national insurance company under a third-party liability policy, obtaining a finding of bad faith and punitive damages, and won, on summary judgment, a bad faith finding against more than one national insurance company in two separate lawsuits.  

His work on behalf of his clients has resulted in recoveries well in excess of $2 billion.

Mr. Lerman’s practice also includes complex business litigation and arbitrations, including defending class action lawsuits, securities litigation, investment advisory claims, reinsurance transactions, legal malpractice claims, claims arising from Ponzi schemes, complex commercial disputes and consumer unfair trade practices actions.

Mr. Lerman is a fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel Association, and is a frequent lecturer and author of articles on domestic and international arbitration. He has repeatedly been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA.

He regularly teaches at law schools in Russia and elsewhere on international arbitration, negotiation skills, and the rule of law, including in Kazan and Samara, Russia, Odessa, Ukraine, and Baku, Azerbaijan. He was the founder and organizer of the first Russian team to compete in the International Client Counseling Competition.

Mr. Lerman is also active in the arts and art law. He represents visual artists, art publishers, galleries, art representatives and cartoonists in negotiating contracts and in litigation. He also represents museums in litigation, arbitrations and negotiations. And he has taught museum law courses to graduate students studying to become museum directors, curators and registrars.

He graduated from UCLA School of Law (1972), where he served as notes and comments editor of the UCLA Law Review. He was the recipient of the Alumni Award for the highest academic achievement in his graduating class.



Key Representations

  • An international oil company, in a series of related international arbitrations, resulting in combined recoveries of more than $285 million for alleged environmental liabilities.
  • An international company, in obtaining defense and indemnity coverage for their asbestos liabilities, after a multi-year trial, resulting in recoveries of over $200 million.
  • An investment partnership, in obtaining insurance coverage under an errors and omissions policy for investment advisory services claims, after the insurer denied coverage, arguing that the claim was made prior to the policy period.
  • An aerospace company, in obtaining full policy limits of $30 million resulting from destruction of a spacecraft after launch.
  • A petroleum refiner, in collecting more than $75 million in losses, including for business interruption, arising from a refinery fire.
  • A reinsurer, in a series of related lawsuits (including receivership actions, class actions and individual actions) and government investigations alleging fraud in the issuance of reinsurance, against claims in excess of $100 million.
  • An international pipe manufacturer, in a series of lawsuits and arbitrations, successfully obtaining coverage for asbestos bodily and property damage claims and environmental claims.
  • An international coatings company, in obtaining coverage for claims in excess of $100 million, alleging corrosion of off-shore and on-shore drilling rigs.
  • An international transportation company, in defeating an attempt by insurers for reimbursement of over $120 million paid to settle multiple wrongful death and injury claims arising from a fatal railroad accident.
  • An insurance company, in defeating an effort by a reinsurer to avoid paying a reinsurance claim of $10 million.
  • An oil company, in obtaining full coverage for multiple death and bodily injury claims arising from a fire at a drilling rig, with claims in the tens of millions.
  • A start-up internet gaming company, in a review of multiple insurance policies covering their unique risks.


Speaking Engagements

Speaker, “The Jewish Judge Who Stood Up to the Nazis,” Stand With Us, April 26, 2020


Co-Author, “Northrop Ruling Highlights Insurability Of Settlements,” Law360, September 28, 2020