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Steven M. Crane
 

[email protected]
213.955.1150

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Appellate Practice
Business Litigation
Civil Litigation
ADR
Insurance
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Toxic and Mass Torts
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Steven M. Crane is a founder of Berkes Crane Robinson & Seal LLP. He has practiced for over thirty-six years as trial and appellate counsel, specializing in complex multi-party civil litigation. He has handled insurance disputes involving errors and omissions, directors and officers, professional liability, first party, general liability, environmental and toxic/mass tort law and products liability, including hazardous waste, pollution, sick buildings, asbestos, breast implants, chemical exposure, electromagnetic fields, lead, and DES. He also handles other complex insurance, commercial, contract, and bad faith litigation.

He has represented clients in hundreds of cases in more than fifteen states and has been trial counsel in several of the largest environmental and asbestos related cases in the country, including:

Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transport Indemnity Company
(hazardous waste and toxic torts)
Flintkote v. American Mutual
(asbestos building claims)
Fuller-Austin v. Fireman’s Fund
(Section 524g asbestos bankruptcy and collusion)
In Re Coordinated Asbestos Proceedings
(asbestos bodily injury and building claims)
Lockheed Corporation v. Continental Insurance Company
(hazardous waste and toxic torts)
State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company
(hazardous waste at Stringfellow site)

Steve was trial counsel in the National Law Journal’s Defense Verdict of the Year in 1991, and is listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America and 25th Anniversary Addition, Who’s Who Legal: California and California Magazine’s Super Lawyers.

Steve has also been appellate counsel on numerous key appellate cases involving insurance and civil litigation issues, including:
Aerojet-General Corporation v. Superior Court, 211 Cal.App.3rd 216 (1989) (involving whether CERCLA response costs are “damages” under a CGL policy)
Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transport Indemnity Company, 17 Cal.4th 38 (1997) (involving whether “site investigation” costs are defense or indemnity under CGL policy and whether defense costs can be allocated to the insured in continuous injury cases)
Aerojet-General Corporation v. Superior Court, 18 Cal.App.4th 996 (1993) (involving right to use inadvertently produced privileged materials)
Aerojet-General Corporation v. American Excess Insurance Company, 97 Cal.App.4th 665 (2002) (involving scope of res judicata/collateral estoppel principles arising from declaratory relief judgments)
Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transcontinental Insurance Company, 2002WL1425381 (involving exhaustion requirements for excess policy attachment and affect of primary insurer settlements on exhaustion)
American Motorists, Inc. v. Thomson Inc., 2011 WL 380612, (involving choice of law principals as to hazardous waste sites)
Armstrong World Industries Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Company, 45 Cal.App.4th 1 (1996) (involving trigger and scope of coverage for asbestos bodily injury and asbestos building cases)
Baek v. Continental Casualty Company, 2014 WL 4966020 __Cal.Rptr.3d__ (involving whether alleged sexual assault falls within the scope of employment or while performing duties related to business for purposes of named insured definition)
Collin v. CalPortland Company, 228 Cal.App.4th 582 (2014) (involving burden of proof regarding asbestos bodily injury claims)
Continental Insurance Company v. Cota, 2010 WL 383367; 2009 WL 5088733 (N.D. CAL. 2010) (involving federal preemption of maritime law on state pilotage indemnity statute)
Continental Insurance Company v. Rockwell Collins, Inc., 2013 Cal.App. Unpub. Lexis 7805 (involving equitable contribution rights where insured has indemnity obligation under a settlement agreement)
Emerson v. Farmers Group, Inc. , 2017 Cal.App. Unpub. Lexis 2161 (involving role of extrinsic evidence in determining the duty to defend)
Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust v. Continental Insurance Company, 666 F.3d 384 (6th Cir. 2011) (involving issues of “drop down” obligations of umbrella policies upon exhaustion of underlying insurance)
Fuller-Austin Insulation Company v. Highlands Insurance Company, 135 Cal.App.4th 958 (2006) (involving duties of excess insurers for asbestos claims under a section 524g bankruptcy plan)
Hallmark Insurance Company v. Superior Court, 201 Cal.App.3rd 1014 (1988) (involving “trigger of coverage” under CGL policy, scope of admissible evidence and burdens of proof in insurance policy litigation)
Huffy Corporation v. Superior Court, 112 Cal.App.4th 97 (2003) (involving when confidential records may be properly sealed)
Kaitz v. District Court, 650 P.2nd 553 (Colo. 1982) (involving right to jury trial and punitive damages in a claim for breach of fiduciary duty)
Lockheed Corporation v. Continental Insurance Company, 134 Cal.App.4th 187 (2005); (involving meaning and trigger of coverage for accident based liability policies, personal injury coverage, defense of administrative proceedings, burden of proof as to covered versus uncovered damage and use of prima facie hearings to determine sufficiency of evidence to meet burden of proof.)
Navcom Defense Electronics, Inc. v. Continental Casualty Company, 2011 WL 3435391 (involving coverage for post-policy acquisitions)
Powers v. Optical Radiation Corporation, 44 Cal.Rptr.2d 485 (1995) (involving federal preemption of tort claims for investigational medical devices)
Rohr Industries Inc. v. First State Interstate Company, 59 Cal.App.4th 1480 (1997) (involving affect of good faith settlements on equitable contribution rights among insurers)
Roberts Oil Company v. Transamerica Insurance Company, 113 N.M. 745 (1992) (involving application of the “voluntary payment” provision of CGL policy to hazardous waste claims)
State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company, 45 Cal.4th 1008 (2009) (involving determination of relevant discharge and concurrent cause principles in context of “sudden and accidental” pollution exclusion)
State of California v. Continental Insurance Company, 55 Cal.4th 186 (2012) (involving allocation of damage and availability of stacking of limits in continuous property damage claim)
Travelers Casualty & Surety Company v. Superior Court, 63 Cal.App.4th 460 (1998) (involving interpretation of the pollution exclusion and burdens of proof under CGL policy)

Steve acts as an expert witness and as a mediator/arbitrator. He is a member of the AAA Complex Panel. Steve advises on a variety of other insurance and reinsurance matters, underwriting, and dispute resolution. He is a frequent lecturer on insurance issues. He is a member of the California and Colorado bars and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, Third Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, Federal Courts in California, Colorado, Michigan, Texas and Arizona. He received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Colorado.
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