Kenneth H. Sumner

Attorney Biography

Kenneth H. Sumner has a broad practice but focuses primarily in complex coverage litigation involving environmental and toxic tort claims. Mr. Sumner has also directly defended a number of professionals against claims of negligence in their capacity as insurance brokers, attorneys and financial advisors. Consistent with the philosophy of the entire firm in pursuing  efficient and low cost resolution to disputes, he has negotiated a number of high value settlements between his insurer clients and their institutional policyholders. These claims most typically involve multi-million dollar liabilities. Where settlement has not been possible, Mr. Sumner has successfully represented insurers in bench trials and, were necessary, in California, Oregon and Colorado appellate courts. To help clients maintain transactional cost control, Mr. Sumner also provides claim counseling for high profile matters in an effort to resolve disputes without formal litigation.

Representative insurance coverage cases at the trial court level include: Marine Group v. Century Indemnity et al (environmental claims involving the Portland Harbor Superfund); Montrose Chemical Corporation v. Continental Casualty Company (liability relating to former manufacturer of DDT); ITT, Inc. v. Pacific Employers Casualty Company (environmental claims at multiple sites across the United States); Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation v. London Market Insurers, et al. (insurance coverage for asbestos liability); Louisiana Pacific Corporation v. Insurance Company of Pennsylvania (multi-site environmental coverage action involving wood processing and manufacturing); Truck Insurance Exchange v. Unocal (multi-site environmental coverage action involving oil and gas extraction and processing); Aetna Cas. & Surety Co. v. First Nationwide Bank (coverage action involving construction defect and toxic tort claims for large scale residential development); and Employers Mutual of Wausau v. J.H. Baxter & Company (related lawsuits in Washington, Oregon and California relating to wood treatment operations).

Mr. Sumner graduated in 1990 from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degree in Geology. He received its Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1995. He is admitted in all the courts for the State of California, as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of California and the District of Colorado. Mr. Sumner is also admitted to practice before the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal.