In 1987, a small group of Connecticut insurance defense attorneys decided to create their own firm in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, and so our firm was born. We have always maintained our insurance defense practice as a major pillar of our business model, and have worked for many, if not most, of the major insurance carriers doing business in Connecticut and western Massachusetts over the years. We have assembled a team of excellent trial lawyers, which enhances our ability to reach efficient settlements on favorable terms to our clients. Whether your needs involve the defense of a simple claim or a catastrophic loss, the defense of a product manufacturer or a professional liability claim, O’Connell, Attmore & Morris has the experience and talent to get the results you require. Our defense practice areas include: Property & Casualty Defense; Professional Liability Defense, including Employment Practices Liability, and Directors’ and Officers’ Liability; Motor Vehicle Liability Defense; Coverage Disputes; and Product Liability Defense.
Property & Casualty Defense
Our insurance defense attorneys have a wealth of experience handling suits in Connecticut and Massachusetts involving property and casualty claims. We defend homeowners, businesses, daycare centers, condominium associations and contractors from a wide range of claims including those arising from defective premises, negligent security, Dram Shop (liquor liability), construction accidents, negligent supervision, dog bites, and food poisoning, among others. The nature of these claims range from simple accidents to catastrophic events. Our insurance defense attorneys have successfully handled the entire gamut of claims, litigating cases in every court in Connecticut and western Massachusetts, and routinely working with reputable experts, including engineers, physicians and economists, to challenge and to defend against unproven claims.
Professional Liability Defense
Our attorneys are frequently called upon to defend businesses, non-profit agencies, insurance agents and brokers, homeowners’ associations, and property management companies against professional liability claims. Generally, these claims fall into two categories: (i) employment discrimination claims by employees including alleged violations of wage and hour laws; and (ii) claims against directors & officers of negligence or breach of fiduciary duty in the performance of their responsibilities.
Employment Discrimination Claims. The significant growth in employment-related litigation makes the selection of an adept Employment Practices Liability (EPL) firm essential. Our employment defense attorneys are skilled and experienced in defending EPL claims based on race, religion, national origin and retaliation under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Whistleblower Act, and other related state and federal laws. We are frequent practitioners before the EEOC and Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). Our clients benefit from the wealth of knowledge that we incorporate into our case assessments. We provide reasoned analysis regarding liability and special defenses, the appropriate measure of any damages, and a full understanding of the merits of any claims for emotional distress, tortious interference, and punitive damages. Our skilled handling takes the guess work out defending these claims, and enhances the likelihood of a successful outcome for the defense.
Cases alleging violations of wage and hour laws continue to increase in volume. These cases include a variety of claims against employers including unpaid overtime, failure to pay appropriate wages including minimum wage, and employee misclassification. As these claims become more frequent, and involve a sizable number of class members, more employers are being counseled to obtain specialized coverage for these potential losses . Our employment lawyers in Connecticut and western Massachusetts are skilled, knowledgeable and ready to defend these claims.
Directors’ & Officers’ (D&O) Liability Claims. Claims against directors and officers can be extremely disruptive to an organization, whether that organization is a condominium association, a community group, a day care facility, or any other business. Our attorneys frequently provide counseling and a defense to boards of directors sued for negligent acts, omissions or misleading statements. These suits can be brought by other association members, or by third parties, such as customers or clients of the board. Invariably, the claim engenders personal discord, and often creates animosity among neighbors and religious and civic groups, sometimes to an extent that seems greatly disproportionate to the seriousness or monetary value of the issue giving rise to the claim. For that reason particularly, skilled counsel is critical. The specific claims alleged can vary greatly and can include property issues such as easements, quasi-criminal issues such as embezzlement or misappropriation of funds, or construction-related matters stemming from the alleged negligent hiring and supervision of contractors. Whether the best resolution of any particular matter is quick settlement of a simple neighborly spat, or a trial to verdict to exonerate a board member from devastating accusations of impropriety, the accused needs a legal team that can handle whatever the case requires. The insurance defense attorneys at O’Connell, Attmore & Morris in Connecticut and western Massachusetts have assembled that team for you.
Motor Vehicle Liability Defense
We have a team of experienced negligence lawyers who aggressively defend suits brought by those seeking damages arising from motor vehicle accidents. Liability is only half of the defense of these claims and we have many years of experience and accumulated knowledge to decipher, challenge and defeat exaggerated and unsupported medical claims. We can quickly identify the critical issues in any litigation and formulate a plan of action on liability and damages to achieve a cost-appropriate resolution. Sometimes that resolution is through quick settlement, while, at other times, the dispute must be resolved through verdict. Our attorneys will provide you with skilled counsel to guide your claims process and to handle and resolve the defense of any accident claim with steady assurance. Our handling of these claims, in conjunction with our Insurance Coverage practice, has also provided our team with considerable experience with uninsured and under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) issues.
Our experience and responsiveness set our firm apart from other insurance coverage attorneys in Connecticut. We pride ourselves on exceeding our clients’ expectations, whether we are providing complex coverage opinions, assistance in drafting reservation of rights or denial letters, or working toward resolution of disputed claims. Our attorneys provide knowledgeable and cost-effective counsel to insurers regarding claims arising under a broad range of policies: CGL; professional liability; E&O; liquor liability; homeowners; D&O; and excess/umbrella policies. Our attorneys regularly achieve positive results in litigation, mediation, and arbitration for insurers in declaratory judgment actions, bad faith claims, and unfair trade and insurance practice claims.
Product Liability Defense
Our principal attorneys have established a prominent practice in the area of complex product liability defense, serving as statewide counsel in Connecticut and Massachusetts for large manufacturing companies either through their insurance carrier, or directly in the case of self-insured clients. Our firm’s founder, Michael O’Connell, is one of Connecticut’s most experienced asbestos litigation attorneys. Over the past three decades, Attorney O’Connell has leveraged the procedural knowledge that he acquired defending asbestos cases to successfully defend manufacturers in a wide variety of industries including tire, heavy machinery, heavy equipment, commercial vehicles, construction equipment, footwear, sporting equipment, and numerous others.
Led by Attorney O’Connell, our product liability trial attorneys take a hands-on approach to defending these claims, which involves an immersion in the manufacturing and design of products to analyze the specific details, understand the dynamics of the accident, and prepare a full and proper defense for each product. We have built a well-respected bank of qualified engineering and technical contacts across the country that provide expert testimony in product liability cases. This network of relationships with skilled experts in various fields is an important part of our successful strategy for approaching the unique technical and evidentiary analysis that these cases require.
As national coordinator for several clients with complex and recurring litigation, the firm’s principals supervise local counsel outside of Connecticut and Massachusetts and act as lead counsel for litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes nationally. On other hand, our in-depth knowledge of the Connecticut Product Liability Act and local civil procedure make us the perfect choice to serve as local product liability defense counsel in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Drawing on extensive product liability experience, the firm has worked to automate the product liability litigation and claims process, which saves our clients time and expense. Our products defense team takes a methodical, organized approach to every case. Our attorneys involve their paralegal staff, and use electronic document management technology, as appropriate to control costs and provide the most efficient defense possible. After years of consistently surpassing our clients’ expectations, our firm has earned its reputation as a formidable opponent in product liability cases.
Land Title Defense
Our firm’s land title disputes practice bridges the gap between litigation and real estate issues, bringing experience in both areas. We regularly work with title insurance companies to resolve discrepancies and successfully litigate cases involving unreleased mortgages and liens, boundary line disputes, easement issues, zoning problems, and adverse possession challenges. Our senior principal, Michael D. O’Connell, has served as outside counsel for a number of title insurance companies, facilitating smooth real estate transactions and litigating when necessary. Attorney O’Connell has testified repeatedly as an expert witness in the area of real estate law, and has been praised in a recent reported decision as “eminently qualified in title law of Connecticut.” Led by Attorney O’Connell, we are proud to count ourselves among the most qualified, experienced, and proficient title insurance defense attorneys in Connecticut and Massachusetts.