For over 20 years, Kathryn Ashton has been representing insurers in complex insurance coverage matters in both state and federal courts in California and the Pacific Northwest. She defends insurers against bad faith coverage actions in both trial and appellate courts, including advocating on behalf of the insurance industry on matters of first impression in California.
In addition to her litigation and appellate work, Kathryn counsels insurance clients on matters involving primary, excess and umbrella policies issued by both foreign and domestic insurers. She advises insurance clients on first- and third-party matters, including recently advising clients on claims by policyholders for loss of business income and extra expense due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kathryn started her career working on high-exposure claims involving pollution, asbestos and toxic tort exposures in California. She later expanded her practice to include claims involving complex construction and bodily injury claims asserted under Commercial General Liability insurance policies and miscellaneous professional liability claims. In 2011, Kathryn was seconded to the claims department of a specialty insurer, where she handled large exposure claims involving professional liability, media, entertainment, and technology insurance policies issued to major production companies, studios, publishers, content distributors, and miscellaneous professionals. She continues to provide advice, counseling and, where necessary, to defend insurers with respect to complex coverage matters involving first party and third-party claims.
- US District Court for the Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California
- US Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits
- J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1997. Technical editor for the Santa Clara Law Review and extern for the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
- B.A., Economics, University of California, Davis, 1993
- Bar Association of San Francisco
- Santa Clara County Bar Association
- "Can Violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act Be Insured?," Claims Journal, February 2020
- "Do Choice-of-Law Provisions Insulate Insurance Carriers from Tort and Punitive Damage Liability under California Law?," PLUS Journal and Claims Magazine, May 2015
- Contributing author, "The Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy," American Bar Association, 2010
- Represented insurer client in federal district court and in 9th Circuit, defeating insured’s USD 2M lawsuit and securing judgment for insurer’s reimbursement claim.
- Goldsmith Seeds v. Great American Ins. Co. (6th Dist. Cal. 2016). Unpublished decision affirming judgment rescinding client's USD 20 million excess policy for insured's material non-disclosure on application.
- Great American Ins. Co v. Fidelity & Guaranty Ins. Co (1st Dist. Cal. 2010). Unpublished decision affirming summary judgment on client's million dollar subrogation claim.
- Great American Ins. Co v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., et al. (1st Dist. Cal. 2009). Unpublished decision reversing summary judgment against client on two multi-million dollar claims.
- GAIC v. Assurance, et al. (Wa. Ct. App. 2008). Published decision involving equitable allocation resulting in million dollar credit to client.
- Starpoint v. Daewoo Motor Company (2nd Dist. Cal. 2007). Unpublished opinion reversing demurrer against client in breach of contract action.
- Transdyn/Crecsi Joint Venture v. Washington Int'l (1st Dist. Cal. 2007). Unpublished decision reversing attorney's fees award against client in a surety bond matter.
- Great American Ins. Co v. Fidelity & Guaranty Ins. Co (1st Dist. Cal. 2007). Unpublished decision reversing summary judgment against client's million dollar subrogation action.
- JPI Westcoast Construction Co. v. RJS Assoc. et al. (1st Dist. Cal. 2007). Published decision affirming summary judgment in favor of client on equitable subrogation.
- Catholic Mutual Relief Society v. Superior court (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2007). Published opinion rejecting right of plaintiffs to discover reinsurance information (amicus curiae).
- CreAgri, Inc. v. USANA Corp. (9th Cir. 2006). Published opinion involving trademark infringement claims.
- R.L. Schaefer v. Certain Underwriters (5th Dist. 2006). Unpublished decision affirming summary judgment in clients" favor on professional liability policy.
- Geyser Products, et al. v. American Nat. Ins. co. (10th Cir. Wy. 2005). Unpublished opinion affirming dismissal of USD 28 million judgment creditor action against client.
- Donaldson, et al. v. City of Long Beach (2nd Dist. Cal. 2005). Unpublished decision affirming summary judgment in favor of client in class action involving energy rate hikes.
- Scottsdale Ins. Co v. MV Transportation (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2005). Published opinion involving insurer's right to recover defense costs where the insurer reserved rights and the underlying suit did not raise a potential for coverage (amicus curiae).
- Rosen v. State Farm Gen. Ins. Co. (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2003). Published opinion confirming courts may not rewrite policy language based on perceived public policy (amicus curiae).