Patrick Hofer is a trial and appellate litigator, representing clients in courts nationwide for more than 30 years. He represents insurers in complex coverage disputes, focusing on issues at the intersection of insurance law and corporation law. Patrick is recognized for his experience in the treatment of insurance rights in corporate mergers and reorganizations. He litigates insurance coverage disputes involving mass torts, environmental claims, asbestos, construction defects, defective products, first-party property coverage, terrorism and catastrophes.
A number of large insurance companies have retained Patrick to handle high profile, high exposure and legally significant cases in the environmental, mass tort, talc, asbestos and related arenas. He obtained significant victories in the Supreme Court of California and the Supreme Court of Ohio in cases determining how insurance rights are affected when a corporation’s identity is changed through spin-off or dissolution. Patrick was retained by two large insurance clients to coordinate response to dozens of cases seeking business interruption loss arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- US Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circuits
- US District Court for the District of Columbia
- US District Court for the Western District of Virginia
- J.D., University of Virginia, 1986
- B.A., with distinction, University of Virginia, 1983
Patrick has achieved a large number of high profile litigation successes that have benefitted not only his clients, but insurers more broadly. Patrick’s list of litigation successes include:
- Continental Ins. Co. v. Daikin Applied Americas Inc., _ F. Supp. 3d __, 2019 WL 10835995 (D. Minn. 2019) (on appeal). Insurer that issued liability policies to one of many predecessors of an asbestos product defendant owed a duty to defend only if an underlying complaint alleged that the defendant’s liability arose out of the specific predecessor entity covered by the insurer, and not if the defendant were sued without specification of which predecessor’s asbestos products were at issue.
- Williams v. Employers Mut. Cas. Co., 845 F.3d 891 (8th Cir. 2017) Under Missouri law, a pollution exclusion excludes claims arising out of well water contaminated with naturally-occurring radioactive material. The decision also held that the suit, filed by a class of claimants against insurers, seeking to recover an $82 million class judgment the class had obtained against the insured, constituted a "class action" for purposes of removal to federal court under CAFA.
- In re: All Cases Against Sager Corporation, 132 Ohio. St. 3d 5 (2012). In case with nationwide implications, Ohio supreme court ruled that when determining whether a dissolved corporation is subject to suit, a court must give effect to the law of its state of incorporation, not forum state law, under the Full Faith and Credit and Due Process Clauses; claimants may not evade the bar of dissolution by seeking to appoint receiver to collect liability insurance as "assets," because insurance policies create no obligation to indemnify absent a judgment against the insured.
- Doe Run Resources Corp. v. Fidelity & Casualty Co. of New York, No. G0506089 (Cal. App. 2016). Under Missouri law, insured’s settlement of $55 million class action without notice to or consent from excess insurer was not covered under excess insurance policy, and insurer did not need to demonstrate additional prejudice arising out of the settlement.
- PB Americas Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co., 690 F. Supp. 2d 242 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). In case involving professional liability coverage for claims arising out of the "Big Dig," obtained dismissal of 2 of 3 counts and narrowed issues for litigation, leading to later settlement.
- P.R. Mallory & Co. v. American Cas. Co., 920 N.E.2d 736 (Ind. App. 2010). Affirming summary judgment in favor of insurer holding that over-15-year delay in giving notice to insurer of environmental claims was unreasonably late as a matter of law, and that insured failed to rebut presumption of prejudice to insurer.
- World Trade Center Properties, L.L.C. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 345 F.3d 154 (2d Cir. 2003), aff’g 222 F. Supp. 2d 385 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). Prevailed in establishing that September 11 attack on World Trade Center was one "occurrence," not two, for insurance purposes.
- Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Acc. and Indem. Co., 29 Cal. 4th 934, (2003). Obtained ruling, reversing intermediate court of appeal and rejecting Ninth Circuit prediction of California law, that insurance rights may not be assigned to purchaser of corporate assets absent insurer consent.
- Travelers Ins. Co. v. Eljer Mfg., Inc., 197 Ill. 2d 278, 757 N.E.2d 481 (2001). Mere incorporation of defective product into other property is not "physical injury to tangible property" covered by insurance policies; ruling reversed intermediate appellate court and rejected contrary Seventh Circuit opinion.
- Harrow Prods., Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 64 F.3d 1015 (6th Cir. 1995). Pollution claims are not covered under policy provisions insuring against the torts of wrongful entry or eviction or other invasion of the right of private occupancy.
- Fibreboard Corp. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 16 Cal. App. 4th 492, 20 Cal. Rptr. 2d 376 (1993). Claims arising out of insured’s products are subject to the products hazard definition (and aggregate limits), no matter what theory of liability plaintiffs assert; conspiracy claims allege intentional wrongdoing and are not covered; asbestos-in-building claims are not covered by "personal injury liability" insurance for "wrongful entry or eviction".
- "Flour Corp. v. Superior Court: Analysis and Impact," Mealey's Litigation Report Insurance, March 2016
- "Corporate Succession and Insurance Rights after Henkel: A Return to Common Sense," 42 Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice L.J. 763, 2007