Catalina (Cathy) Sugayan represents domestic and international insurers providing primary, excess and reinsurance coverage to municipalities, school districts, churches and other public and private entities. She has substantial experience in policy drafting, coverage analysis and claims resolution in matters involving civil rights, law enforcement liability, sexual misconduct, land use, education, sports injuries, employment, professional liability, and class and collective actions. She has litigated coverage in several state and federal trial and appellate courts. She has also litigated in bankruptcy court in matters involving duty to defend and settle, bad faith, consent judgments, trigger and allocation, intentional acts, claims made issues, additional insureds, lost policies, UM/UIM and advertising injury.
Cathy received an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, and has been recognized for her work in Insurance Law: Litigation – Insurance, by Best Lawyers in America. She was also selected to Super Lawyers as a top-rated insurance coverage attorney (2005-2006, 2008-2019). Cathy was honored as one of the "Most Powerful & Influential Women in Illinois" by the National Diversity Council in 2011.
Supreme Court of the United States
US District Court for the Northern District of California
US District Court for the Northern District of Florida
US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
US District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits
J.D., Boston University, 1985
B.A., high honors, University of Michigan, 1982
American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC), Fellow
Defense Research Institute (DRI), Insurance and Governmental Liability Sections
Association of Professional Insurance Women
Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), Board member
Trial Bar of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Secured several summary judgment and appellate court rulings for insurer clients in declaratory judgment suits involving policy exclusions, scope of coverage, trigger and number of occurrences, claims made issues, duties to defend and indemnify late notice and available limits.
Obtained favorable policy buy-back settlement agreements on behalf of insurers in several Catholic Diocese bankruptcy actions.
Negotiated favorable settlements in complex class action and multiple claimant lawsuits, including cases alleging unlawful law enforcement activities, sexual molestation, employment claims and property damage.
Defeated bad faith claims in several declaratory judgment lawsuits brought in various state and federal courts.
Represented insurers after entry of significant judgments and consent judgments, and obtained favorable resolutions by coordinating with defense counsel on post-verdict motions and appeals, litigating coverage or securing contributions from the insured and others.
Co-presenter, "High Stakes Litigation and Investigations: Steering Our Clients Through Shifting Tides," NACUA Annual Conference, June 2020
Co-presenter, "The Duty to Settle and Avoiding Bad Faith," DRI's Young Lawyers and Claims Professionals Boot Camp, September 2018
Co-presenter, "Beyond the ABC's: Addressing Sexual Misconduct and Bullying in Schools," 2017 PRIMA Annual Conference, June 2017
Chair, DRI Bad Faith Conference, March 2017
Co-presenter, "Bad Faith Cases and Mediation: How to Succeed, How to Fail," DRI's Insurance Law Committee Webinar, January 2017
Co-presenter, "Consent Judgments: Pushing the Bad Faith Envelope," PLRB Large Loss Conference, October 2016
Co-presenter, "Excessive Force: Prevent Your Municipality from Making Headline News and Paying Costly Claims," 2016 PRIMA Annual Conference, June 2016
Co-presenter, "Liability for Alleged Police Misconduct – The Legal Landscape after Ferguson, Missouri," 2015 ABA Annual Meeting, July 2015
Presenter, "Litigating the Consent Judgment Case," 2015 DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, March 2015
Presenter, "Exoneration – DNA and Its Secret Chromosome in Civil Litigation," 2013 DRI Annual Meeting, October 2013
Presenter, "Drilling Down on the Duty to Defend: Beyond the Four Corners," 2012 DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, March 2012