Joanna Gau Swartout serves as coverage counsel for domestic and international property and casualty insurance companies. Her practice focuses on a wide range of complex coverage disputes, including matters involving third-party general liability coverage, first-party property and COVID-19 claims, excess liability, construction defects, bad faith, sexual abuse, malicious prosecution, pollution, public entity, professional liability, biometric privacy/cyber, and reinsurance.
Joanna has extensive experience resolving coverage disputes in pre-suit, litigation, and alternative dispute resolution forums. She has also advised insurers on policy wording and underwriting practices.
Prior to her legal career, Joanna worked as a senior manager in the Washington, D.C. and New Delhi, India offices of a multinational business research firm.
- US District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois
- US Court of Appeals for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits
- J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 2011. Articles Editor, Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy; Co-President, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; Curriculum Committee Co-Chair, Student Bar Association.
- B.A., University of Michigan, Honors, 2004.
- Obtained ruling for insurer under Kentucky law that governmental COVID-19 business restrictions in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio did not cause “direct physical loss” of property, and were not issued in response to infectious disease at any insured premises, as would be required to trigger commercial property insurance coverage.
- Obtained judgment that insurer owed no coverage for business income loss given that COVID-19 restrictions on restaurant operations did not constitute “direct physical loss” of property under Illinois law.
- Obtained affirmation of summary judgment before the Ninth Circuit, confirming that insurer did not act in bad faith under Contractor’s Pollution coverage when it denied coverage on the basis of a mold exclusion for damage caused by negligent spraying of Sporicidin, and where the claimant never made a settlement demand within limits.
- Negotiated favorable settlement for insurer involving over one hundred claimants seeking over USD 80 million for bodily injury claims sustained after ingesting dietary supplements.