Eileen Bower has extensive experience representing insurers in high-exposure, complex insurance coverage disputes arising under various liability policies. Eileen is often called upon to develop and implement a resolution strategy in difficult, multi-party actions and has consistently achieved highly favorable settlements for her clients.
Eileen has litigated many long-tail environmental and asbestos insurance coverage matters in state and federal courts across the country. In that capacity, she has served as lead litigation and trial counsel as well as appellate counsel for more than 30 years. Eileen has also represented insurers in coverage disputes arising under first-party property related to COVID-19, personal and advertising injury/privacy claims, healthcare liability, general liability, professional liability, errors and omission and commercial crime policies in various jurisdictions. She regularly counsels clients with respect to underlying claims involving complex insurance coverage issues, including the nature and extent of the duty to defend; targeted tender; trigger of coverage; allocation; bad faith; other insurance provisions; policyholder and other insurer insolvencies; late notice; and breach of cooperation. In addition, Eileen served as national coordinating counsel for a major insurer’s sexual abuse claims.
Eileen completed the Mediation Skills Certificate Program at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies, which allows her to serve as a mediator in connection with state and federal court panels as well as in a variety of insurance coverage disputes and complex litigation.
Eileen is a prolific presenter on topics involving high exposure, complex insurance issues, including environmental and asbestos litigation, bad faith claims, duty to defend, and reservation of rights.
Eileen has been recognized by Chambers USA and other legal services rankings as a leading lawyer for insurance, and was named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
Eileen is chair of the firm's North American Board and a member of the firm's North American Management Board.
- US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- US Courts of Appeals for the First, Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits
- J.D., Loyola University, 1988
- B.A., cum laude, Loyola University, 1987
- American Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- Illinois Bar Association
- Trial Law Institute
- National Association of Professional Women
- Leadership Council of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago
Reported decisions and significant trial court opinions
- Ryerson v. Federal Insurance Company, 676 F.3d 610 (7th Cir. 2012). Represented Federal Insurance Company in an action brought by a policyholder seeking to recover sums paid in settlement and defense of underlying action arising out of alleged fraud and misrepresentation in sale of a subsidiary. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Federal, finding that amount sought by policyholder was restitution, not “covered loss,” within the meaning of the Federal policy at issue.
- Dutton Lainson Company v. Continental Insurance Company, 778 N.W.2d 433 (Neb. 2010). Represented Continental Insurance Company at trial and on appeal in matter of first impression construing Nebraska law. The Nebraska Supreme Court ultimately upheld the trial court’s verdict, finding that Continental was liable for a pro rata share of costs incurred in remediating environmental contamination and rejecting the policyholder’s argument that Continental must pay “all sums” incurred.
- Olympic Pipeline Company v. Somerset Marine, Inc., et al., 2004 Wash.App. LEXIS 2720 (Wash. Ct. App. 2004). Served as lead trial and appellate counsel and successfully defeated claims made under a marine policy issued to a terminal operator by the owner of a pipeline seeking to recover millions of dollars as the result of a pipeline explosion. The court ultimately rejected the pipeline owner’s claim that it was an insured under the policy at issue.
- Dillon v. Continental Casualty Co., 5:10-cv-05238 (N.D. Cal. 2014). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of client, Continental Casualty Company in an action brought by a receiver to recover losses from insured, a defunct 1031 exchange firm that ran a Ponzi-like real estate embezzlement scheme. The Northern District of California found that Section 533 of the California Insurance Code applied and that the insured could not recover for its own criminal acts.
- Gulf Underwriters Insurance Company v. City of Counsel Bluffs, 755 F. Supp. 2d 988 (S.D. Iowa 2010). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of client, Gulf, in action where the policyholder sought to recover for claims asserted by two individuals who alleged they were wrongfully charged, arrested and convicted of murder. The court found no “wrongful act” during the Gulf policy periods.
- Apex Oil Co. v. AIG, et. Al., Case No. 08 MR 618 (Madison County, Ill. 2011). Obtained partial summary judgment on behalf of client, Continental Insurance Company based on pollution exclusion. The ruling precluded the policyholder from obtaining coverage for clean-up costs under several Continental policies.
Other representative experience
- Served as lead counsel for general liability insurer in matters pending in several different states including Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio with respect to asbestos coverage litigation arising in connection with so-called “pre-packaged” bankruptcy action.
- Successfully obtained order of rescission for series of general liability policies issued to manufacturer of plumbing products, eliminating potential exposure of over $10 million for client.
- Assisted insurer clients in negotiating settlement of high-profile tort cases arising from fire at County-owned building in Illinois while preserving claims against other insurer. Initiated equitable subrogation claim against other insurer to recoup amounts paid by client in settlement.
- Represented insurer in several high-exposure matters arising out of alleged Ponzi schemes by owners/operators of “Qualified Intermediaries” under IRS Code Section 1031.
- Speaker, "Resolving Allocation Disputes Through Mediation," ACI's 2nd National Forum on Insurance Allocation, June 2015