Kathryn Ashton is an appellate specialist certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization. She provides advice and counseling regarding appellate issues, standards of review, preservation of error, interlocutory review, stays of execution and chances of success on appeals involving coverage and direct defense matters with large indemnity exposures. She has handled numerous appeals in California and has briefed appeals pending in other Pacific Northwest states, including Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. 

Recently, Kathryn obtained a unanimous decision from a California Court of Appeal involving rescission of a $20 million excess insurance policy based on an insured's material non-disclosure during the application process. Kathryn worked on behalf of the insurer in that case from the initial tender of the claim, through trial to a jury, and then defended the judgment in favor of the client through appeal. In representing clients through all stages of a litigation matter, Kathryn is able to provide continuity from inception of a claim through exhaustion of all court remedies.

In addition to her appellate expertise, Kathryn has represented insurers in complex insurance coverage litigation in both state and federal courts for more than 15 years. She handles coverage matters involving primary and excess/umbrella policies issued by both foreign and domestic insurers. She has advised and drafted coverage positions concerning a multitude of claims including those involving media/entertainment, tech and privacy, copyright and trademark infringement, pollution, toxic tort, professional liability, construction defect, negligent hiring, trade credit losses and advertising injuries. Kathryn also has extensive experience litigating matters involving equitable contribution, contractual and equitable indemnity, subrogation and priority of insurance coverage.

Kathryn drafts policy wordings and manuscript endorsements, including wordings involving coverage for professional liability, general liability, management liability, cyber and multimedia risks.


  • California
  • US District Court for the Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • 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


  • Contributing author, "The Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy," American Bar Association, 2010
  • "Do Choice-of-Law Provisions Insulate Insurance Carriers from Tort and Punitive Damage Liability under California Law?," PLUS Journal and Claims Magazine, May 2015
  • "Can Violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act Be Insured?," Claims Journal, February 2020