Scott F. Bertschi focuses his practice on insurance coverage, professional liability defense and data breach response. He represents insurance companies in litigating coverage disputes, including the institution of declaratory judgment actions and actions to rescind insurance policies, the defense of breach of contract actions and actions in which the insured alleges bad faith or extra-contractual damages, and actions between insurance companies to resolve allocation and relative priority issues. He also advises insurance companies on all aspects of the claims-resolution process, including the provision of coverage opinions, advice on the allocation of indemnity payments, strategies to minimize the risk of bad faith suits and suits to collect consent judgments, and advice as monitoring counsel.
Scott's insurance practice covers a wide range of insurance products, including professional liability policies, director and officers policies, cyber-risk policies, and commercial general liability and property policies. He has a particular wealth of experience in the substantive law regarding professional malpractice liability. Scott regularly represents lawyers and other professionals in malpractice suits and ethics investigations. His experience with insurance claims has led him to provide advice to insurance companies regarding product development, including assisting his clients in drafting policy forms and endorsements.
Scott is an active participant in the legal community and has authored numerous articles and publications and presented on insurance-related topics. Most recently, he edited the book, "The Law of Lawyers’ Liability," which surveys the legal malpractice laws of the United States on a state-by-state basis. He was recently recognized by Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in insurance litigation.
Georgia Court of Appeals
Supreme Court of Georgia
US Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth and Eleventh Circuits
US District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Eastern Districts of Georgia
J.D., with distinction, Emory University School of Law, 1994. Order of the Coif. Robert W. Woodruff Scholar. Executive Managing Editor for the Emory Law Journal.
Honors Program, Economics, University of St. Andrews, 1991. Robert T. Jones Scholar.
B.A., summa cum laude, Economics and Political Science, Emory University, 1990. Dean's Scholar. Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.
State Bar of Georgia, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, past chair
American Bar Association
Standing Committee on Lawyer’s Professional Liability
Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
Professional Liability Litigation Committee, past co-chair
Advised regional medical malpractice insurance company regarding coverage for and response to policy-limits settlement demand against multiple insured doctors for liability for the alleged wrongful death of a six-year old in an urgent care clinic.
Successfully represented insurance company in the US District Court for South Carolina against a suit by a claimant attempting to collect a consent judgment in excess of the $1 million policy limits. After filing a motion to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the insured was insulated from any personal liability for the consent judgment, the claimant voluntarily dismissed the suit.
Obtained summary judgment for national insurance adjusting company against claim by roofing contractor that adjuster defamed roofing contractor and tortuously interfered with its business relations. Additionally obtained an order awarding their clients' attorneys’ fees based on plaintiffs’ conduct in discovery. Maxsus, Inc., et. al. v. E.A. Renfroe Co., Inc., et. al., State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia, Civil Action No. 10C-05606-3.
Obtained summary judgment for an insurance company in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The Court held that the insurance company had no obligation to defend or indemnify the insured-attorney against a multi-million dollar claim involving a large commercial real-estate transaction. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company v. Raymond Desautels, III et. al., Case No. 4:09-cv-40031 (D. Mass.).
Successfully represented Hiscox Insurance Company on behalf of a Lloyd’s, London Syndicate in the Georgia Court of Appeals. Retained after the trial court granted summary judgment to the insured-real estate appraiser obligating the insurance company to defend it in a negligence action involving more than 30 appraisals. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. Michael A. Voller, et. al., Appeal No. A10A1775 (Ga. Ct. App.).
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a national legal malpractice insurance company against suit by insured-lawyer seeking coverage for claim arising out of a “Nigerian” check fraud scheme. Fidelity Bank v. Theodore Stapleton v. American Guarantee and Liability Ins. Co., In the State Court of Cobb County, Georgia, Civil Action No. 07A-11482-2.
Obtained summary judgment for a legal malpractice insurer in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Court held that the insurance company had no obligation to pay a judgment against the insured-attorney for the return of estate commissions.
Obtained a defense verdict in a week-long jury trial of a legal malpractice claim in which the former client contended that the defendant-lawyer committed a host of negligent acts in his litigation of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Assisted an international insurance company in revising its commercial property and commercial general liability forms for purposes of a package policy offered to the entertainment industry.
Litigated the seminal case in Georgia regarding an insurer's right to settle a claim subject to a unilateral reservation of rights: Facility Investments, LP v. Homeland Ins. Co. of New York, 321 Ga. App. 103, 741 S.E.2d 228 (2013).
Obtained Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of a legal malpractice insurer on the issue of its duty to defend. The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that the attorney's post-retroactive date acts were related to acts occurring prior to the retroactive date and, thus, excluded from coverage. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Abram Law Group, Case No. 1:11-cv-03483 (N.D. Ga.). The district court's decision was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Abram Law Group, LLC, 555 Fed. Appx. 919 (11th Cir. 2014).
"Ethical Considerations: The Cumis Doctrine," Insurance in the Construction Industry Seminar, The Seminar Group, March 2017
"Pitfalls in Claims Handling," private presentation, March 2017