Liner LLP Adds 10-Member Insurance Recovery Group Led by Top Policyholder Attorney Kirk Pasich

Group includes four new partners, has secured more than $5 billion in insurance coverage for policyholder clients; brings expertise across all areas of insurance coverage claims; expands Liner's national litigation profile

Jul 27, 2015, 15:26 ET from Liner LLP

LOS ANGELES, July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Launching a major new practice group and an expansion of its national litigation platform, Liner LLP announced that it has added a ten-attorney team led by one of the country's preeminent insurance coverage lawyers. 

Joining Liner as partner and head of the firm's new Insurance Recovery Group is Kirk Pasich, whose practice focuses exclusively on policyholder recoveries in insurance disputes with carriers and brokers.  Also arriving as partners are Sandra Thayer, Fiona Chaney and Michael Gehrt, along with six other attorneys who previously practiced together at Dickstein Shapiro.  The new group – which includes two counsel and four associates – will be working in Liner's Westwood office in Los Angeles.

Representing corporate and individual policyholders, Mr. Pasich and his colleagues have helped their clients secure more than $5 billion in insurance-related recoveries. 

The group's success includes recoveries for claims ranging from advertising liabilities to class action settlements, crime and fidelity losses, cyber liabilities and losses, directors and officers' liability, employment claims, environmental and hazardous substances claims, first-party property and business interruption losses, intellectual property and infringement claims, political risk, products liability, and many other areas.

Regularly short-listed among the top litigators in Southern California and top insurance recovery lawyers nationally, Mr. Pasich has handled more than 60 trials and arbitrations and over 50 appellate proceedings.  Chambers has described him as "one of the best known and respected policyholders lawyers" in the United States and the one "most likely to come up with a new argument or perspective concerning policy language." 

Especially well known in the entertainment industry, Mr. Pasich has represented leading film studios, production companies, professional sports teams, publishers, record labels, and TV networks, as well as actors, models, professional athletes, recording artists, senior executives, and other professionals.  Variety named him one of the entertainment industry's top 50 lawyers while LawDragon dubbed him "the entertainment industry's insurance guru."

In coming to Liner, Mr. Pasich's group adds an important new strength to the firm's litigation platform.  "Insurance coverage work is a high-value practice that requires enormous skill, not only in the technical aspects of insurance law but in trial art and settlement negotiation, as well as in so many specialized areas of business – from corporate governance and intellectual property to product liability, workplace law, real estate and wherever the dispute may lie," said Liner managing partner Stuart Liner.

"Kirk Pasich and his colleagues comprise one of the country's elite policyholder practices," Mr. Liner added.  "They enhance our litigation capabilities, expand our national reach with their relationships and trial experience, and deepen our industry expertise.  Kirk and I have known one another for several years and I'm thrilled that this well-established, crown-jewel group including Sandra Thayer, Fiona Chaney and Michael Gehrt, will continue their practice under the Liner banner."

Liner has added partners in several key areas the past year, including prominent entertainment litigator Larry Feldman and bankruptcy specialists Robbin ItkinAlexandra Kelly and Kelly Frazier – Ms. Itkin now serves as chair of Liner's bankruptcy and financial restructuring group.  In the past year the firm also added a group of real estate litigators including Wayne Grajewski, Karen Hallock and Aimee Wong, along with noted real estate transaction partner Richard Schloss

Liner was also selected this past year to the National Law Journal's Mid-Sized Hot List – firms of between 50-150 lawyers recognized for "succeeding at a time when many of their bigger competitors are struggling amid high headcounts and overhead."

"We see a terrific opportunity for continued growth in joining with Liner," Mr. Pasich said.  "Not only does the firm have an outstanding litigation bench with a strong group of first-chair trial attorneys, but it has a highly entrepreneurial culture that encourages its lawyers towards new horizons in practice and business development.  I'm thrilled that Sandy, Fiona, Mike and the rest of our group joining us will continue working as a unit on behalf of our policyholder clients, who should benefit greatly from the Liner platform."

Backgrounds on Four New Partners

Kirk Pasich:  In addition to his high-profile work across the entertainment business, Mr. Pasich has represented companies in many other major sectors, including chemical, defense contracts, energy, financial services, food, manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, and retail.  He has frequently advised policyholders on how to maximize their insurance assets in addition to helping them litigate complex coverage disputes. He has represented insureds in some of the largest and most complex disputes with insurers and insurance brokers across the United States and internationally.  His many articles and books have been cited by state and federal courts and other commentators.   He earned his J.D., cum laude, in 1980 from Loyola Law School and his B.A., also cum laude, in 1977 from UCLA.

Sandra Thayer:  Ms. Thayer represents corporate and individual policyholders in complex coverage matters, with a focus on claims against insurance brokers, entertainment industry losses, and political risk coverage.  She co-led efforts to obtain $1.8 billion from multiple insurers for liabilities resulting from the 2007 San Diego wildfires, and co-tried a broker professional negligence case, obtaining a $48.5 million verdict and judgment against one of the world's largest insurance brokers.  She has arbitrated before the London Court of International Arbitration and second-chaired an entertainment industry arbitration resulting in a total recovery of $100 million.  Ms. Thayer earned her J.D., cum laude, in 1998 from Tulane Law School, and her B.A. in 1994 from UCLA.  She formerly served as the California leader of Dickstein's insurance coverage group.

Fiona Chaney:  Ms. Chaney handles all aspects of insurance coverage matters, focusing on energy industry and entertainment industry claims.  She recently co-tried a Superstorm Sandy coverage case, obtaining a jury verdict for breach of contract and bad faith.  An experienced litigator, she also represents clients in a wide range of non-insurance matters.  She earned her J.D. in 2003 from Loyola Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.  She earned her B.A. from the University of San Diego in 1994.

Michael Gehrt:  Mr. Gehrt is well versed in complex insurance coverage matters.  He has arbitrated before the London Court of International Arbitration, handled coverage disputes over losses in Asia and elsewhere in the world, and been involved in resolving a wide range of coverage disputes, with a focus on first-party property losses, financial institution claims, claims against insurance brokers, and the development of complex damages and loss methodologies.  He earned his J.D. in 2006 from U.C. Hastings College of Law, cum laude, and his B.A. from UCLA in 2003. 

The other six lawyers joining Liner's new Insurance Recovery Group are:

  • Shaun Crosner – Counsel; Mr. Crosner earned his J.D. in 2008 from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and his B.A. magna cum laude in 2005 from UCLA.
  • Pamela Woods – Counsel; Ms. Woods received her J.D. in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall, and her B.A. in 1976 from Stanford University.  She taught for 13 years at the UCLA School of Law. 
  • Anamay Carmel – Associate; Ms. Carmel received her J.D. in 2011 from Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, her M.A. in 2006 from San Diego State University, and her B.A. in 2002 from the University of Arizona.
  • Lindsey Gilbert – Associate; Ms. Gilbert received her J.D. in 2014 from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and her B.S., magna cum laude, in 2011 from Northwestern University.
  • Kim Umanoff – Managing Associate; Ms. Umanoff earned her J.D. in 2012 from the University of Southern California Gould School Law and her B. A. in 2009 from Cornell.
  • Iman Wilson – Managing Associate; Ms. Wilson received her J.D. in 2011 from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and her B.A. in 2007 from Columbia University.

About Liner LLP
Liner LLP, established in 1996, is a full-service law firm serving individual, entrepreneurial and Fortune 100 clients domestically and internationally. With 75 lawyers and two offices in Los Angeles, Liner is known for its success in high-stakes business and entertainment litigation, intellectual property litigation, class actions, real estate, white collar and financial crimes defense, family law, mergers and acquisitions, tax, business and financial restructuring, and media finance.  For more, visit:

Allan Ripp 212-262-7477 
Elizabeth Lampert 925-932-4420

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