Practice Areas

Insurance Defense

Johnstone Adams attorneys have successful defended insureds in more than 1,000 matters in all manner of cases, including motor vehicle accidents, construction, forestry , agricultural products, seismic testing, municipal liability, premises liability, and medical prostheses. Attorneys in this practice area also have years of experience in representing insurance carriers on a first party basis and are skilled at coverage analysis and opinions.

We currently represent two of the largest carriers in Alabama; our clients also include personal lines, commercial general liability, excess carriers, title insurers, third-party administrators and independent brokers. We have represented healthcare companies, retail stores, restaurants, architects, engineers, contractors, foresters, loggers and controlled burn managers, just to name a few.

Our experience allows us to determine which matters should be resolved quickly to prevent wasting client dollars on unnecessary litigation costs. However, when necessary, our litigators have tried more than one hundred jury cases to conclusion and are prepared to take any case to trial.

Our attorneys are responsive, sensitive to staffing level considerations and experienced at compliance with litigation guidelines and reporting requirements.

Snapshot of Strengths

Our strengths in this practice area are derived from experience in thousands of matters, including:

Featured Client Stories 

We Didn’t Start the Fire. We Put it Out.

Our client was a commercial liability insurer.  Its insured was a business that suffered a catastrophic and total fire loss.  A separate insurer provided the property insurance for the building.  After an extended claim process broke down between the business and the property insurer, the business sued the property insurer for breach of contract and bad faith.  The building itself was owned by another small corporation that rented it to the business, and when the property loss claim came to a standstill, the building owner sued the business for negligently causing the loss of the building.

What made this interesting was that the corporation that owned the building was wholly-owned and controlled by the same individual who wholly-owned and controlled the business insured by our client. He was essentially suing himself. 

Our client was now faced with whether and how to go about carrying out its duty to properly defend an insured whose decision-maker was the same individual that made the decisions for the entity asserting the claims being defended. 

Johnstone Adams approach and solution: Our approach was two-pronged. First, we intervened in the insured’s case against the property insurer and asked the court for a declaratory judgment on whether our client had any obligation to defend the insured under these unique circumstances.  Second, we filed a limited intervention in the negligence case against the insured for the purpose only of asking the court to appoint a temporary receiver for the insured.  The receiver’s only function would be to communicate with the insured’s appointed defense counsel and make decisions for the insured as to defense strategy.  The court agreed and appointed the receiver.

Outcome: Shortly thereafter, we were able to settle all claims and threats against our client’s insured and our client.  The bad faith case against the property insurer went forward and has yet to be resolved.

Next Steps

Johnstone Adams insurance defense attorneys stay abreast of horizon issues in their practice areas and are at the forefront of coverage issues currently being decided at the highest court levels. Whether you are an insurer looking for defense counsel for your insured, self-insured for all or part of your liability or loss, or have questions regarding coverage , we are the attorneys of choice for your insurance  needs in  Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

Practice Group Attorneys

I. David Cherniak
Celia J. Collins
William Hardie
Ben Harris
Robert Jackson
Lawrence Seiter
Charles Simpson
Tracy Turner