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Insurance Coverage Implications of Shale Gas Drilling Operations (Fracking)

Content Partner:  HB Litigation Conferences
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What is the general issue? Why this is important now?
Increasingly, Americans are looking for ways to decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  There is the potential to recover huge amounts of natural gas in the United States through a process of natural gas extraction called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”  With this process, however, comes some concerns over the potential for environmental, property and personal injury damages.  As a result of the increasing use of fracking, there also is a significant rise in the discussion about litigation associated with the practice, and the insurance coverage implications involved with such litigation. Litigation has started, but it is speculative as to if, and if so how large, it will expand. 
Who will be most interested in this program?
Policyholder and Insurer Attorneys
Insurance Company personnel
Energy Companies
Risk Managers
Insurance Brokers
What core concepts will be addressed?
1. Types of actual and potential fracking claims
2. Potential coverages triggered
3. Establishing a causal connection between fracking and the alleged injury
4. Potential coverage issues, including the impact of pollution exclusions
5. Risk management and mitigation
Key Learning Objectives:
1. Since there have not been many coverage cases yet, this session will provide insight on the types of claims that can be expected and the critical issue of establishing a causal connection between the alleged injury and the fracking.
2.  Discussion will cover whether a defendant’s policy is likely to be triggered by claims of personal injury and/or property damage.  
3.  Participants should come away with a solid understanding of the challenges that likely will be made to coverage, such as the pollution exclusion, notice of claims provisions and whether coverage was actually triggered.
4.  A unique analysis will be addressed regarding lawyers’ predictions as to the types of claims and the scope of the litigation based on the first wave of cases that have been filed.
Program Agenda: 
1) Types of Claims Expected and How to Handle the Claims
a. Pollution damage:  allegations of well water and ground water pollution that requires remediation.
b. Personal injury
c. Damage to property
2)  Potential Coverages Triggered - Does the Defendant Have Coverage Under Existing Policies?
a. Discussion of a causal connection between the alleged injury and the fracking
b. Duty to Defend where required under the policy
3)  The Pollution Exclusion:  What Role Will Causation Play in Determining the Application of this Exclusion?
4)  Trigger of Coverage Issue------Is Fracking a Single Event/Occurrence Or a Series of Separate Events/Occurrences that Encompasses Many Years of Activity and Exposure?  
5)  Other Potential Coverage Issues
6)  Question and Answer Session
John D. Shugrue. John is a partner in the Insurance Recovery Group and affiliate member of the Energy and Natural Resources Group in Reed Smith's Chicago office.  His practice focuses on representing policyholders in complex litigation and insurance coverage matters involving General and Excess Liability, OEE/Energy Package, Product Recall, First Party Property/Business Interruption, and Pollution Liability coverage.  In addition to wide experience with all major U.S. insurers, he is experienced in litigation, mediation and arbitration with Lloyd's and other London and Bermuda market insurers.  His significant representations have encompassed major U.S. policyholders such as Anadarko Petroleum, Nicor Gas, Boyd Gaming, Tribune Company, Kraft Foods, Valero Energy, and Republic Services.
After graduating with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1987, John began his legal career at Jenner & Block in Chicago.  He was one of the principal attorneys involved in developing Jenner & Block's insurance recovery practice on behalf of policyholders, and became a partner at Jenner & Block in 1995.  In 2000, he joined Zevnik Horton, a national policyholder firm, as a partner in its Chicago office and chair of its insurance recovery practice.  In 2003, he opened and became the Managing Partner of Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Chicago office.  In 2007, he was made co-chair of Morgan's Insurance Recovery Group.  He joined Reed Smith in 2008. 
John is recognized as one of the top policyholder insurance practitioners in the country by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Legal 500 and Who's Who Legal.  He writes and lectures often on insurance coverage topics, including business interruption claims, D&O liability insurance issues, environmental insurance coverage, coverage for onshore and offshore oil and gas E&P activities, and special issues relating to Lloyd's and the London insurance market.  He co-authored the treatise Insurance Coverage Disputes, published by Law Journal Press.
John is a former co-chair of the American Bar Association Litigation Section's Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee.  He twice co-chaired the Committee's annual meeting, and co-chaired a bi-partisan American Bar Association task force that prepared the Manual for Complex Insurance Coverage Litigation.
Huhnsik Chung.  Huhnsik is a partner in Edwards Wildman Palmer’s Insurance and Reinsurance Department and Partner-in-Charge of the firm's New York office. He is a seasoned litigator who, for more than two decades, has successfully resolved complex, high-value disputes on behalf of the insurance industry in domestic and international arbitrations and judicial proceedings. He successfully applies a focused and result driven approach as coverage and trial counsel to matters related to oil and energy, marine, technology and media, financial institutions, various toxic torts, environmental contamination, products and medical devices, professional services, aviation and life. Clients also rely on Huhnsik's knowledge and understanding of the business of insurance to handle commercial disputes involving producers, books of business, receiverships and reinsurance. Huhnsik has served as counsel in more than 70 insurance and reinsurance related proceedings in the U.S. and abroad. He is also regularly called as New York law expert in Bermuda form arbitrations and recognized by clients and practitioners in New York Superlawyers and Superlawyers Corporate Counsel Edition. 
Hunsik received his undergraduate and law degree from Cornell University and is admitted to practice in New York.

Practice Areas: Energy & Natural Resources Law, Insurance Law
Online Media Type: Audio
Production Date: 11/30/2012
Level: Intermediate
Category: Standard
Duration: 1 Hours, 18 Minutes
Online Format: On Demand

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Total Credits: 1.25
Specialty Credits: 
Status: Reciprocal Credit Available
Expiration: N/A
Training Type: Online

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John D. Shugrue - Partner, Reed Smith
Huhnsik Chung - Partner, Edwards Wildman
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