Zuckerman Spaeder Partner Carl Kravitz Named a “Litigation Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is pleased to announce that The National Law Journal has named partner Carl S. Kravitz as a 2022 Litigation Trailblazer. The award recognizes legal professionals who are agents of change in their practice area.
Mr. Kravitz’s recent success demonstrates his ability to deliver exceptional results in complex litigation – from obtaining justice for sexually abused children to returning millions to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan members. And, while his practice is wide-ranging, his expertise on insurance matters has helped deliver lead paint litigation rulings that have set precedents and are resolving critical questions about insurers’ liability.
The most notable of these matters arose from California-based litigation in which ConAgra and other companies agreed to a $305 million abatement fund after being held liable in nuisance for promoting residential lead paint use. When ConAgra attempted to shift the fund’s cost to its insurers, Mr. Kravitz’s clients – Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London and other insurers – denied that the policies covered ConAgra’s liability.
In court, Mr. Kravitz successfully argued that ConAgra’s lead paint promotion was willful and, therefore, uninsurable, leading to a San Francisco Superior Court ruling on behalf of his clients. The court found that the defendant knew that lead paint used inside homes would harm children and cause a public health hazard, yet continued to promote its residential use. This year, the California Court rejected its argument and the California Supreme Court denied its petition for appeal, ensuring that Mr. Kravitz’s clients and their investors will not be forced to take financial responsibility for ConAgra’s history of promoting paints it knew were dangerous.
Mr. Kravitz delivered another significant win this year in a years-long subrogation action for Lloyd’s and other insurers seeking to recover costs paid for their insureds for lead paint litigation. In June 2022, the New York Supreme Court awarded his clients over $9 million.
Asked about the implications of these cases, Mr. Kravitz told The National Law Journal that they “provide a roadmap for preserving and enforcing insurers’ subrogation rights and serve as a guidepost on emerging laws on insurance coverage for public nuisance liability, a very real threat we see taking shape across industries.”
As significant as his achievements in the insurance arena have been, Mr. Kravitz’s success extends beyond this work. Two recent cases demonstrate his ability to win regardless of the subject area. In one, Carl represented sexually abused children in action against the Mormon Church and others. After a favorable West Virginia Supreme Court ruling, the case settled on confidential terms after ten weeks of trial. In another high-profile class action, Carl represented ERISA plans in a foreign exchange trading case against State Street Bank, settling for $300 million.