ATTORNEY BIO
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880 Montclair Road Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35213
Assistant
Ginger Wooten
Legal Assistant
bio image Steve Whitehead
shareholder

Steve is the Managing Shareholder for LGWM. Steve co-chairs LGWM's Insurance Coverage Practice Group, and he leads LGWM's Professional Liability Practice Group. Steve primarily has defended insurance agents and brokers and insurance companies for the past 25 years. In addition, Steve regularly has defended a wide array of professionals in malpractice claims, including attorneys, appraisers, real estate agents, title agents, third-party administrators, and accountants.

Steve's Insurance Coverage practice includes assisting carriers in making coverage determinations and rendering coverage advice; prosecuting and defending declaratory judgment actions; defending bad faith actions; and providing monitoring counsel services throughout the southeast United States. Steve's coverage experience encompasses a broad range of coverage forms including D&O and E&O, GL, EPL, Property, Pollution, Garage Keepers, and Excess.

Steve has defended close to 500 cases on behalf of insurance agents and brokers in a variety of disciplines including, life, health, disability, personal lines, property and casualty, commercial property, general liability, commercial trucking, pollution, directors and officers, employment practices, errors and omissions, and fidelity bonds.

Professional Profile

AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Alabama Bar Association
Member, Birmingham Bar
Member, Defense Research Institute
Member, Professional Liability Underwriting Society
Member, Claims Litigation Management
Bmetro Magazine – 2010 Birmingham's Top Legal Minds
Alabama Super Lawyers – 2010-2016 Insurance Coverage and Professional Liability
Birmingham Business Journal Who's Who in Law, 2015 and 2016

Admitted

All State Courts in Alabama
United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama
United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Alabama Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court
United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Education

University of Alabama, J.D., summa cum laude, 1989
- Senior Editor, Alabama Law Review
University of South Alabama, B.A. English and Philosophy, 1986

CASES OF NOTE

Coverage Cases:

  • Represented insurance carrier in Alabama coverage litigation where coverage for a professional liability claim against insured involving $10 million in damages was denied - issues involved claims made and reported and retroactive date
  • Represented insurance carrier in Tennessee suit alleging bad faith breach of the duty to defend under a professional liability policy, for failing to pay over $1.2 Million in legal fees
  • Represented insurance carrier in coverage dispute with insured and claimants under the Florida Claims Administration Statute where the carrier insured two $10 Million layers of D & O coverage in two separate insurance towers totaling $150 Million and the damages asserted against the insured Ds & Os exceeded $1 Billion
  • Represented excess insurance carrier in suit brought by the Florida Department of Financial Services to recover $3 Million excess limits under D & O policy insuring the directors and officers of a failed Florida property and casualty insurer
  • Obtained summary judgment for insurance carrier in a Mississippi case affirmed by the Fifth Circuit, where the carrier denied coverage under a school leader professional liability policy for claims brought by the parents of a disabled child alleged to have been verbally and physically abused by a teacher
  • Obtained summary judgment for professional liability insurance carrier in Louisiana where the carrier denied coverage to registered representatives under a broker-dealer policy for approximately $200,000 in cost-of-correction claims
  • Represented GL carrier in Arkansas suit against bad faith claims brought by additional insured alleging improper denial of additional insured coverage for claims arising from a gas well explosion resulting in one fatality and three other severely burned individuals
  • Succeeded in getting a $5 Million default judgment against insurance carrier set aside in Alabama
  • Obtained summary judgment in Alabama for professional liability carrier in lawsuit seeking coverage for a $5 Million judgment against an insured broker-dealer by numerous claimants suffering substantial investment losses in failed viatical settlement transactions
  • Represented GL and professional liability carrier with $6 Million limits in Alabama bad faith action disclaiming coverage to additional insured for suit brought by named insured’s employee injured on job site resulting in total disability, $1.25 Million in medical expenses, and an $8 Million life care plan to the injured employee
  • Represented commercial auto carrier in Alabama to intervene in underlying tort and UIM action and set aside one-year-old $1.5 Million default judgment, proving the judgment was void for lack of proper service on the tortfeasor who had developed dementia and was incompetent at the time she was purportedly served with the summons
  • Represented insurance carrier in coverage action brought under $15 Million D & O policy by the president of the insured Corporation to recover a $25 Million collusive settlement
  • Represented insurance carrier under a $5 Million private company D & O policy in Mississippi action brought by a surety company against the directors and officers of an insured construction company seeking to recover over $30 Million in surety payments
  • Represented insurance carrier in AAA arbitration with its insured under a $5 Million private company D & O policy where coverage was disclaimed for a rescission action brought against the insured by its GL carrier which had paid $8 Million to settle multiple death claims
  • Represented insurance carrier in declaratory action in Alabama to obtain a declaration of no coverage under a law enforcement liability policy for class-action debtors prison case brought against insured municipality
  • Represented professional liability insurance carrier in Tennessee in contribution action brought by a co-insurer who had paid $1.65 Million to defend and settle a legal malpractice claim
  • Represented Lloyd's syndicates in bad faith action brought in Alabama for storm damage under a commercial property policy
  • Represented carrier in coverage dispute with insured under a Financial Institution’s Errors & Omissions Policy where the insured had settled class action claims for $10 Million, implicating carrier’s full policy limits, then sought recoupment from carrier. The case was resolved for a fraction of the carrier’s limits
  • Successfully defended carrier through Arbitration and subsequent Motion to Vacate Award in the New York State Supreme Court under a Securities Broker/Dealer Errors & Omissions Policy - Insured Registered Representative initiated arbitration seeking to recover over $1 Million in expenses incurred in defense and indemnity for a prior arbitration against for which coverage had been denied

Professional Liability Cases:

  • Represented Private Probation Company in class-action suit against municipality and probation company asserting debtors prison allegations
  • Represented Structured Settlement Broker in action brought by purchaser of structured settlement seeking over $600,000 in damages for alleged bait and switch of the annuity structure agreed upon
  • Represented Insurance Broker in a claim brought by the carrier where it was alleged the Broker improperly bound coverage contrary to binding instructions resulting in the carrier covering a $3 Million claim
  • Represented Insurance Agent in a $700,000 claim by the carrier where carrier contended agent’s negligence exposed carrier to a $1 Million limits liability claim when the carrier only intended to issue a $300,000 limits liability policy - court ruled carrier could only recover from agent the difference in premium between a policy with $300,000 limits and $1 Million limits
  • Successfully defended two Insurance Agents through trial for negligent and fraudulent procurement of guaranteed issue medical coverage where carrier denied insured’s claim asserting carrier had not timely received insured’s application within the guaranteed issue timeframe - case resulted in a $950,000 verdict against the carrier and a defense verdict for the Agents
  • Obtained defense verdict on behalf of Insurance Agents who developed a program to be underwritten by a Lloyd’s Syndicate for offering accident and health coverage to over 10 million karate school participants throughout the United States - Plaintiffs claimed $10 Million in future lost commissions and revenues over the failed insurance program
  • Successfully defended Insurance Agent in approximately thirty lawsuits filed by policyholders based on the fraud, criminal acts, and theft of premiums by the Agent’s office employees of which the Agent had no knowledge
  • Represented Insurance Adjusting Firm in a claim for $4 Million in damages where insured claimed it was underinsured as a result of annual insurance replacement cost estimates the firm prepared
  • Represented Law Firm in Alabama in suit alleging a blown statute of limitations for claims against a hospital for medical malpractice resulting the death of a minor child
  • Represented Law Firm in Alabama in suit alleging malpractice during the representation of the wife in a contested divorce, allegedly resulting in a substantially reduced marital property division
  • Represented Insurance Agent in arbitration in Michigan brought by insurance carrier seeking to recover approximately $1.5 Million paid in settlement and litigation costs alleged to have been caused by agent’s failure to include an additional insured endorsement
  • Represented Insurance Agent in approximately 400 arbitrations brought by policyholders against disability carrier and agent alleging policies were improperly marketed as “own occupation” policies, seeking nearly $12 Million in collective damages.

REPORTED CASES

Colony Ins. Co. v. C & M Const. Co., 8 F.Supp.3d 1356 (S.D. Ala. 2014)

Tomberlin v. Clark, 1 F.Supp.3d 1213 (N.D. Ala. 2014)

Robinson v. Hudson Specialty Ins. Group, 984 F.Supp.2d 1199 (S.D. Ala. 2013)

Roberson v. American General Life and Acc. Ins. Co., 607 F.Supp.2d 1248 (N.D. Ala. 2009)

Kanellis v. Pacific Indem. Co., 917 So.2d 149 (Ala. Civ. App. 2005)

Unum Life Ins. Co. of America v. Wright, 897 So.2d 1059 (Ala. 2004)

Adair v. Johnston, 221 F.R.D. 573 (M.D. Ala. 2004)

York v. Ramsay Youth Services of Dothan, 313 F.Supp.2d 1275 (M.D. Ala. 2004)

Byrd v. Lamar, 846 So.2d 334 (Ala. 2002)

Thomas v. Gulf Coast Credit Services, Inc., 214 F.Supp.2d 1228 (M.D. Ala. 2002)

Cimarron Mortg. Co. v. Wright, 831 So.2d 18 (Ala. 2002)

Gardner v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 842 So.2d 1 (Ala. Civ. App. 2002)

Mays v. Julian LeCraw and Co., Inc., 807 So.2d 551 (Ala. Civ. App. 2001)

Oskars, Inc. v. Bennett & Co., Inc., 132 F.Supp.2d 1333 (M.D. Ala. 2001)

Yelder v. Credit Bureau of Montgomery, L.L.C., 131 F.Supp.2d 1275 (M.D. Ala. 2001)

Hardy v. Welch, 135 F.Supp.2d 1171 (M.D. Ala. 2000)

Folmar & Associates LLP v. Holberg, 776 So.2d 112 (Ala. 2000)

Hill v. MONY Life Ins. Co., 75 F.Supp.2d 1328 (M.D. Ala. 1999)

New York Life Ins. Co. v. Robinson, 735 So.2d 463 (Ala. 1999)

Stern v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of N.Y., 968 F.Supp. 637 (N.D. Ala. 1997)

Peek v. State Auto Mut. Ins. Co., 661 So.2d 737 (Ala. 1995)

Gilmore v. Shell Oil Co., 613 So.2d 1272 (Ala. 1993)

Bishop v. SouthRail Corp., 595 So.2d 857 (Ala. 1992)

Picker Intern., Inc. v. Parten, U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit, 935 F.2d 257 (Ala. 1991)

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