Louie H. Castoria is director of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck’s West Coast Professional Liability Practice Group. He represents and defends financial and professional services clients, including accountants, lawyers, insurance and real estate agents and brokers, and businesses covered under “miscellaneous” professional liability policies, in venues throughout California and in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He also represents insurance companies as coverage, monitoring, regulatory and litigating counsel; performs claims audits; and writes insurance policies.
Mr. Castoria recognizes that being an effective advocate requires a broad understanding of the client’s business or practice. Litigation sometimes exacerbates the client’s economic or regulatory exposure, so while a vigorous defense is needed, all options must be considered early in the case. Mr. Castoria’s problem-solving skills are often key to achieving favorable outcomes for his clients. As a California-trained mediator, he looks beyond “positions” to identify the core interests at stake, and follows the motto “Box? What box?”
In addition, Mr. Castoria is an award-winning writer. In his legal practice and his frequent scholarly and other writings he follows the journalistic edict “don’t bury the lead,” always conveying the essential information and the main argument at the outset. He also writes a quarterly column on E&O avoidance for National Underwriter Property & Casualty 360 Magazine and a quarterly column on E&O avoidance for the Daily Journal, California’s largest newspaper for the legal community. .
A leader in education, Mr. Castoria is chairman emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Insurance Educational Association and has developed many continuing education programs for lawyers and other professionals. Mr. Castoria chairs the Insurance Agent & Broker Committee of the Professional Liability Defense Federation. He authored three chapters of Agents of America’s series, Insurance Agency Risk Management (Thomson Reuters, 2013 – 2014), and two units of the revised curriculum for the Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU) designation, at the request of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS).
Mr. Castoria has lectured throughout the country on insurance, tort reform and technology issues. He has twice chaired the PLUS D&O West Symposium, chaired the PLUS Events Committee, and has served on the PLUS International Conference Committee. He is an invited lecturer at seminars sponsored by legal and insurance industry groups, including PLUS, the California State Bar Association, Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West, Institute for International Research, American Conference Institute, Insurance Federation of New York, and Pacific Claims Executive Association, among others. He also conducts mock trials at insurance industry and professional organization meetings, often illustrating how liability exposures to insurers, reinsurers and businesses can be reduced.
Mr. Castoria writes a weekly humor column for his local newspaper, the Half Moon Bay Review.
- U.S. District Court
- Central District of California
- Eastern District of California
- Northern District of California
- Southern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- University of California, Berkeley – Mediation Training Certificate
- University of California, Berkeley, School of Law – J.D.
- University of San Francisco – B.A.
- American Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Practice Section
- California State Bar Association
- Insurance Educational Association, Chairman, Board of Directors
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
- Professional Liability Defense Federation
- Supervised and/or directly defended against scores of legal malpractice claims, ranging from complex commercial transactions to claims made in fee disputes.
- Won a summary judgment for an international insurance brokerage firm that was accused of misrepresenting the coverage it had procured for a manufacturer of wind-turbine generators, with over $60 million in alleged out-of-pocket damages, and successfully argued the case on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
- Litigated civil rights cases involving First and Fourth Amendment rights, and fee awards under the Civil Rights Act.
- Defended an accountant/financial planner in an investment and business venture case alleging erroneous reassurances of the tax treatment of a business venture and a stock loan program.
- Won a defense arbitration award for a court-referee accountant who aided a couple in a contentious divorce. The award included payment by the plaintiffs of all defense fees and costs.
- Investigated and resolved a massive fraud case arising from an individual broker’s submission of false invoices for commissions and fees.
- Defended a tax accountant who allegedly gave erroneous advice regarding tax treatment of a VEBA multiemployer benefit plan.
- Conducted reinsurance audits at major professional liability insurance companies.
- Obtained a dismissal of a $17 million dollar claim against a brokerage firm arising from a business interruption claim by establishing that the firm did, in fact, procure insurance coverage.
- Obtained summary judgment in the Central District of California on behalf of a reinsurer, and subsequently represented the client in obtaining an affirmance of the judgment in the Ninth Circuit.
- Settled during trial a case arising from the defalcation of an in-house bookkeeper whose actions were not discovered during reviews of the company’s accounts.
- Obtained summary judgment for a reinsurer that was sued for bad faith by an underlying claimant, and succeeded in having the judgment affirmed on appeal.
- Obtained arbitration awards for reinsurers in two cases based on the ceding carriers’ failure to properly allocate claims to policy years, or to competently handle the underlying claim, resulting in an extra-contractual exposure that was not covered under the reinsurance treaty.
- Served as outside counsel to the California State Bar Association, including working with actuaries at one of the world’s largest actuarial firms in developing and modifying insurance programs.
- Represented an accountant who advised a single-employer medical plan about its required level of funding.
- Advised the California State Bar’s Committee on Group Insurance Programs, and negotiated and drafted agreements on behalf of the Bar with large insurance brokerage firms and carriers with the Bar’s outside actuarial experts.
- AV® Preeminent™ Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Northern California Super Lawyers (2007 – 2016)
- Working With Expert Witnesses: Tips That Are Not In The Civil Rules
- 5 New Year’s Resolutions, Insurance Thought Leadership
- Public Records Access V. Privacy: California’s Struggle, Law360
- No ‘Gotcha’ Privilege Waivers Under Calif. Public Records Act, Law360, by Louie Castoria
- 8 Ways to Train a Junior Lawyer, Big Law Business, by Louie Castoria
- Breaking Up (with clients) Is Hard To Do, Daily Journal, by Louie Castoria
- 3 Cs causing clients’ claims, Daily Journal
- Buyer’s remorse breeds buyer’s recourse, Daily Journal
- How to Change Law Firms at 60, The Recorder
- No Defense Reimbursement For Insurers In Wash., Law360
- When Wrecking Balls Strike, PropertyCasualty360
- A Guide to Wrecking Balls, PropertyCasualty360
- Fiduciary: Underrated Risk?, PropertyCasualty360
- NRAA Grows Up Fast, PropertyCasualty360
- Ready for NRRA?, PropertyCasualty360
- Surplus Line Association of California March 2015 Seminar : Box-What Box? Thinking Beyond the Same
- American Conference Institute’s Advanced Forum on Insurance-Linked Securities : Mitigating Risk and Enhancing Rewards Through Implementation of New Catastrophe Modeling Practices in a Post-Sandy Climate
- Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals 2014 Annual Conference : The Regulatory Side of Admitted Claims-Made Professional Liability Insurance Policies