Larry Mason is a renowned trial and appellate litigator and counselor to many national and international businesses across diverse industries. Based in Chicago but with experience litigating and counseling clients through complicated and high-profile matters across the U.S. and internationally, he dedicates most of his practice to property and casualty insurance coverage, products liability, professional liability for clients in construction, environmental and related industries, environmental and toxic torts, identifying emerging risks (especially cybersecurity and new technologies), and complex commercial litigation.

For nearly three decades, Larry has been a thought leader in the insurance law community. He has been a pioneer inside the courtroom, litigating many cases of first impression advancing new interpretations of law and new defenses, as well as outside the courtroom, writing and speaking about the most pressing issues in insurance and related fields. Larry has also served as an expert witness or arbitrator in complex, multi-issue cases. His experience includes commercial litigation involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, first- and third-party liability, product liability, contracts, bad faith, toxic torts, and technology and cybersecurity; professional liability defense for construction companies and their executives, architects, engineers, and contractors; and complicated cross-discipline cases arising from environmental, structural, or other catastrophic damages, including business interruption and lost revenue.

Widely known as “The Problem Solver,” Larry’s practice encompasses a broad spectrum of first-party and third-party coverage, reinsurance, and defense issues. Larry is frequently called upon to protect the interests of insurers and reinsurers in complex insurance coverage disputes and to defend their insureds concerning a variety of third-party liability issues. He has effectively applied his extensive experience in the handling of large catastrophe losses and the complex cross-discipline problems that arise from these claims to a wide array of business interests. Larry’s experience with product liability-related insurance and reinsurance coverage challenges, including product recall, contamination and liability risks, includes the successful defense of manufacturers against claims of negligent product design, failure to warn, and breach of warranties. He has additionally counseled clients in litigation liability prevention, product recall campaigns, and the development of product package warnings and owner/operator manuals. Larry routinely represents architects, engineers, contractors, and owners in a number of complex cases including breach of contract, failure of duty, environmental, and building design issues.

Formidable and respected as a trial and appellate litigator, Larry also regularly provides assistance to underwriters concerning policy and endorsement drafting, market strategy, and the development of new insurance products. Larry’s risk and litigation avoidance practice helps his business clients to avoid litigation by working with business leaders, risk managers, and underwriters to identify risks in developing fields (like cyber liability), devise risk management strategies and solutions, and offer general counsel to top-level executives.

Recognized early for his outstanding written rhetoric and style, Larry began his career as an appellate and insurance coverage lawyer. He had a passion for oral advocacy, though, and understood that his success as an appellate attorney would be limited without a foundation of trial experience. He went on to train under the preeminent property insurance lawyers of the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and has since been involved in many of the nation’s most complex property and casualty liability cases.

Larry continued to diversify his cross-disciplinary practice over the years, in keeping with the philosophy that has driven his entire career: An insurance attorney’s success has to rest on a foundation of diverse, deep, and balanced engagement with the dynamic and multifaceted issues involved in underlying claims. This belief propelled Larry to the forefront of developing fields, including asbestos and other environmental and construction hazards, cyber risks and cyber insurance, and liability issues related to climate change — all practices in which he is a recognized authority. This breadth of substantive experience facilitates the synergy Larry brings to his practice and to his clients, as he’s been able to provide coverage as well as defense counsel.

Larry’s clients benefit from his wide-ranging curiosity and the passion it brings to his work. His lifelong interest in architecture and construction, for example, fuels his deep and robust understanding of the challenges his clients in property insurance, construction and related fields face. His experiences in executive, financial, and project management positions at his synagogue, as well as his roles on the Board of Directors and Investment, Audit, and Independent Committees of the Spinnaker Insurance Company, equip Larry with an uncommon fluency in business, finance, management, and risk management. He understands the work his clients love as well as he does the legal concerns that would keep them from it.

His experience in property and liability insurance coverage dovetailed with his interest in construction, pushing him to explore environmental law and its frequent applications to property and liability cases. Early in his career, Larry handled declaratory judgment actions stemming from the Penn Mutual and One Meridian Plaza fires in Philadelphia, where he took a leading role on all environmental matters. He worked closely with environmental consultants and scientists, and continued to do so in later cases involving asbestos, PCBs, microbial exposure, benzene, Diacetyl, and other toxic torts. This led naturally to another, more recent interest: the liability issues surrounding climate change. Larry was among the first attorneys to explore this field, and has facilitated workshops and written on the subject.

In his work in insurance coverage and commercial litigation, Larry has also maintained his position at the forefront of advancing technologies, cyber risks, and cyber liability, an interest he discovered unexpectedly when he helped to start a new law firm, overseeing all technology development and deployment. An authority and driving force in the effective use of technology in legal practices and in courtrooms, Larry helped to shape the role technology would play in the practice of law, pioneering the use of electronic briefs, document coding, and databases. He continues to lead in the field, speaking and writing on cybersecurity and helping clients to draft contracts and insurance policies that include cybersecurity and risk avoidance provisions. His clients call on him to identify emerging risks: Recent work has touched on drones, cyber liability, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, and Fin-Tech (financial technologies).

Representative Matters
  • Served as coverage, trial, and appellate counsel in several multi-party insurance coverage declaratory judgment disputes arising out of thousands of complaints where the underlying plaintiffs alleged bodily injury caused by exposure to benzene and asbestos-containing materials
  • Defended multiple products liability charges against North America’s largest bus manufacturer, including charges of faulty design and failure to warn
  • Provided trial and appellate counsel in a multi-party insurance coverage declaratory judgment action involving a liability claim pertaining to PCB contamination of the Lower Fox River in Wisconsin
  • Served as trial and appellate counsel in multi-jurisdiction declaratory judgment actions to reform historic commercial general liability policies to reflect intent to include asbestos exclusions, which resulted in a case touching on several issues of first impression, ending in a precedent-setting verdict in favor of the insurance industry
  • Provided trial counsel for a major U.S. insurer in successful defense against Wells Fargo Bank’s Uniform Commercial Code claim for insurance benefits previously paid to bankrupt insured
  • Provided coverage counsel to a major national property and casualty insurer following the BP oil spill of April 2010
  • Provided trial and appellate counsel for 12 insurers in a multi-site environmental coverage action involving claims exceeding $700 million (which, due to its complexity, set the record for the longest civil case ever tried in the state of Washington)
  • Provided trial and appellate counsel for 11 insurers in an environmental lawsuit involving claims exceeding $500 million, resulting in favorable summary judgment rulings and/or settlements below the cost of defense
  • Provided trial and appellate counsel representing six insurers in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $1 billion lawsuit to remove asbestos from all of its buildings, resulting in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ landmark ruling affirming summary judgment in the clients’ favor
  • Secured a settlement in excess of $13 million for damages and lost profits as trial counsel for the global asset management unit of a Fortune 250 company following a contract dispute in the wake of a hotel fire
Honors
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer-Review Rating: AV Preeminent
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, 2005 to present
  • Illinois Leading Lawyer in Insurance, Insurance Coverage, and Reinsurance Law and in Products Liability Defense Law, 2012 to present
  • PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference & Insurance Services Expo Outstanding Presentations Award (for long-term commitment to insurance industry education), March 2013
  • Top-Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell
Professional Affiliations
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Trial Bar
  • Loss Executives Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Property and Liability Resource Bureau Conference Committee
  • Spinnaker Insurance Company
    • Board of Directors
    • Investment, Audit, and Independent Committees
    • Chicago Bar Association
    • Illinois State Bar Association
    • New York State Bar Association
    • Wisconsin Bar Association
Community Involvement
  • Congregation Solel
  •      Past President
  •      Trustee, Endowment Fund
  •      Chair, Facilities Strategic Planning Task Force
  •      Co-Chair, Cantorial Search Committee
  • North Trail Homeowners Association
  •      Board of Directors
  •      Treasurer
Admitted to Practice
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Central and Northern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin
Education
  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1989
  • University of Illinois, B.A., 1986
Publications
  • Author, “Winning Strategies to Defeat the All Sums Allocation Approach,” DRI In-House Defense Quarterly, Spring 2017
  • Author, “The Occupational Disease Exclusion: Making New Law with an Underappreciated Policy Provision,” FC&S Legal, April 13, 2017
  • Author, “Keeping the Faith: First-Party Property Insurance Extracontractual Liability Arising From Preferred Vendors,” Claims Management Magazine, March 15, 2017
  • Author, “The Role of Liability Insurance Policy Notice Conditions in Laboratory Liability Claims,” Industry Insights, American Council of Independent Laboratories, No. 4, November 2014
  • Author, “Recent Laboratory Legal Developments,” Industry Insights, American Council of Independent Laboratories, No. 1, 2014
  • Author, “The Erosion of the Duty to Cooperate Under CGL Policies: An Overview of Cases Across the Nation,” Emerging Issues LEXIS 209, March 25, 2008
  • Co-Author, “Global Warming Has Not Inspired Wave of Lawsuits,” Business Insurance, April 30, 2012
  • Co-Author, “Common Exclusions in the First-Party Property Insurance Policy and Their Application to Environmental Claims,” Tort and Insurance Practice Journal, Spring 1995
Presentations
  • “Emerging Corporate Risks & Insurance,” West LegalEdCenter Webinar (Presented by HB Litigation Conferences), June 28, 2017
  • “Emerging Risks & Insurance Issues,” HB Northeast Corporate Counsel Forum, Atlantic City, NJ, April 6-8, 2017
  • “Emerging CGL Risks: Coverage Issues,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau Claims Conference, Boston, MA, March 26-29, 2017
  • “Emerging CGL Risks: Coverage Strategies & Solutions,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau Claims Conference,  San Antonio, TX, April 17-20, 2016
  • “Protecting your Laboratory from Cyber Attacks: What Senior Management and Directors Need to Know Now,” ACIL Webinar, September 22, 2015
  • “The Growing Risk of Cyberliability for Warranty and Service Contract Providers: Proactive Strategies for Protecting Your Company,” GWSCA 2nd Annual Conference on Warranty & Service Contracts, Chicago, IL, September 16-18, 2015
  • “Catastrophic Products Liability Claims Adjusting,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau Claims Conference, Anaheim, CA, March 29-31, 2015
  • “Stacking Commercial Insurance Coverage: Insurer and Policyholder Perspectives,” Strafford Live Webinars, February 4, 2015
  • “Concurrent Causation in Personal Auto and Homeowners Liability Coverage,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau 2014 Eastern Regional Adjusters Conference, Providence, RI, November 18-19, 2014
  • “Proactive Strategies for Reducing Laboratory Litigation Risks,” American Council of Independent Laboratories Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, October 5-8, 2014
  • “Concurrent Causation in Personal Auto and Homeowners Liability Coverage,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau 2014 Central Regional Adjusters Conference, Minneapolis, MN, September 16-17, 2014
  • “Concurrent Causation in Personal Auto and Homeowners Liability Coverage,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau 2014 Western Regional Adjusters Conference, Bellevue, WA, June 10-11, 2014
  • “Catastrophic Products Liability Claims Adjusting,” PLRB Claims Conference, Indianapolis, IN, March 16-19, 2014
  • “Concurrent Causation in Liability Cases,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, Boston, MA, March 17-20, 2013
  • “Climate Change Litigation: Liability & Coverage,” Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Insurance Coverage Committee Seminar, Chicago, IL, November 29, 2012
  • “Climate Change: Liability & Coverage,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, Orlando, FL, April 15-18, 2012
  • “Environmental Catastrophes: Liability & Coverage,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, Nashville, TN, April 4-6, 2011
  • “Complex Environmental Liability Claims,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, San Antonio, TX, March 22-23, 2010
  • “Effective Communication Strategies for Claims Adjusters: Working With Defense Counsel,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, Seattle, WA, March 23-25, 2009
  • “Lines of Communication: The Importance of Continued Communication Between Insurer and Insured,” On the Coverage Campaign Trail CE/CLE Seminar, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, IL, November 5, 2008
  • “Exclusions Relevant to Construction Defect Claims,” Nationwide Indemnity Environmental Claims Unit, October 28, 2008
  • “Duty to Cooperate Under Third-Party Liability Policies,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, Boston, MA, April 13-16, 2008
  • “Third-Party ‘Economic Loss’ Issues” and “‘Personal Injury’ Coverage and the TPE,” Nationwide Indemnity Environmental Claim Unit, September 17, 2007
  • “Duty to Cooperate Under Third-Party Liability Policies,” Sompo Japan Insurance Company of America, April 2007
  • “Duty to Cooperate Under Third-Party Liability Policies,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, March 2007
  • Moderator, “The Insider’s Perspective on Summer Associate Evaluations,” and Panelist, “Litigation v. Transactional” and “Large Firms v. Small Firms,” Alumni-Student Career Conference, University of Illinois College of Law, January 27, 2007
  • “Understanding the Insured’s Rights and Obligations,” Product Liability Advisory Council’s Fall Insurance Coverage Disputes Conference, Colorado Springs, CO, October 2006
  • “Emerging Issues in Insurance Coverage,” Chicago Bar Association’s Spring Seminar, Chicago, IL, May 24, 2006
  • “Duty to Cooperate Under Third-Party Liability Policies: A Proactive Approach to Dealing With the Difficult Insured,” Nationwide Indemnity Environmental Claim Unit, December 2005
  • “Understanding the Anatomy of the Insurance Market, the Players & their Interactions — An Overview,” Mealey’s Insurance 101, Philadelphia, PA, February 28, 2005
  • “Working With Defense Counsel: Effective Communication Strategies for Claims Adjusters,” Nationwide Indemnity Environmental Claim Unit, August 2004
  • “Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Duty to Defend,” Commonwealth Insurance Company, May 2004
  • “Liability Insurance Coverage Issues and Analysis: An Overview of Wisconsin Law,” Commonwealth Insurance Company, May 2004
  • “Property Claims Adjusting: Communication Interplay Between Insurer and Insured Representatives — Dealing With the Difficult Insured,” Property & Liability Resource Bureau PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, March 2003