Terrence J. Coleman

Email MeTerrence J. Coleman

Partner
Location:
San Francisco, California
Phone:
415-433-8000
Fax:
415-433-4816
Email:

TERRY COLEMAN has been a partner with Pillsbury & Coleman, LLP (formerly, Pillsbury & Levinson), since 1999, specializing in the representation of policyholders in insurance bad faith and insurance coverage matters.  Past clients include individuals as well as small businesses and large corporations.  In 2002, Mr. Coleman tried the disability bad faith case of Randall Chapman, M.D. v. UnumProvident Corp., obtaining a $31.7 million jury verdict for a disabled eye surgeon.  Mr. Coleman also led the HealthNet litigation in which he obtained injunctions prohibiting California’s largest HMO from canceling health insurance coverage to hundreds of families insured under plans issued to the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, the Organization of Women Architects, and the Bay Area Chamber.  Mr. Coleman is a frequent lecturer and author on insurance related topics and serves on many boards.  He currently serves as President of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association and is a past president of the St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel.  In 2003, Mr. Coleman also served as Chair of the Insurance Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now AAJ).  That same year, Mr. Coleman was a finalist for “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.  Mr. Coleman is “AV” rated by the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell organization and was named a Northern California “Super Lawyer” in 2006 through 2014.

Background

Born in San Francisco, California, on April 25, 1968.

Raised in Stockton, California; attended Cleveland Elementary, St. Luke’s Elementary, and St. Mary’s High School

Wife, Lucille; Children, Garrett, Bridget, and Brendon

Academic

University of California at Berkeley (B.A., 1991)

University of San Francisco School of Law (J.D. 1994) (Magna Cum Laude)

Law Review, University of San Francisco School of Law (1992-1994)

Professional

1999 - present  
Partner:  PILLSBURY & COLEMAN, LLP
San Francisco, California
Areas of Practice:  insurance bad faith; insurance coverage litigation

1996-1999   
Associate:  PILLSBURY, LEVINSON & MILLS, LLP
San Francisco, California
Areas of Practice:  insurance bad faith; insurance coverage litigation

1994-1996   
Associate:  CARTWRIGHT, BOKELMAN, MOORE, HARRIS, ALEXANDER & GRUEN, INC.
San Francisco, California
Areas of Practice:  insurance coverage; insurance bad faith; commercial litigation

1993   
Judicial Extern:  THE HON. MING W. CHIN
CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL
San Francisco, California
Researched and prepared draft opinions for then Appellate Justice and now Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin

Affiliations and Memberships

The State Bar of California

Consumer Attorneys of California

Fellow, American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel

Association of Trial Lawyers of America, now American Association for Justice
Past Chair, Insurance Litigation Section

San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
President, 2014

St. Thomas More Society
President, 2008

Major Cases

Co-tried Chapman v. UnumProvident Corp., a disability bad faith case, resulting in a $31.7 million jury verdict, including $30 million in punitive damages.  (Marin County Superior Court, January 2003)

Lead counsel in San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association v. Health Net, Inc., Robertson v. Health Net, Inc., and Organization of Women Architects v. Health Net, resulting in preliminary injunctions against Health Net prohibiting cancellation of coverage. (San Francisco County Superior Court, 2004 – present)  In December 2005, the Court of Appeal affirmed the injunction issued in San Francisco Trial Lawyers in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Carol Corrigan, who was recently elevated to the California Supreme Court. 

Lead trial counsel in Patrick v. UNUM Life Insurance Company, an ERISA disability case, resulting in a plaintiff’s verdict of nearly $1.5 million, including an award of attorneys’ fees of nearly $1.3 million.  (San Mateo County Superior Court, October 1999)

Lead trial counsel in Westover v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Company, resulting in a unanimous jury verdict of over $724,000 on a homeowner’s claim arising from the Oakland Hills Firestorm, affirmed on appeal.  (Alameda County Superior Court, March 1997)

Successfully obtained a summary judgment order requiring Lloyd's of London to pay an underlying $10 million judgment rendered against its insured due to its wrongful withdrawal of its defense.  (Alameda County Superior Court, 2000)

Successfully obtained summary judgment order requiring Clarendon Insurance Company to pay an underlying $1.5 million judgment rendered against its insured due to its failure to defend.  (Contra Costa County Superior Court, 2007)

Reported Cases

Robertson v. Health Net of California, Inc., 132 Cal.App.4th 1419 (2005).  Published opinion invalidating Health Net’s arbitration provision in HMO policy for failure to comply with California’s arbitration disclosure laws.

Moody v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, 595 F.Supp.2d 1090 (N.D. Cal., Jan. 26, 2009).  Published opinion entering judgment against Liberty Life Assurance Company for wrongfully terminating disability insurance benefits to disabled software executive.

Fowler v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 615 F.Supp.2d 1130 (N.D. Cal., May 15, 2009).  Published opinion denying Aetna Life Insurance Company’s summary judgment motion in a disability insurance action governed by ERISA and granting leave to conduct far-reaching “conflict of interest” discovery.

Martorello v. Sun Life Assurance Co., 704 F.Supp.2d 918 (N.D. Cal., 2010).  Published opinion granting judgment in Plaintiff’s favor, finding that Sun Life’s denial of benefits was based upon an erroneous interpretation of its policy.

Oster v. Standard Insurance Co., 759 F.Supp.2d 1172 and 768 F.Supp.2d 1026 (N.D. Cal., 2011).  Published opinions entering judgment against Standard for wrongfully terminating disability insurance benefits and awarding attorneys’ fees.

Graybill-Bungard v. Standard Insurance Co., 793 F.Supp.2d 1117 (N.D. Cal., 2011).  Published opinion granting motion to remand action to state court in disability insurance bad faith action on grounds that removal was untimely and in any event improper, as Complaint stated viable claim against in-state defendant thereby precluding removal jurisdiction.

Rader v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
, 941 F.Supp.2d 1191 (N.D. Cal. 2013).  Published opinion granting motion to remand action to state court in disability insurance bad faith action on grounds that removal was improper, as Complaint stated viable claim against in-state defendant thereby precluding removal jurisdiction.  In the state court proceeding, the San Francisco Superior Court denied Sun Life’s motion for summary adjudication on bad faith and punitive damages, finding that a reasonable jury “could find that [Plaintiff’s] evidence to be clear and convincing proof of malice, fraud, or oppression” and that a material fact existed “as to whether the claims examiner who handled Plaintiff’s claim did not fully investigate the claim in order to meet Defendant’s denial target rates.” (Order, entered June 17, 2014.)

Awards

2006 through 2014  “Super Lawyer” designations.

President’s Award, January 15, 2004, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, awarded for “fighting the good fight on behalf of SFTLA and its members” in the litigation SFTLA v. Health Net, San Francisco County Superior Court, Case No. 423782.

Finalist, Trial Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, March 2003.

Distinguished Service Award, October 5, 2001, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, awarded “with thanks and appreciation for fulfilling SFTLA’s commitment to community service.”

In The News

“Attorney balances career with family”, Ang Newspapers, September 21, 2003.

“HMO cuts leave some out in the rain”, Contra Costa Times, October 31, 2004, focusing on Mr. Coleman’s success in obtaining an injunction on behalf of the Organization of Women Architects prohibiting its HMO from terminating coverage.

“Stockton native to take on Houston”, Stockton Record, December 2, 2005.

Publications

Author, “Protecting the Subsequent Insurance Bad Faith Action”, The Trial Lawyer, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Fall 2011

Author, “Big Insurers, Dirty Tricks:  ‘That’s not my signature’”, Trial, Journal of the American Association for Justice, July 2007

Author, “Legal Rights Voting Team”, The Trial Lawyer, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Spring 2005

Author, “Perfecting Your Disability Bad Faith Claim:  Tips From the Trenches”, Forum, Consumer Attorneys of California, June 2004, Vol. 34, No. 5

Author, “Back to the Basics:  Reexamining Compensatory Damages in Light of Campbell”, The Trial Lawyer, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Spring 2004

Author, “Using Corporate Documents and Depositions to Prove Bad Faith,” Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 2003 Convention

Co-Author:  "Overcoming the 'Genuine-Issue' Rule in Bad-Faith Cases, Trial Magazine, March 2002, Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Co-Author:  "Using the 'Treating Physician Rule' in Disability Bad Faith Cases, Forum Magazine, December 2001, Consumer Attorneys of California

Co-Author:  “Homeowner and Consumer Insurance:  Landslides, Fires and Natural Disasters,” Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1995 convention.

Author:  “Bily v. Arthur Young & Co.:  An Inequitable Approach to Defining Accountant Liability to Third Parties,” 28 USF Law Review 239.

Seminars and Public Speaking

“Bad Faith Litigation”, American Conference Institute, Philadelphia, PA, March 2014

“Policy Limit Demands”, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, New Lawyers Division Ski Seminar, January 2014

“Insurers on the Attack,” American Association for Justice, Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, July 2013

“Auto Claims:  Maximizing Recoveries and Protecting the Subsequent Bad Faith Case”, moderator, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, February 2009

“Insurance Bad Faith Litigation & HMO Liability”, moderator, Regional TLA Conference, Squaw Creek Resort, June 2009

VoiceAmerica live radio show, “Meeting By Accident,” discussing insurance company claims denials and tactics, September 18, 2007

“Disability Insurance Claims:  Navigating the Waters of ERISA and Bad Faith”, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, July 2005

"The Year in Review — Developments in Civil Litigation", Continuing Education of the Bar, January 2002, January 2003, January 2004

Challenges in California Insurance Coverage Litigation, San Francisco, CA, March 31, 2004   

"Fundamentals of Insurance Litigation", Continuing Education of the Bar, April 2001

"ERISA Preemption:  A Relic of the Past?", Association of Trial Lawyers of America Annual Convention, July, 2000

"Recent Developments in Punitive Damages", Consumer Attorneys of California Winter Convention, April, 2000

Areas of Practice

  • Insurance Law
  • Disability Claims

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation