Lexpert’s extensive annual peer survey reveals the leading commercial insurance litigation lawyers in Ontario. The complete roster of the top commercial insurance litigation lawyers and law firms in the province is available in our practice area rankings list.
Commercial insurance litigation is defined in the survey as comprising the provision of advice and representation – whether by way of negotiation, judicial proceedings, alternative dispute resolution, mediation or arbitration – in all matters relating to liability and coverage disputes. The practice also involves risks, property and other such cover between insurers, insureds, reinsurers, excess insurers, intermediaries, special risks underwriters and insurance mutuals.
Year called to the Bar: 1969
Geoffrey D.E. Adair is a partner at Adair Goldblatt Bieber LLP, a boutique firm dedicated to civil litigation. Adair is one of Canada’s most experienced trial and appellate lawyers, having tried more than 250 jury and non-jury cases to verdict. He had also argued over 100 appeals in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Adair devotes his practice to commercial litigation, commercial insurance litigation, and directors’ and officers’ liability and major tort cases, including products liability and professional negligence matters. He is a contributing editor to Ontario Courtroom Procedure and a frequent lecturer to the profession.
Law firm: Dutton Brock LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1969
Brian J.E. Brock is a founder and senior partner at Dutton Brock LLP, a firm that specializes in insurance litigation. Brock is a certified specialist in civil litigation by the Law Society of Ontario. He was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1981. Brock has argued at the Supreme Court of Canada on products liability, complex insurance issues, property damage and conflict of laws cases. He was also an adjunct professor at York University and has taught trial practice at the Bar Admission Course and Medicine and the Law at Osgoode Hall.
Law firm: Flaherty McCarthy LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1989
Todd J. McCarthy is senior partner at Flaherty McCarthy LLP, a litigation boutique firm with offices in Whitby, Toronto and Ottawa. He is one of the youngest lawyers in Ontario to have been certified as a specialist in civil litigation. McCarthy is consistently called upon to deal with challenging and complex litigation and has been at the forefront of seminal legal cases. He has appeared in over 100 jury and non-jury trials and several arbitrations and appeals. McCarthy has taught trial advocacy and insurance law courses at Queen’s University Faculty of Law, the Bar Admission Course, the Durham College Faculty of Justice and Emergency Services and various advanced Ontario legal education programs.
Law firm: Dutton Brock LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1979
Philippa G. Samworth is a partner at Toronto-based insurance litigation firm Dutton Brock LLP. She is a certified specialist in civil litigation. Samworth has authored numerous papers in the personal injury and motor vehicle accident fields. She has lectured for the Law Society of Ontario, Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) and The Advocates’ Society, where she currently of the insurance committee. Samworth was retained by the Ministry of Finance of Ontario as a consultant for its preparation and drafting of the Bill 59 automobile insurance legislation and its regulations. The Philippa G. Samworth Award for Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession, which recognizes individuals for distinguished service to women in the legal profession in Canada, was created by the Canadian Defence Lawyers and named after her.
Law firm: Dutton Brock LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1985
Paul Tushinski is a certified specialist in civil litigation as conferred by the Law Society of Ontario. He is currently a senior partner at Dutton Brock LLP. Tushinski devotes his practice to defence, with an emphasis on products liability, class proceedings, environmental claims, construction and complex insurance matters, including coverage and property disputes and general liability. He previously served as president of the Toronto Lawyers Association and the Canadian Defence Lawyers Association, where he is also a founding member. Tushinski is also a past director of The Advocates’ Society.
Year called to the Bar: 1987
Chris T.J. Blom specializes in insurance litigation, with a focus on insurance defence work in connection with both tort and accident benefits cases. He is currently a partner at Miller Thomson LLP, one of Canada’s leading national business law and litigation firms. Blom is a certified as a specialist in civil litigation. He acts on behalf of insurers in Ontario with respect to claims across Canada and in the US and regarding all aspects of general insurance. Blom boasts extensive experience in the areas of personal injury, property damage and economic loss claims. He provides advice in connection with coverage opinions, general liability issues, accidents benefits and bad faith litigation. Blom also represents clients at all levels of the provincial court system, including the Court of Appeal in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. He is recognized for his expertise in mediation and private arbitration.
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Year called to the Bar: 1997
W. Colin Empke devotes his practice to insurance coverage opinions, coverage litigation and appellate litigation services in relation to liability policies, including commercial general liability, and automobile, homeowner, and directors’ and officers’ policies. His secondary practice area involves insurance-related defence work and subrogation claims, representing insured persons in all manner of personal injury and property damage cases. Empke appears regularly before the Ontario Courts and Court of Appeal. He has authored several works on insurance coverage issues and speaks regularly on insurance-related topics. Empke is a partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP, a Toronto-based law firm specializing in litigation and advocacy, real estate and business law.
Year called to the Bar: 1972
Alfred Kwinter is a founding partner at Singer Kwinter, a Toronto-based law firm specializing in personal injury, disability claims and property loss. He co-founded the firm in 1974. Kwinter has appeared at all court levels including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has achieved some of the country’s largest jury awards for punitive damages against an insurer. Kwinter is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in civil litigation. He is also a past director of The Advocates' Society and Medico-Legal Society.
Year called to the Bar: 1976
Glenn Smith has a diverse commercial litigation practice, focusing on class actions and complex insurance litigation. He has been retained on some of the most significant insurance cases in Canada. Smith has a special interest in product liability and cases involving insurance coverage for corporate directors and officers, and the legal dimensions of technology. He appears regularly before a wide variety of courts and tribunals, including the Supreme Court of Canada, acting both for and against public and private companies, financial institutions and governments. Smith is also recognized as a guru in e-discovery in Canada and was on the Ontario Task Force for implementing the Ontario e-Discovery Guidelines. He frequently lectures to professional organizations on e-discovery, technology and the law. He has also taught trial advocacy for many years and is a certified mediator. Smith is a founding partner at Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, one of Canada’s leading litigation law firms.
Law firm: Snowden Law Professional Corporation
Year called to the Bar: 1990 (ON), 2006 (MB)
Marcus B. Snowden is a principal at Snowden Law Professional Corporation, which specializes in insurance litigation. He is an insurance coverage counsel whose practice includes opining on, giving strategic advice for, and litigating to trial and appeal coverage and related issues. Snowden provides coverage and monitoring counsel services on underlying domestic and international cross-border class action and other litigation matters. He also advises underwriters on new and revised wordings, assists in-house and outside corporate and commercial and leasing counsel on insurance-related transaction-based risk management and transfer issues. Snowden co-authors a leading Canadian insurance law text called Annotated Commercial General Liability Policy.
Law firm: Harrison Pensa LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1981
David B. Williams is a partner at Harrison Pensa LLP, a London-based full-service law firm specializing in business law, litigation and personal legal services. Williams devotes his practice to complex commercial litigation, plaintiff personal injury and class actions. He has successfully represented plaintiffs in several medical malpractice cases. Williams has also been active in representing Ontario lawyers in litigation supported by the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO). His 30-year legal career has brought him before the Trial Division, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.