Jessica E. La Londe is a trial lawyer practicing in the area of civil litigation, with experience in a broad variety of cases, including commercial and insurance coverage litigation. Ms. La Londe has represented companies in suits involving business contracts, employment disputes, products liability, Proposition 65, environmental law, and consumer class actions. Ms. La Londe has additionally been involved with agency litigation concerning water and property rights. She is a member of the firm's governing Partners Board.
Ms. La Londe devotes part of her practice to litigation and counseling services for insurance companies, where she has handled matters in various lines of insurance, including general liability policies, environmental pollution policies, architects and engineers professional liability policies, excess liability policies, auto liability policies, project policies, and directors and officers policies. Through Ms. La Londe's advising insurance companies at the claims handling level and representing insurance companies in lawsuits, she has gained experience in many areas of law, including environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and CERCLA, asbestos, pharmaceuticals, professional liability for architects, food contamination, copyright infringement, violations of housing code, product liability and construction defect. Ms. La Londe handles all aspects of insurance coverage litigation, including coverage, bad faith, subrogation and contribution. Ms. La Londe has also been named a Northern California Rising Star.
Ms. La Londe is admitted to practice in California, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is a 2003 graduate, with honors, of the George Washington University Law School, where she was articles editor of The Public Contract Law Journal, and a graduate of the University of California, Davis. Ms. La Londe also studied international human rights law at the University of Oxford, New College.
- Obtained decision from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals enforcing New York choice of law clause as a limit on our client's policy obligations with respect to contribution and reimbursement claims by and against a co-insurer and enforcing "excess" other insurance clause as relieving our client's pollution liability policy from owing any amounts for defense or indemnity where CGL insurer had overlapping coverage.
- Obtained order from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (affirming summary judgment in insurer's favor) that New York's common law strict "no-prejudice" rule barring coverage for late notice applies to policies with New York choice of law clauses that are not subject to NY Ins. Law s. 3420(a)(5) (which creates a prejudice requirement for certain policies) because those policies were issued and delivered outside of New York; therefore, insurer with policy issued and delivered outside of New York had no duty to defend or indemnify insured as a matter of New York law with respect to $10 million coverage for $40+ million in claims that were tendered to the insurer months and years late, and the insurer did not need to demonstrate prejudice.
- In California federal court, obtained summary judgment that the New York choice of law clause of an insurance policy applied and precluded coverage based on the insured's late notice of a pollution claim and failure to obtain the insurer's consent prior to incurring $2 million in remediation costs. Court also found that policy was not subject to NY Ins. Law s. 3420(a)(5) (which creates a notice-prejudice requirement for certain policies) because the policy was issued and delivered outside of New York.
- Regularly advise clients on a variety of coverage issues, including environmental contamination, asbestos, pharmaceuticals, professional liability for architects, food contamination, copyright infringement, violations of housing code, product liability and construction defect.
- Represented insurer in contribution action on summary judgment.
- Successful negotiation of several contribution claims by insurers.
- Regularly handle settlement conferences and mediations in underlying litigation.
- Assisted in negotiations of several favorable settlements on behalf of insurers.
- Ameron Corp. v. American Home Assur. Co., 625 F. App'x 803 (9th Cir. 2015) (product liability coverage) – Obtained reversal of summary judgment against client CGL insurer on its defense cost contribution claim against non-defending insurer, and entry of duty to defend determination against non-defending insurer, with respect to Canadian lawsuit alleging coatings failures and resulting corrosion to offshore and onshore energy production facilities.
- Gemini Ins. Co. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 608 Fed.Appx. 479 (9th Cir. 2015) (pollution coverage) — Obtained reversal of adverse summary judgment against client pollution liability insurer on both CGL insurer's defense cost contribution claim and client's settlement reimbursement claim, based on NY choice of law clause and "excess" other insurance provision.
- Indian Harbor Ins. Co. v. City of San Diego, 586 Fed.Appx. 726 (2d Cir. 2014), affirming 972 F.Supp.2d 634 (SDNY 2013) (pollution coverage) — obtained affirmance of summary judgment that a New York choice of law clause was enforceable against a California policyholder and required application of the New York common law strict notice rule, such that the policyholder's late notice barred coverage for $40+ million in claims.
- Bruns v. E-Commerce Exchange, Inc., 51 Cal. 4th 717 (Cal. 2011) (class action) — Obtained for a group of businesses the dismissal of a $96 million class action alleging that they violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending unsolicited advertisement via fax machine on the basis of plaintiffs' delays in prosecuting the case and bringing it to trial. Obtained a unanimous decision from the California Supreme Court that established the statutory five-year period for bringing a case to trial is stayed only when the stay encompasses all proceeding in the action, and that partial stays do not automatically toll the running of the limitations period. On remand, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of the class action.
- Obtained lawful permanent residency status for two young immigrants, overcoming prior removal orders and establishing they were eligible for relief under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).
- Represented an international energy company in a wrongful death product liability case.
- Represented a company against allegations of violations of California's Proposition 65.
- Represented a company with foreign affiliates in a contract dispute with a former officer and director.
- Represented a company regarding alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
- Represented a city regarding property rights.
- Represented company in compelling arbitration of an employee dispute regarding wrongful termination and discrimination.
- Represented company in an appeal of a consumer class-action claim.
- Represented developer in breach of contract dispute by general contractor.
- Represented company in a personal injury lawsuit brought by parents of a child injured on company's public premises.
Business and Other Litigation
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- The George Washington University Law School, J.D., with honors, 2003
- University of California, Davis, B.A., 2000
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2012-present
- Associate, 2006-2011
- Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft LLP, San Francisco, California
- Associate, 2004-2005
- American Bar Association
- Section of Litigation
- Section of Tort & Insurance Practice
- The Bar Association of San Francisco
- Queen's Bench
- IADC Trial Academy, 2009
Honors and Awards
- Listed in The Legal 500, Next Generation Partner, Insurance – Advice to Insurers, 2021
Named a Northern California Rising Star, 2010-2018
- Referenced in Legal 500 U.S.- Leading Lawyers for Insurance: Advice to Insurers 2014
- Listed in The Top Women Attorneys in Northern California, 2012
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Volunteer for the Project Homeless Connect, San Francisco
- Co-author, "Pandemic B.I. Claims: After the Sound and Fury, Where Are We Now?," PropertyCasualty360, June 18, 2020
- Co-author, "Legislating Construction Accidents: The Trend of 'Occurrence' Statutes to Create Insurance Coverage for Construction Defect Lawsuits," Chapter in Aspatore Thought Leadership: Insurance Law 2012, February 2012
- Co-author, "Stemming the Tide: The Lesson of Steadfast v. AES and Terminating the Duty to Defend Climate Change Lawsuits," Going Green Hot Topic feature on the American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee website, April 2010
- Co-author, "Keep it Cool: Potential Coverage Defenses to ''Global Warming'' Lawsuits," Coverage, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Committee on Insurance Coverage Litigation, July/August 2009
Selected Speaking Engagements
Speaker, "Ethical Advocacy in Mediation. As Distinct From What You May Be Doing?" ABA 2019 Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar, Tucson, Arizona, February 28, 2019
- Speaker, "Don't You (Forget About Me): The Purpose, Force, and Effect of Insurance Policy Conditions (Notice, Voluntary Payments, and Cooperation) and Case Law Updates," American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Seminar, Tucson, Arizona, March 5, 2016
- Speaker, "Keeping the (Good) Faith: California Law on Insurer Bad Faith in Third Party Liability Cases," West LegalEdcenter, September 13, 2012