Scott DeVries is a litigation partner in the firm’s San Francisco office and chairs the Insurance Recovery Practice. In this capacity, he routinely represents firm clients throughout the country facing insurance recovery issues. He also focuses his practice on class and mass torts, product liability, and complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. DeVries has more than 25 years of experience in complex litigation for companies faced with major insurance, environmental, and toxic tort litigation, including Aerojet-General Corporation, Amaranth, NetApp, Midas, Nucor Corporation, Precision CastParts, Velsicol, BP, and URS.
His insurance practice covers the gamut of insurance issues, including coverage for major property damage and business interruption losses, advertising-related liabilities, errors and omissions claims, director and officer claims, products liability claims, employment liability, fiduciary liability such as ERISA, False Claims Act liabilities, theft and other criminal related claims, environmental and mass tort matters, and personal injury claims such as right to privacy and false imprisonment.
In the last five years, Mr. DeVries has tried four cases, three of them to jury. He tried two cases in which insurers challenged whether various fees and expenses were reasonable and necessary to the policyholder’s defense of underlying environmental and mass tort litigation. He also tried one case to jury on the insurers’ obligation to indemnify the insured for various settlements. In the mass tort area, he tried to jury a case in which plaintiffs claimed that chemical exposure caused injuries and deaths.
In addition, Mr. DeVries routinely represents clients in appellate courts, where, for example, he obtained a groundbreaking decision in Aerojet-General Corp. v. Transport et al., in which the California Supreme Court held that the duty to defend included RI/FS and other expense where so long as a purpose of the expense was to further defense, and where a loss potentially triggers multiple policy periods, each insurer is severally and independently liable for the complete defense and is not entitled to seek defense from a “self-insured.” In April 2007, he obtained a decision on behalf of Tosoh SET from the First Appellate District (California) that advertising injury coverage covers direct as well as indirect forms of disparagement. In 2010, he secured a groundbreaking decision on behalf of Hyundai in the Ninth Circuit that advertising injury coverage covers allegations of patent infringement concerning website design. In 2012, he secured a decision in the Arizona Court of Appeal for Nucor addressing a number of landmark issues related to the company’s insurance recovery efforts related to environmental claims.
Mr. DeVries received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1976 and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1979.
Honors & Awards
From 2006 through 2014, Mr. DeVries was chosen each year for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the categories of insurance and general litigation with the San Francisco office being ranked “Tier One” in both categories. He was recognized each year by San Francisco Magazine from 2004 through 2013 as one of the Northern California “Super Lawyers.” Most recently, he was endorsed by PLC Which Lawyer?as a leader in Insurance: Policyholder Led Practices.
Mr. DeVries is a member of the California Bar Association and the New York Bar Association. He is a fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Environmental Claim Journal and the Toxics Law Reporter.
Mr. DeVries’ recent publications include the following:
- Co-Author, "Appropriateness of Medical Monitoring Awards in Mass Tort Cases," BNA Toxics Law Reporter(October 2011)
- Co-Author, “Ameron International: Expanding Insurance Recovery for Administrative Environmental Proceedings,” Environmental Claims Journal(April 2011)
- Co-Author, “Environmental Law,” ABA Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation(January 2011)
- Co-Author, “Litigation Risks Related to Nanoproducts,” Bloomberg Law Reports, Technology Law (December 2010)
- Co-Author, “Nanotechnology—the New Frontier of Mass Tort Litigation,” Mealey’s Litigation Report:Toxic Torts (December 2009)
- Co-Author, “Use of Lone Pine Orders in Cost Effective Management of Mass Tort and Class Actions,” Class Action Reporter(October 2008)
- Co-Author, “Insurance Coverage Transferability in Mergers and Acquisitions: Documenting the Acquiree’s Historical Coverage May Not Be Enough,” Bloomberg Finance(May 2008)
- Co-Author, “Settling for Less: Has Powerine Done Away with Liability Insurers’ Duty to Settle in California?” Coverage (March 2008)
- Co-Author, “Principles Of Advertising Injury Coverage,” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, (Aug. 7, 2007)
- Author, “Principles of Third Party Liability Insurance,” California Judges Association/The Rutter Group (Revised through September 1, 2002)
- Author, “Traditional and Novel Theories of Liability and Damages in Toxic Tort Litigation,” Corporate Counsel’s Guide to Environmental Law (Chapter 8, 2000)
Mr. DeVries’ recent presentations include the following:
- Co-Presenter, "Understanding and Minimizing Your Company’s Nanotort Risks," Winston & Strawn LLP eLunch Briefing (May 11, 2011)
- Panelist, "Understanding Medical Monitoring Damages," ABA Environmental, Mass Torts and Products Liability Litigation Committees' Joint CLE Seminar (Jan. 28, 2011)
- Presenter, “Policyholders’ Right to Counsel in California,” Winston & Strawn (Oct. 10, 2009)
- Co-Presenter, “Environmental Insurance Update,” California State Bar Annual Meeting, San Diego (Sept. 12, 2009)
- Co-Presenter, “What Strategy Will You Use if Your Company Makes an Insurance Claim and Your Insurer Tells You That You’re Not Covered,” Association of Corporate Counsel, San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. (March 18, 19, 2009)
- Panelist, “Insurance Coverage Transferability in Mergers and Acquisitions,” “All Hands Meeting” of the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel, Santa Clara, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2008)
- Co-Presenter, “What Strategy Will You Use if Your Company Makes an Insurance Claim and Your Insurer Tells You That You’re Not Covered,” Bay Area General Counsel’s monthly meeting, San Francisco (March 4, 2008)
- Panelist, “Causation and the Role of Experts in Toxic Torts” Environmental Law Institute’s Critical Developments in Toxic Torts Seminar Series, Los Angeles (September 2006)
- Presenter, “What Strategy Will You Use If Your Company Makes a Claim and Your Insurance Company Tells You ‘You’re Not Covered’?” Association of Corporate Counsel - Southern California Chapter (September 2006)
- Presenter, “The Rising Tide of Perchlorate Contamination Cases” Bridgeport Continuing Education’s Third Annual Toxic Torts in California Conference (October 2004)
- Presenter, “Maximizing Insurance Coverage, Minimizing Corporate Expense” American Corporate Counsel Association, Washington DC (2002)
- Presenter, “Traditional and Novel Theories of Liability and Damages in Toxic Tort Actions” American Corporate Counsel Association Webcast (2002)
- New York
- University of California - Hastings JD, 1979