Robert M. Sullivan
Robert M. Sullivan has substantial experience in complex insurance matters and focuses his practice on representing insurance agents and brokers and their insureds in complex insurance coverage litigation, insurance coverage, miscellaneous professional liability and insurance agency and brokerage corporate representation. He has tried a number of high exposure cases to verdict and has argued dozens of cases before all of the Appellate Divisions in New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Sullivan has appeared as lead counsel in several other jurisdictions including Alabama, Connecticut, The District of Columbia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the United States Virgin Islands and Texas. Some of his more unique cases include the trial of an agent/broker E&O case in the United States District Court for the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as a case involving the application of the war exclusion to damage suffered by businesses in Panama as a result of the U.S. invasion in 1989. Mr. Sullivan began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Sullivan is admitted to practice before all Courts of the State of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Eleventh Circuits and the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York and the District of Connecticut.
Mr. Sullivan has appeared as counsel in over 50 reported appellate court decisions, in both the New York State and Federal Courts. In Argo Systems, FZE v. Liberty Ins. PTE, Ltd., 537 F.Supp.2d 1223 (S.D. Alabama, 2007), 278 Fed. Appx. 972 (C.A. 11, 2008), reh. den. 285 F.2d Appx. 743, he successfully argued before the Federal Courts in Alabama that federal admiralty jurisdiction did not extend to claims against an insurance broker and that a broker did not breach its duty of care by incorrectly advising an underwriter of the port of departure when the underwriter has constructive knowledge of the port of departure. In Federal Ins. Co. v. Spectrum Ins. Brokerage Services, Inc., 304 A.D.2d 316, 758 N.Y.S.2d 21 (1st Dept. 2003), he successfully obtained dismissal of an action against an insurance brokerage by the insurer of a contractor which alleged a failure of the broker to add the contractor as an additional insured on the policy of the broker’s client, a sub-contractor. The Court held that the contractor lacked privity with the broker and thus the insurer, as a subrogee, lacked standing to sue the broker. In Sutton Park Development Corp. v. Guerin and Guerin Agency, Inc., 297 A.D.2d 430, 745 N.Y.S.2d 622 (3rd Dept. 2002), he obtained dismissal of claims against an insurance broker for breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence on the grounds that such claims are not viable in an action against an insurance broker for failure to procure insurance. In Busker on the Roof Ltd. Partnership v. M.E. Warrington, 283 A.D.2d 376, 725 N.Y.S.2d 45 (1st Dept. 2001), and M&E Manufacturing v. Frank H. Reis, Inc., 258 A.D.2d 9, 692 N.Y.S.2d 191 (3rd Dept. 1999), he obtained dismissals of actions against insurance brokers on the grounds that the brokers had no obligation to advise their insureds regarding coverage in the absence of a special relationship. In Babalola v. Crystal Chemicals, Inc., 225 A.D.2d 370, 644 N.Y.S.2d 1 (1st Dept. 1996), he represented a chemical manufacturer and in a case of first impression in New York, obtained dismissal of personal injury claims for inadequate labeling of a product on the grounds that the label complied with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and were pre-empted by Federal Law.
Mr. Sullivan is a member of both the New York State and American Bar Associations, including the Sections on Professional Liability and Torts, Insurance, Negligence and Compensation Law. He is also a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS). He has lectured insurance professionals on topics relating to E&O exposure and is licensed by both the New York State Insurance Department and the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance as a continuing education instructor.
Mr. Sullivan earned his B.A. from Canisius College in 1974 and J.D. degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1981. Prior to attending law school, he served as a Lieutenant (junior grade) aboard a combat support vessel in the United States Navy.
Mr. Sullivan authors a monthly article appearing in the Professional Insurance Agents Association (PIA) magazine which addresses errors and omissions issues for insurance brokers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Ohio. He also is the author of a quarterly law review quality newsletter discussing insurance issues which appears in PIA’s E&O Quarterly. In addition to his contributions to the PIA publications, Mr. Sullivan has authored articles in National Underwriter and the Quarterly of the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section of the American Bar Association. Mr. Sullivan is a legal consultant in PIA’s “Circle of Consultants” and helps manage an E&O “hotline” for members of PIA.
Robert M. Sullivan Frederick Klein
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