• Share
  • Email
  • Print

Carolyn M. Branthoover

Practice Area Leader - Litigation and Dispute Resolution
+1.412.355.8902
Fax +1.412.355.6501
Ms. Branthoover practices in the area of complex commercial litigation and international arbitration, with a particular focus on insurance coverage disputes arising under a wide variety of liability and property policies related to environmental, toxic tort, employment, business interruption, and product liabilities. She has represented major industrial and commercial clients in numerous state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, and she has acted as lead trial counsel in a number of high stakes disputes before both U.S. courts and international arbitration tribunals under the Rules of the AAA, ICDR and LCIA. In 2006, she represented an aluminum distributor in securing a $59.6 million jury verdict in a UCC breach of warranties case tried in federal court in Washington. This verdict was among the top 100 U.S. verdicts of 2006, ranking 27th.

Professional Background

Ms. Branthoover has been a lawyer with K&L Gates since 1982 and has been a partner since 1990. She previously served as the Administrative Partner of the Pittsburgh office and currently serves as the Practice Area Leader of the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Area. She is a member of the firm’s Insurance Coverage and International Arbitration Practice Groups. Ms. Branthoover has spoken at a number of national seminars on insurance coverage and other matters, and she has served as an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Achievements

  • Best Lawyer in America, Insurance Law, 2015-2017
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2014-2016

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • United Way of Allegheny County (Board Member, 2012-present)
  • Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way (Member, 2011-present)
  • Wexford Children’s Center (Board Member, 2002-2004; Chair, 2004)
  • Wexford Community Presbyterian Church (Elder and Session member, 2006-2011 and 2015-present)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Insurance Policy Rescission: Navigating the Differing Standards Underlying a Misrepresentation Claim or Defense,” Strafford Publications webinar, October 13, 2016
  • “Issues in E-Commerce Business Interruption Coverage” – ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Section, Midyear Meeting, March 2, 2002 (Tucson, AZ)
  • “Environmental Update” (panel discussion) – ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Section, Midyear Meeting, March 10, 2001 (Tucson, AZ)
  • “First Party Coverage Review” – ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Section, Midyear Meeting, March 8-10, 2001 (Tucson, AZ)
  • “Career Transitions and Exit Strategies” – 2nd Law Firm Associate Management Forum: Training, Supporting and Keeping Your Best Associates, July 15-16, 1999 (San Francisco, CA)
  • “Insurance Coverage Litigation Workshop – Influencing a Jury” – 2nd National Conference for Women Insurance Professionals, May 17-18, 1999 (Chicago, IL)
  • “Knowledge Management:  Building and Leveraging Professional Expertise” – The Law Firm Associate Management Forum: Training, Supporting and Keeping Your Best Associates, February 25-26, 1999 (Washington, D.C.)
  • “Distinct Coverage Approaches for Component Part Manufacturers” – 2nd Annual Conference on Insurance Coverage for Tobacco-Related Litigation & Liability, June 9-10, 1997 (Washington, D.C.)

Commercial Litigation / International Arbitration

  • Reynolds Metals Co. v. Alcan Aluminum Corp. (W.D. Wash.) Obtained $59.6 million jury verdict following three week trial in suit alleging breach of UCC implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for particular purpose in connection with the sale of an aluminum alloy used in the manufacture of boats. Following jury verdict, court further awarded $16.1 million prejudgment interest.
  • Confidential Arbitration between educational services company and Chinese outsourcing company (ICDR, New York). Represented educational services company in pursuing claim to recover fees owed under software licensing agreement. Matter proceeded through a one-week evidentiary hearing and was thereafter favorably resolved through settlement.
  • Confidential Arbitration between Chinese investor and Brazilian metals and mining company (LCIA, London).
  • International Chemical Co. v. PPG Industries, Inc. (N.D. Okla.) Represented chemical manufacturer in obtaining summary judgment dismissal of action brought by sulfur supplier alleging wrongful termination of requirements contract.

Insurance Coverage Litigation / International Arbitration
  • Ingersoll-Rand Company v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., et al. (Superior Court of N.J., Middlesex County). Represent policyholder in on-going suit seeking declaratory judgment of rights to insurance coverage for asbestos liabilities under historic general liability policies. '
  • Confidential Arbitration between manufacturer and insurer (Ad Hoc Domestic Arbitration). Represented policyholder in seeking to secure first-party insurance coverage for extensive property damage and business interruption loss caused by Hurricane Ike. Matter proceeded through two-week evidentiary hearing and arbitrators’ award.
  • Confidential Arbitration between service industry company and insurer (Intn’l Arbitration, London). Represented policyholder seeking coverage under Bermuda Form policy for employment related liabilities. Matter concluded following two-week evidentiary hearing and arbitrators’ award.
  • E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. v. Admiral Ins. Co. (Del. Superior Court). Represented policyholder in suit seeking insurance coverage for environmental liabilities at numerous sites located throughout the country. Following discovery and summary judgment rulings, the case settled favorably.
  • United Technologies Corp. v. American Home Assurance Co. (U.S.D.C. Conn.). Obtained $16.3 million jury verdict following six week trial in suit seeking first-party insurance coverage for environmental property damage at two manufacturing facilities; also obtained bad faith jury verdict against insurer following bifurcated three week trial, which led to a $16 million punitive damages award and a $2.6 million award of attorneys’ fees.
  • Alcoa Inc. v. Accident & Indemnity Ins. Co., et al. (King County Superior Court, Wash.). Represented policyholder in suit seeking first-party insurance coverage for environmental property damage at numerous sites located throughout the country. Following first phase jury trial, appeal to the Washington Supreme Court and discovery in preparation for re-trial, the case settled favorably.
  • Confidential Arbitration between manufacturer and insurer (Ad Hoc International Arbitration, London). Represented policyholder in seeking insurance coverage for recall and property damage caused by defective device installed in braking systems of numerous trucks. Following two week hearing and post-hearing briefing, the case settled favorably.
  • Elliott Co. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. United Technologies Corp. (N.D. Ohio). In suit seeking insurance coverage for asbestos liabilities under historic general liability policies, obtained summary judgment dismissal of indemnity claim against third-party based on prior settlement agreement. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judgment of the district court.

Construction Industry Arbitration
  • Represented US-based construction managers and general contractors in numerous disputes arbitrated to resolution under the Rules of the AAA in matters involving claims for, inter alia, delay damages and extra work arising out of the construction of hospitals, athletic facilities, prisons, office buildings and highways.

Environmental Litigation
  • Tippins Inc. v. USX Corp. (W.D. Pa.) Successfully represented potentially responsible party at Superfund cleanup site in contribution action seeking allocation of response costs among generator, arranger and transporter of waste. Case presented question of first impression regarding transporter liability under CERCLA. On appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the favorable judgment of the district court.

Products Liability Litigation
  • Abu-Zeineh v. Federal Laboratories, Inc. (W.D.Pa.) Successfully represented tear gas manufacturer in securing dismissal, on jurisdictional grounds, of wrongful death claims brought by surviving family members of nine Palestinians who allegedly died as a result of exposure to tear gas utilized by Israeli Defense Forces in uprisings in the Occupied Territories. Case involved novel question of citizenship of Palestinians residing in the Israeli Occupied Territories.

Insurance Coverage Counseling
  • Counseled international distributor of cell phones regarding recovery under crime policy for multi-million dollar employee theft loss occurring in the Middle East. Following submission of proofs of loss and examinations under oath, the parties reached an amicable settlement. 
  • Advised not-for-profit organization regarding professional and general liability insurance coverage available with respect to wrongful death action brought against former employee and organization.