Rostyslaw J. Smyk
Ross Smyk has over 15 years of experience in advising and
representing major insurance companies in connection with coverage
questions and bad faith matters. He has provided coverage opinions
and litigated coverage disputes in a number of jurisdictions on a
wide variety of issues arising under Commercial General Liability,
Commercial Umbrella, Professional Liability, Errors &
Omissions, Directors & Officers, Employment Practices
Liability, and Commercial Auto policies. His opinions have
addressed not only threshold issues such as the definitions of
"occurrence" and "property damage," but also complex questions
regarding the work product exclusions, trigger of coverage,
allocation of loss among insurers, horizontal exhaustion, targeted
tender, applicability of "additional insured" coverage, and
breaches of conditions precedent to coverage. Ross also has
extensive experience with issues arising under "claims made"
policies including: application of related acts provisions, prior
notice language, and timely reporting issues. Ross's opinion
work has often resulted in his representing insurance carriers'
interests at mediations where favorable and cost-effective
resolutions of complex matters were reached. In coverage
litigation matters, Ross has been able to secure judgment as a
matter of law on behalf of insurers on numerous occasions,
achieving an exemplary won/lost record in the process. His
case results include:
Brown & LaCounte v. Westport Ins. Corp.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District. Federal Court
of Appeals determined that insurer had no duty to defend claim
based upon "illegal profit" exclusion. Ross successfully
defeated arguments by the insured that the "in fact" language in
the exclusion did not foreclose the possibility of an indemnity
obligation. Rather, the Federal Court of Appeals adopted
Ross's argument that no duty to defend could exist based upon the
facts plead in the underlying action.
K&B Plastics Industries v. Lincoln General Insurance
Co. Superior Court of New Jersey, Union
County. Superior Court ruled that a shipper of goods was not
entitled to coverage as a matter of law pursuant to omnibus clause
of Business Auto Policy's liability coverage. The shipper argued
that coverage should apply under the "complete operation"
doctrine. Ross defeated these arguments by convincing the
Court that the putative insured had not met its burden of proving
that the goods were packaged as an inherent part of the "loading or
Wesco Insurance Company v. Regas. U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Ross
secured a summary judgment in favor of an insurer seeking a
declaration that it had no coverage obligation under a claims made
policy where subject claim was "related" to a prior claim given to
the insured's prior insurance carrier.
Maynard v. Westport Ins. Co., U.S. District
Court for the District of Maryland. District Court granted
summary judgment and rejected arguments in favor of an estoppel
and/or waiver made by a third-party claimant "standing in the
shoes" of the insured. Despite claimant's arguments that
factual questions as to consistency of insurer's positions
throughout underlying tort litigation gave rise to a triable issue,
Ross authored the brief in which it was successfully argued that
such a position was untenable and that judgment should be entered
as a matter of law in favor of the insurer.
TIG Ins. Co. v. Corbett, Circuit Court of Cook
County, Illinois. Circuit Court agreed with Ross's argument
that an insured's having obtained written Release of liability from
former client did not preclude application of "prior knowledge"
language in professional liability policy.
Westport Ins. Corp. v. Law Offices of Marvin
Lundy, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania. Despite insured's challenge to Federal Court
Diversity Jurisdiction and arguments in favor of Colorado River
abstention, Ross was able to secure a summary judgment of "no
coverage" on behalf of client insurer.
When not practicing law, Ross enjoys listening to classical music
and jazz, cooking for family and friends, and cheering on the
Blackhawks from his seat among the die-hard fans in the United
10 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1800
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Insurance Coverage Counseling and Litigation; Insurance Bad
- J.D., Rutgers University, 1997
- B.A., University of Illinois, 1993
- Certificate in Theology, St. Paul University, 2010
- State of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado