• PRACTICE FOCUS+
  • EDUCATION+
    • Florida State University College of Law
      J.D., summa cum laude, 2001; Salutatorian; Order of the Coif; Florida State University Law Review; Phi Delta Phi; Champion of 1998 Intramural Negotiation Competition
    • Florida State University
      B.S., magna cum laude, in Communications, 1997
  • ADMISSIONS+
    • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • South Carolina
    • North Carolina
    • Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
    • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
  • CLERKSHIP+

Kevin M. O'Brien

Kevin O’Brien practices in the area of insurance and reinsurance with a focus on complex insurance coverage, litigation and counseling, along with some insurance defense litigation. In the insurance coverage practice area, he handles complex first- and third-party coverage matters in both state and federal courts, including matters involving Commercial Property, Commercial General Liability (including construction defects and contractor’s liability), Condominium Property, Motor Truck Cargo, Marine Cargo, Dealer’s Open Lot, Garage Keepers Legal Liability, Truckers’ Liability, E&O, Law Enforcement Liability, Public Officers & Employees Liability, Jeweler’s Block and Homeowners insurance policies. He both represents and advises insurers on such matters, including providing coverage opinions and advice, assisting with Examinations Under Oath and representing insurers in coverage litigation.

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Kevin O’Brien practices in the area of insurance and reinsurance with a focus on complex insurance coverage, litigation and counseling, along with some insurance defense litigation. In the insurance coverage practice area, he handles complex first- and third-party coverage matters in both state and federal courts, including matters involving Commercial Property, Commercial General Liability (including construction defects and contractor’s liability), Condominium Property, Motor Truck Cargo, Marine Cargo, Dealer’s Open Lot, Garage Keepers Legal Liability, Truckers’ Liability, E&O, Law Enforcement Liability, Public Officers & Employees Liability, Jeweler’s Block and Homeowners insurance policies. He both represents and advises insurers on such matters, including providing coverage opinions and advice, assisting with Examinations Under Oath and representing insurers in coverage litigation.

Mr. O’Brien also advises and represents insurance clients on defense of “bad faith” and unfair claims practices allegations. He has also defended many professionals in professional liability actions. Mr. O’Brien also monitors local counsel and litigation in various other states for the firm’s insurance clients. He has represented a pro bono client before the Supreme Court of Florida.

Prior to joining the firm, he served as a judicial extern for the Hon. Charles J. Kahn of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.

Experience

  • Represented an insurer in a declaratory judgment action, in which the insurer successfully obtained summary judgment in its favor on the applicability of a Sexual and/or Physical Abuse Exclusion.  The insurer received the declaratory judgment sought regarding the maximum amount of liability insurance coverage available to its insured regarding an underlying liability suit.  Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Children's Home Soc. of North Carolina, Inc., Case No. 5:12–CV–81–FL, 2013 WL 3354506 (E.D.N.C. July 3, 2013).
  • Represented an insurer in a successful declaratory judgment action regarding liability insurance coverage for an underlying lawsuit against the insured and a purported insured.  The insured initially sought a defense and indemnification regarding the underlying liability lawsuit.  The insurer filed a declaratory judgment action.  Upon Mr. O’Brien providing the Insured with the full legal arguments as to coverage, the insured and purported insured conceded no coverage existed and without the need to file a motion for summary judgment entered into a Consent Declaratory Judgment that the insurer had no duty to defend and no duty to indemnify.  American Family Home Insurance Company v. Beach et al., Case No. 13-cv-00042-UA-JLW (M.D.N.C.).
  • Represented an insurer in a successful appeal in a breach of contract action regarding a wind exclusion and alleged ensuing loss provision in a commercial property policy.  Certain Interested Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Ft. Lauderdale, Inc., 65 So. 3d 67 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).
  • Represented an insurer in a successful appeal in a breach of contract action regarding a wind exclusion and alleged ensuing loss provision in a commercial property policy.  Certain Interested Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Ft. Lauderdale, Inc., 65 So. 3d 67 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).
  • Along with his partner at Phelps Dunbar and out-of –state co-counsel, represented an insurer in a first-party bad faith claim that was tried to verdict.  Able to obtain a defense verdict on the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages, and the verdict plaintiff obtained for compensatory damages was only a fraction of the amount plaintiff sought.  Mr. O’Brien and his colleagues subsequently successfully defended against plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.  Jablonski v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co., Case No. 2:07-cv-00386, 2009 WL 2252094 (M.D. Fla. July 24, 2009).
  • Twice successfully represented an insurer who obtained two separate dismissals of breach of contract suits by an insured under a motor truck cargo policy, wherein the insured also sought a defense of an underlying action for the loss of the cargo.  Underwriters At Interest Subscribing To Certificate No. 3860-7800-0000-0025 v. Seaboard Marine Ltd., Case No. 08-22113-CIV, 2009 WL 928719 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 3, 2009);  American Nat. Fire Ins. Co. v. M/V SEABOARD VICTORY, No. 08-21811-CIV, 2009 WL 812024 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 17, 2009).
  • Along with his current partner at Phelps Dunbar, represented an insurer and successfully obtained an affirmance by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit of a summary judgment in favor of an insurer in a declaratory judgment action regarding the applicability of a pollution exclusion in a liability policy.  Great American E & S Ins. Co. v. Sadiki, 170 Fed. Appx. 632, 2006 WL 508625 (11th Cir. 2006).

Insights

Speaking Engagements
News

Memberships & Affiliations

  • North Carolina State Bar
  • South Carolina Bar
  • The Florida Bar
  • North Carolina Tenth Judicial District Bar
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Florida State University College of Law Alumni Association (Presidential Appointment, Board of Directors)

Recognition

  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers