Elizabeth concentrates her practice on complex civil and commercial litigation in the state and federal courts of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. She regularly represents insurers on a national basis in complex litigation involving first- and third-party coverage disputes with allegations of bad faith and unfair claim settlement practices. She has experience in all lines of insurance, including commercial general liability, personal lines, life and disability, professional liability, employers’ liability, umbrella, excess and surplus lines policies. Elizabeth also advises clients on the construction and wording of various types of insurance agreements, with particular focus on policy wording for cyber products.
Elizabeth also has significant civil litigation / insurance defense experience, particularly in the areas of product liability, construction defect and life sciences, and she regularly defends sports and recreational facilities, such as ski areas, ice skating rinks and race car tracks, in suits alleging catastrophic losses.
Elizabeth has presented appeals to numerous state and federal courts and has argued successfully before the Connecticut Appellate Court, the New York Appellate Division and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining Gfeller Laurie LLP, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ellen Ash Peters, retired Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Elizabeth is a member of the Connecticut, New York and Vermont Bar Associations as well as several other professional associations relevant to her practice. As Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Insurance Law Section, Elizabeth regularly organizes continuing legal education programs on topics relating to insurance coverage and defense. Prior to serving as Chair of the Insurance Law Section, Elizabeth served as Vice-Chair for two years, as well as treasurer and the continuing legal education liaison.
On September 21, 2016, Elizabeth was recognized for her professional and civic contributions by the Hartford Business Journal as one of its 40 Under Forty Award recipients. Elizabeth has also been recognized as a Rising Star in the Connecticut edition of Super Lawyers from 2010 through 2018.
- Obtained defense verdict for commercial general liability insurer following a multi-day bench trial in the Connecticut Superior Court. The dispute stemmed from the insurer’s denial of coverage for the cost to replace horsehair plaster walls in a historic home and the alleged corresponding $1.5M loss in value after the heat was turned off during the course of restoration work by the insured. Utilizing an irreproachable expert in historic plaster and plaintiff’s repeated discovery violations, plaintiff’s credibility was eviscerated as was his ability to call certain witnesses and to admit key documents.
- Successfully obtained judgment in favor of excess insurer in the New York Supreme Court, County of New York on third-party’s direct action to collect entire multi-million underlying judgment including damages and interest covered by the primary policy previously rendered void by the insured’s material misrepresentations, and successfully defended the court’s rulings before the New York Appellate Division, First Department. The favorable ruling on the interest issue alone resulted in a nearly $1M savings to the company.
- Obtained dismissal of claim of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing asserted against commercial general liability insurer as duplicative of breach of contract claim stemming from the insurer’s denial of coverage to a purported additional insured for a New York Labor Law action brought by the named insured’s employee, paving the way for a favorable global resolution for the insurer.
- Successfully defended appeal to the Second Circuit of Daubert motion and summary judgment rulings in favor of manufacturer in product defect case stemming from an industrial explosion that caused significant full-body burn injuries to the plaintiff.
- Successfully defended appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court of the first defense verdict in the United States involving a catastrophic terrain park ski injury. The case involved a 15-year old skier who was rendered a quadriplegic after an accident on a jump.
- Hartford Business Journal, 40 Under Forty 2016
- New England Super Lawyers® Magazine Connecticut Rising Star 2010-2019
- Connecticut Bar Association, Insurance Law Section
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW)
- Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
- Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Hartford Board of Trustees
- Stratton Mountain School’s Board of Trustees
- Junior League of Greater Hartford
- University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board, Emergency Panel
- “U.S. Construction Risks on the Rise as Business Grows” Insurance Day, August 2019 (PDF)
- “The Continuing Debate Over Global and National Insurance Regulatory Reform,” The Whisper, Volume 10 Issue 2, February 2014. (PDF)
- “Managing Uphill Traffic,” Ski Area Management Magazine, March 2014. (PDF)
- “As the Waves of Superstorms Recede, States Seek to Amend Insurance Laws,” Insurance Coverage Law Bulletin, July 2013. (PDF)
- “When Pleadings Lack Specific Facts,” CT Law Tribune, February 2010.
- “Just How Late is Too Late,” CT Law Tribune, November 2009. (PDF)
- “Pro-Rating Defense Costs to an Insured for Periods of Uninsurance: What Happened to the Duty to Defend?,” Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, 2004. (PDF)
- “Good For Business: The Ethics of Paying Ransom to Hackers,” CLM Cyber, Management & Professional Liability Conference, July 2020.
- “Cyber Risks From Third Party Partners, Vendors & Suppliers,” Connecticut Valley RIMS, May 2019.
- “Mind the Gap: Employee Drivers & Their Family & Friends,” Connecticut Valley RIMS, May 2019.
- “Business, Strategic and Financial Acumen – The Missing Link to Upward Mobility and Long-Term Success,” 3rd Annual Women in Insurance Leadership ExecuSummit, March 2019.
- “Tales from the Mediation Crypt: Horrors Others Have Suffered and How to Avoid Them,” American Bar Association 27th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Midyear Conference, February 2019.
- “Was the Notice of Circumstance Sufficient to Preserve Coverage for a Future Claim? Pitfalls, Lessons, and Practice Pointers,” CLM New York Conference, November 2017.
- “Construction Contracts and Law,” National Association of Home Builders and the Defense Research Institute, March 2017.
- “Challenges of Obtaining Discovery and Proving Statutory Bad Faith at Trial,” Annual Insurance Law Symposium: Bad Faith Litigation, Connecticut Bar Association and the Insurance Law Center of the University of Connecticut School of Law, February 2017.
- “Corporate Designee Depositions in Insurance Litigation,” Connecticut Bar Association, January 2017.
- “Getting to Less: Strategies for Reducing Discovery in Insurance Coverage Litigation,” Connecticut Bar Association and the Insurance Law Center of the University of Connecticut School of Law, February 2016.
- “When Bankruptcy and Insurance Coverage Collide,” Connecticut Bar Association Annual Conference, June 2015.
- “Insurance Coverage 101,” Connecticut Bar Association, January 2014.
- “Cover Yourself (and Your Client): Critical Insurance Considerations When Prosecuting or Defending Civil Actions,” Connecticut Bar Association, April 2013.
- “Lessons Learned from Terrain Park Litigation,” National Ski Areas Association, February 2011.
Admitted to Practice
- New York
- New Jersey
- United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- United States District Court, District of Connecticut
- United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
- United States District Court, Northern District of New York
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States District Court, Western District of New York
- Colby College, B.A., magna cum laude
- University of Connecticut School of Law, J.D., high honors