Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation

Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell has been advising and defending insurers in the increasingly complex, high-stakes legal challenges confronting the insurance industry for over 45 years. Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation Practice Group integrates a thorough understanding of the insurance industry, from policy formation to claims handling, with comprehensive litigation and trial skills, and is recognized as a regional leader within the insurance industry. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing prompt, efficient and accurate representation; they are also recognized for incorporating innovative and cost-effective measures to meet its client’s goals and committed to assisting the insurance industry in managing its risks by effectively and efficiently guiding insurers through myriad facets of third party, property, arson and fraud and bad faith coverage matters.

Visit our Insurance Coverage Corner blog for legal updates, opinions and relevant information on insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.

Third Party

Carlock Copeland assists insurers in resolving coverage disputes involving policies of all manner affording liability protection, including personal, commercial, business, professional, employment, health and disability, excess and umbrella. Our attorneys appreciate the statutory and common law obligations of claims professionals. We carefully evaluate coverage positions, and devise cost-effective strategies for successful resolution, whether through the issuance of coverage opinions, reservations of rights letters, non-waiver agreements and denial letters, to filing and defending declaratory judgment actions or negotiating settlements involving complex coverage trigger and allocation issues.


Our First Party Property practice encompasses a variety of property losses from homeowner claims to complex, large property loss claims arising from natural disasters, explosions, building collapse, machinery, equipment and fixture failure to fire and theft loss. Our attorneys are experienced in spearheading investigations involving significant business losses, ascertaining and evaluating the conduct of the insured, compliance with the terms and conditions of the policy and conducting examinations under oath. In defending First Party Property claims, we emphasize becoming involved in the early stages, not only to properly resolve the exposure, but also identify and preserve potential subrogation options, and where necessary devise effective recovery strategies.

Arson and Fraud

Carlock Copeland attorneys are particularly adept at identifying and thoroughly investigating fraud and arson claims. Successful defense of these claims requires an immediate and thorough investigation coupled with the integration of services from other disciplines, including cause and origin experts, forensic accountants, and other experts and consultants, as well as Federal and State agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, State Fire Marshall and Insurance Commissioner, and local police and fire departments. Our attorneys maintain a network of contacts within these various disciplines to promptly initiate and facilitate in-depth investigations. In addition to the investigation and evaluation of the claim, our attorneys analyze and advise the insurer of its duties related to others having an interest in the insurance proceeds, such as mortgagees and innocent co-insureds. Overall, Carlock Copeland guides the insurer with respect to the viability of successfully defending a claim based on fraud and/or arson.

Bad Faith

Bad faith or extra-contractual litigation is a staple of the firm’s Insurance Coverage subgroup, as the consequences of coverage decisions often result in bad faith litigation. Carlock Copeland is frequently retained to advise and defend its insurer clients against allegations of improper claims handling or other measures seeking extra-contractual damages such as punitive damages. Our attorneys are sensitive to the nature of such claims and promptly devise a resolution strategy that incorporates an aggressive trial plan. Our attorneys have successfully defended numerous matters alleging bad faith or extra-contractual damages through the trial and appellate courts.

The dedication of the firm’s insurance coverage and bad faith litigation attorneys is evident, not only with the service provided to our clients on each engagement, but also with their commitment to continually deepen their experience. Our insurance coverage and bad faith attorneys are frequent writers and speakers on emerging coverage issues confronting insurance professionals, and are involved in numerous local and national industry organizations. Our coverage specialists also maintain and continually update a legal research file addressing the most recent coverage opinions, and provide educational seminars to its insurer clients. Carlock Copeland is a recognized leader in devising and implementing innovative and result-oriented strategies for resolving policy disputes.

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Melissa L. Bailey

Practice Group Chair

Melissa represents her clients in complex trial and appellate litigation across Georgia and serves as the Chair of the CSKL Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Practice Group.  A large portion of her practice focuses on coverage and bad faith issues, both advising clients in pre-suit matters and litigating those issues in courts statewide.  Melissa also…


Kathy A. Carlsten

Practice Group Co-Chair

Kathy is a Partner in the Charleston office of Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell, LLP.  Her practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, professional liability defense and construction defect matters.  She handles a wide variety of litigation in both South Carolina state and federal courts for corporate clients and individuals.  Kathy has successfully developed and executed resolution plans…