Karen L. Bizzini joined the Los Angeles office as a partner in August 2019. She specializes in insurance coverage and general business litigation. She has extensive arbitration, mediation, trial and appellate experience. She regularly represents insurance companies in disputes arising under primary, excess and umbrella policies. She provides advice on a variety of coverage issues involving general liability, employment practices liability, professional liability, directors & officers liability, and premises liability. She defends insurers in third-party lawsuits alleging environmental contamination, bodily injury, property damage, advertising injury, and “bad faith,” and in first-party homeowner actions alleging earthquake, mold, water and fire claims. She has counseled clients on claims handling practices and developing insurance policy provisions. She also represents individuals and businesses in a variety of business disputes.
Karen excels at successfully resolving lawsuits by dispositive motion or by achieving other significant rulings that shape the litigation. In one case in the District of Kansas, she obtained a ruling in her client’s favor that the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applied, which required the plaintiff to produce hundreds of documents that it had withheld as privileged. A few representative rulings Karen has obtained as lead counsel for her clients include:
- Moore v Zurich American Ins. Co., Case No. CV 16-2466-AB, 2016 WL 10987368 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 1, 2016) (Granted insurer's motion to compel plaintiff’s deposition on a date certain);
- AKH Company, Inc. v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., Case No. 13-2003-JAR, 2015 WL 4642087 (D. Kan. Aug. 4, 2015) (Granted insurer's discovery motion and sanctions request that plaintiff’s privilege claims are waived), and 2014 WL 5321074 (Court determined Insurer established a prima facie case sufficient to invoke the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, and ordered plaintiff to produce documents withheld as privileged);
- Signal Products, Inc. v. American Zurich Ins. Co., Case No. 2:13-CV-04581-CAS, 2013 WL 6814847 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2013) (Granted insurer's motion for partial summary judgment that it had no duty to indemnify plaintiff for trademark action);
- Turner Construction Co. v. Zurich Ins. Co., 213 Fed.Appx. 533 (9th Cir. 2006) (Affirmed district court’s grant of summary judgment to insurer that plaintiff breached the “no voluntary payment” provision and therefore had no claim for indemnification); and
- Anaconda Minerals Co. v. Stoller Chemical Co., 990 F.2d 1175 (10th Cir. 1993) (Affirmed district court’s grant of summary judgment to insurers, confirming that pollution exclusion barred coverage for discharges that were not “sudden and accidental,” even if actual contamination was not expected or intended).
Karen has published numerous articles in the subject areas of insurance, reinsurance, and litigation. She co-authored a chapter titled “Analyzing Insurance Policies” for the New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide (2007). Karen’s article titled “California Court of Appeal Affirms Vertical Exhaustion in Long Tail Asbestos Coverage Case,” is published on the Firm’s website.
She has represented many pro bono clients during her career. Most recently as a volunteer with the Inner City Law Center, Karen represented a female Army veteran in a benefits appeal. She thoroughly reviewed her client’s voluminous military and medical records, performed comprehensive research of her client’s service-related medical conditions, worked with her client’s friends to supplement the case file, and argued her client’s benefits appeal before the Veteran’s Administration (VA). She obtained an award that increased her client’s monthly VA benefits from $450 to $3,084, and paid her client retroactive VA benefits of more than $120,000.
- Karen is an active leader in community organizations. She created and chaired for four years the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Attorneys Committee for the Los Angeles Region, which raised more than $600,000 for local cancer programs, research and scholarships under her leadership. For 25 years, she regularly volunteered for the ACS Just for Kids program, which provided entertainment outings to children whose parents or siblings were battling cancer.
- She served for 11 years on the Board of Directors of No Limits, a non-profit speech and language center and theater troupe for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
- She has been a member of the Chancellor’s Associates at the University of California at Merced for 12 years.
- In 2008, Karen established a college scholarship in her name at Atwater High School. She has awarded 22 scholarships to female graduates since that time.
ADMISSIONS & PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
- Karen’s litigation practice includes matters before state and federal trial and appellate courts. She is admitted to the State Bar of California, and the United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California. She has appeared as counsel of record in state courts in Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Iowa, and New York, the Northern District of Georgia, the District of Utah, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the District of Kansas. She is admitted to the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals.
- Karen is a Lifetime Member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), and served on its Board of Governors for six years. She also served for 11 years on the WLALA Public Action Grant Foundation Advisory Counsel, and for one year as its President. She mentors law students and recent law school graduates through the WLALA Mentoring Program.
- Karen is a member of the Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles, and serves as a mentor for recent law school graduates through its Mentorship Committee.
- She is a member of the Women Rainmakers Roundtable, a networking organization of female partners of law firms located throughout the United States and Canada.
- Karen served a three-year term on the State Bar of California’s Committee on Women in the Law, and was Vice-Chair of that Committee for one year.