Kevin J. Smith, Attorney at Law, represents insurance policyholders in disputes with their insurance companies, as well as plaintiffs’ attorneys with claims and litigation against defendants whose insurance companies have denied their claims. Mr. Smith also provides consultation and litigation support to attorneys pursuing bad faith lawsuits against insurance companies.

Insurance companies routinely deny legitimate claims they are legally obligated to pay. Some wrongful denials are honest mistakes, some are issued because insurers make claim decisions in their favor when coverage is a close call and some valid claims are intentionally denied, as insurers know that the vast majority of policyholders will not retain an attorney to contest claim denials.

When policyholders do get the assistance of an insurance coverage attorney, the insurance companies often reconsider their denials of coverage once they receive insurance coverage opinion letters explaining that the basis of the insurers’ claim denial is faulty.

Commitment to Clients

Mr. Smith recognizes that if he does not take care of his clients, someone else will. The practice of law is a service business and clients rightfully demand that their attorney be accessible, responsive and keep them informed of the status of their matters. 

Fees & Billing

Mr. Smith maintains a reasonable and fair fee policy and works with clients to devise the most equitable billing system for their individual needs. Billing invoices are timely and detailed, with specific work, hourly charges and expenses clearly spelled out.

Mr. Smith understands that legal expenses are a concern to his clients and encourages open communications regarding billings.  

Mr. Smith ensures client satisfaction by:
  • Fostering a strong attorney-client team relationship;
  • Making himself readily accessible to clients;
  • Promptly responding to client inquiries;
  • Listening to his clients and taking the time to understand their circumstances;
  • Offering creative approaches and solutions to his clients' legal, personal and business concerns;
  • Continually working with his clients to define their objectives;
  • Examining, and then developing, a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives;
  • Striving to resolve matters efficiently and successfully without engaging in drawn-out legal maneuvering.

Insurance Coverage on Behalf of Policyholders

Mr. Smith has been a lawyer and entrepreneur for 30 years during which he has developed a reputation for skillfulness, creativity, diligence and integrity.  He has founded and served as an officer and director for several companies and understands the business and common sense needs of his clients. 

Mr. Smith represents policyholders in disputes with their insurance companies, as well as plaintiffs’ attorneys with claims and litigation against defendants whose insurance companies have denied their claims. He also provides consultation and litigation support to attorneys pursuing bad faith actions against insurance companies.

He has represented businesses, professionals and individuals in coverage cases arising from virtually all types of insurance policies, including Commercial General Liability, Errors and Omissions, Directors & Officers, Homeowners, Automobile, Fire, Life, Health, Disability, Employee Dishonesty, Surety Bonds, Property Damage, Advertising Injury, Construction, Environmental and Product Liability. 

Mr. Smith is admitted to practice before all state courts in California, as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California.


McGeorge School of Law, J.D. – 1989

  • Assistant Comment Editor for the Pacific Law Journal – 1989
  • Staff Editor for the Pacific Law Journal – 1988

Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, B.A. – 1986

  • Mr. Smith served as an original member of the Advisory Board for the College of Liberal Arts

Case Studies

Mr. Smith is a firm believer in the concept that if you know more about insurance coverage than your opponent, you will prevail. Here are some of Mr. Smith’s past cases that illustrate the influence of knowledge on the outcome: 

Case No. 1

The insured policyholder of a Commercial General Liability policy, a commercial grower of strawberry root stock, had its plantings accidentally sprayed by a crop-duster hired by its neighbor. The plants were inspected and believed to be unaffected by the spraying, so Mr. Smith’s clients sold them to hundreds of their strawberry farmer customers, who planted them in their fields intending to sell the berries at market.

Unfortunately, the plants failed to produce the expected quality and quantity of berries and the insured’s customers sued.  The insurance company refused to defend or indemnify the insured, so the insured used its own funds to settle the customers’ suits and filed an action against its insurance company seeking reimbursement of the settlements and the attorneys’ fees incurred in the lawsuits. 

The appellate court considered whether the insurer owed a duty to defend the insured against the customers’ suits. The insurer’s lawyers argued the “occurrence” (a negligent act required for coverage) was the spraying of the plants by the crop-duster, which was excluded by an aircraft exclusion in the policy. 

Mr. Smith framed the issue differently, contending the occurrence was the allegation by the customers that the insured grower negligently concluded the plants were unaffected by the spraying and sold them to customers. The lawyers for the insurance company also argued the “property damage” (another element required for coverage) was to the insured grower’s strawberry plant stock, which was not covered by the policy. 

Mr. Smith reframed the issue contending the property damage was the “loss of use” (an obscure form of “property damage” covered by the policy) of the customers’ commercial strawberry fields due to the failure of the plants to produce the expected strawberry yields. The appellate court agreed with Mr. Smith and held the insurer breached its duty of defense to defend to the suits filed by the customers. [Link to the published opinion]

The case was settled shortly thereafter for approximately $4,000,000.

Case No. 2

An individual submitted an application for a disability policy, paid the first month’s premium and was injured prior to the policy being issued.

The insurance company denied his claim for benefits contending the policy was not yet in force at the time of the injury. Mr. Smith brought an action against the insurer and filed a motion for summary judgment contending despite the fact the policy had not been issued, there was coverage because the policyholder had paid the initial premium.

The court agreed and determined the policy was indeed in effect when the insured became disabled. The case was settled shortly thereafter for approximately $900,000.

Case No. 3

Mr. Smith’s client, an attorney, filed a lawsuit against a home health care company that provided daily living care to his client. Unfortunately, the caregiver had past criminal convictions for theft and drug use, and proceeded to steal rare coins and stamps valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars from the attorney’s client.

The home health care company had few assets to pay a judgment or settlement, but it did have a Healthcare Professional Liability policy. The insurer that issued the policy claimed there was no coverage because theft did not amount to the negligent rendering of “professional health care services” covered by the policy, and offered $25,000 on behalf of the home health care company to settle.

The plaintiff’s attorney hired Mr. Smith to consider whether there would be coverage for a judgment, and if so, to convince the insurance company of this fact so that it would make a better offer of settlement to his client.

Mr. Smith contended there was coverage because the failure of the health care company to determine its caregiver employee had a criminal background constituted the negligent professional health care services required by the policy for coverage.

Thereafter, the plaintiff’s attorney settled the case on behalf of his client for about $500,000.

Case No. 4

The retaining wall of a hotel collapsed causing the hotel to be uninhabitable and a complete loss.

The insurer denied the claim made by the owner of the hotel on the ground the loss was due to excluded earth movement. While acknowledging that earth movement was one cause of loss, Mr. Smith brought an action on behalf of the owner of the hotel contending that the predominant cause of the loss was actually the failure of a subterranean “dead man” support system for the retaining wall.

The case was settled shortly before trial for approximately $800,000.

Case No. 5

An operator of an automobile salvage yard was sued for allegedly contaminating a third party’s property

The insured’s insurance company refused to defend him contending the pollution exclusion applied, and the insured lost at trial.

Mr. Smith filed an action against the insurance company and argued in a summary judgment proceeding that the pollution exclusion did not apply to the Personal Injury portion of his client’s Commercial Liability Policy that provided coverage for the “invasion of the right of private occupancy.”

The trial court agreed and the bad faith case against the insurer settled during the first week of trial for approximately $700,000.

Case No. 6

A roofing contractor failed to reattach ducting after installing a new roof  resulting in injuries to his customers when they were exposed to carbon monoxide.

The contractor’s insurance company refused to defend him against the suit filed by the customers, arguing the pollution exclusion applied.

Mr. Smith resolved the case filed by the customers by convincing their attorney to agree to binding arbitration. In exchange for admitting liability in the arbitration, the customers agreed that Mr. Smith’s client would not be personally responsible for any award, but the customers would have the right to seek recovery from the contractor’s insurer of any arbitration award in their favor. 

An arbitration award and judgment were entered against the insured contractor, and Mr. Smith filed an action against the insurer seeking reimbursement of the judgment and attorneys’ fees incurred by the insured in the arbitration. Mr. Smith filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the pollution exclusion did not apply because the insured roofer did not discharge pollutants it was using in its operations.

The insured simply failed to properly vent the heater through the new roof it installed. The court agreed and ruled the contractor’s insurer should have defended it in the suit filed by the injured customers. Shortly afterwards, the insurer paid the damages awarded to the customers in the arbitration, and also paid Mr. Smith’s client $150,000 to settle his bad faith claim.

Contact Info

Call Now : (650) 888-6210

  • Kevin J. Smith, Attorney at Law
  • 3239 Iredell Lane Studio City, CA 91604
  • (650) 888-6210