Bill Knowles is a member in the Global Insurance Group and focuses his practice on insurance coverage and commercial litigation matters. Bill joined the firm's Seattle office in January 2003, having previously been managing partner of a small litigation and trial firm in Seattle.
Bill advises his clients concerning insurance coverage for a variety of claims, including construction defect, environmental and general liability. He has served in an advisory capacity while claims are pending and represents clients both before and after litigation with the insurer ensues. In addition, he has extensive experience litigating and trying cases to verdict, including claims regarding product liabiltiy, premises liability, unfair competition, contract, construction defect, job site injury and insurance coverage. Bill has appeared before the appellate courts in Washington, Oregon and the 9th Circuit, and in trial courts throughout the United States.
Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University in 1983, and his J.D from Seattle University in 1987.
March 11, 2009
Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Lecture For CPCU Society
March 18, 2013
The Washington Supreme Court joined a minority of jurisdictions that hold that insurers may not unilaterally reserve the right to seek reimbursement for defense costs paid in defending non-covered claims through a reservation of rights letter. In National Surety Corp. v. Immunex Corp., the Washington Supreme Court, in a five to four decision, held that insurers defending under a reservation of rights may not seek reimbursement for defense costs from the insured, even if there is a determination that the insured is not entitled to coverage under the policy No. 86535-3 (March 7, 2013). In so holding, the court recognized that, upon a showing of actual and substantial prejudice resulting from an insured’s delayed tender, an insurer could minimize or avoid liability for defense costs.
December 19, 2012
In Capitol Specialty Insurance v. JBC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. et al., No. 68129-0-1, 2012 Wash. App. LEXIS 2835 (Ct. App. Dec. 10, 2012), the Washington Court of Appeals held a firearms exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy unambiguously excludes coverage for all claims arising from a nightclub shooting regardless of who used the firearm, including those claims characterized as pre-shooting negligence. The court distinguished the holding from those claims where there are allegations of post-shooting acts that lead to further injury or harm to the claimant.
November 13, 2012
Collectibility in Legal Malpractice Suits - A Required Element in Proving Damages: Schmidt v. Coogan - Commercial Litigation Alert - In Schmidt v. Coogan, No. 41279-9-II, 2012 WL 5331567 (October 30, 2012), the Washington Court of Appeals held that (1) collectibility is a required component in determining legal malpractice damages and (2) the failure to prove collectibility is fatal to a plaintiff trying to establish damages in a legal malpractice action.
March 01, 2012
That's A Wrap - Construction Today - It is important to know how wrap insurance is different from a traditional liability policy.
February 13, 2012
The Erosion Continues: Washington Supreme Court Expands the Olympic Steamship Rule and Finds a Viable Bad Faith Claim by a PIP "Insured" - Global Insurance Alert! - In Matsyuk v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2012 Wash. LEXIS 119 (Feb.9 2012), the Washington Supreme Court held that: (1) a tortfeasor's insurer that provides both Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and liability coverage must pay a pro rata share of the attorney fees incurred by the PIP insureds via the equitable "common fund" doctrine, even though the insurer derived no benefit from the "fund"
May 23, 2011
Wronging a Right? South Carolina and Hawai'i Legislatures Pass Laws to Overturn Construction Defect Coverage Common Law - Insurance Coverage Alert! - South Carolina and Hawai’i have now joined Colorado and Arkansas as two of four states that have passed legislation aimed at broadening the definition of “occurrence” under commercial general liability (CGL) policies as it relates to construction defect claims.
June 11, 2010
Commercial General Liability: Hawai’i State Court Holds that Construction Defect Claims Do Not Constitute an “Occurrence” - Insurance Coverage Alert! - As predicted by the U.S. District Court in Hawai’i and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court in several cases decided in the past 15 years, the Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai’i recently held that construction defect claims do not constitute an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy. Group Builders Inc. and Tradewind Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 2010 Haw.App. LEXIS 234 (May 19, 2010).
April 14, 2010
Washington Court Enforces 'Anti-Stacking' Provision to Prevent Application of Multiple Policies for Continuing Water Damage - Insurance Coverage Alert! - On April 12, 2010, the Washington Court of Appeals
Division One decided Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s
London v. Valiant Ins. Co., --- P.3d ----, 2010 WL
1427571 (Wash., Apr. 12, 2010), holding that Zurich’s antistacking provision, which limited an insured’s recovery to one policy limit per “occurrence” when the insured held two
or more Zurich policies,
February 21, 2010
Winter 2010 - Insurance Coverage Observer -
October 05, 2009
Washington Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court Ruling: Stipulated Judgment of $8.75 Million is Unreasonable - Insurance Coverage Alert! - In Water’s Edge Homeowners Ass’n v. Water’s Edge Associates, et al., ---P.3d ---, (September 29, 2009), the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling that a settlement consisting of a stipulated judgment of $8.75 million against an insured developer and an insured property manager and in favor of a plaintiff condominium association was unreasonable, after the insurers of the developer and property manager intervened.
January 29, 2009
Winter 2009 - Insurance Coverage Observer -
October 28, 2008
Washington Supreme Court Holds Insurers Bound by Settlement Approved at Reasonableness Hearing Where Coverage Turns Upon Same Facts or Law at Issue in Underlying Dispute - Insurance Coverage Alert! -
September 09, 2008
Washington Supreme Court Holds 'Selective Tender' Rule Applies to Bar Equitable Contribution Claims Between Insurers, but 'Late Tender' Rule Applies to Permit Subrogation Claims by One Insurer Against Another - Insurance Coverage Alert! -
August 30, 2008
Summer 2008 - Insurance Coverage Observer -
July 11, 2008
Washington Appellate Court Concludes SIR is Not "Insurance" in Subrogation Context and Defense Costs Paid By the Insured Concurrently Satisfy SIRS in Successive Primary Policies - Insurance Coverage Alert! -
July 11, 2008
Washington State Court of Appeals Holds Reasonableness Hearing in Contract Action Not Subject to Same Factors as Reasonableness Hearing in Tort Action - Insurance Coverage Alert! -
June 23, 2008
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Idaho Tort Claim Act Endorsement Does Not Reduce Original Policy Limits - Insurance Coverage Alert! - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found an insurer’s Idaho Tort Claim Act Endorsement
ambiguous, to the extent it attempted to incorporate a reduced liability limit found in the state’s Act. In Ferguson v. Coregis Ins. Co., --- P.3d ----, 2008 WL2246535 (June 3, 2008), plaintiff John Ferguson filed an action on behalf of his son seeking a declaratory judgment as to the general liability limit of an insurance policy (“the Policy”) sold to the
April 25, 2008
Washington Court of Appeals Upholds Insolvency Provisions in Excess Policy - Insurance Coverage Alert! - In Polygon Northwest Co. v. American Nat. Fire Ins. Co., --- P.3d ----, 2008 WL 921390
(April 7, 2008), the Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, held that: (1) an excess
insurer’s indemnity obligation does not commence until the insured’s liability exceeds the
limits of all underlying insurance, including the limits of an insolvent primary insurer’s
policy; (2) attorney’s fees do not constitute “costs taxed against the insured,”
March 11, 2008
Washington Default Order Set Aside in Part Because Insurer Had Strong Defenses.... - Insurance Coverage Alert! - In Sacotte Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Company et al., 2008 WL 509169 (February 25, 2008) the Washington Court of Appeals held that an attorney's telephone call to opposing counsel, which was acknowledged in two contemporaneous e-mails, constituted substantial compliance with appearance
requirements such that the opposing party was required to provide actual notice of its
motion for default.
February 26, 2008
Insurance Coverage Observer - Winter 2008 - Fifth Circuit Upholds Flood Exclusion in Katrina
Decision….,… While Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds the Flood Exclusion Ambiguous, Application of Faulty Workmanship Exclusion Does not Require Showing of Proximate Cause, Louisiana's Value Policy Law Does not Apply When Total Loss Does not Result From a Covered Peril,Payment Under Law or Ordinance Coverage Required Showing of Actual Loss Incurred,Ensuing Loss Clause Do not Provide
January 30, 2008
Oregon Supreme Court Rules Tort Reform Cap As Applied to Public Employees is Unconstitutional - Insurance Coverage Alert! - The Oregon Supreme Court recently held that a plaintiff could pursue liability claims
against individual public employees of public entities. The Court further stated that
the damages cap in the Oregon Tort Claims Act (OTCA) violated the Remedy Clause
of the Oregon Constitution. Jordaan Michael Clarke v. Oregon Health Sciences
University, No. SC S053868, (Ore. Sup., December 28, 2007).
October 22, 2007
Washington Supreme Court Concludes That Insurer Acted In Bad Faith Via Subpoena And Ex Parte Communications To An Arbitrator - Insurance Coverage Alert - The Washington Supreme Court, sitting en banc, recently held that an insurance
company acted in bad faith by issuing a subpoena to and engaging in ex parte
communications with an arbitrator. The Court further stated that the insurer did not
rebut the resulting presumption of harm to the insured and that the insurer had not