James R. Steel
OverviewJames Steel serves as coverage and monitoring counsel for domestic and international insurers in connection with business, professional and specialty risks. James also litigates insurance and commercial disputes before state, federal and appellate courts.
James has broad experience involving cyber, technology, media, financial institutions, and management liabilities. He regularly counsels clients on emerging legal issues related to insurance, securities law, cybersecurity, data privacy, fintech, insurtech, and blockchain technologies. James also assists in the resolution of many high-exposure, multi-party disputes involving securities and derivative litigation, regulatory enforcement actions, privacy litigation, consumer class actions, and related insurance coverages.
- New York Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2016-2018
- American Bar Association, Member.
- New York State Bar Association, Member.
- New York City Bar Association, Member.
- Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS), Member.
Cases of Interest
- Represents insurers in connection with two of the largest consumer data breaches in history.
- Obtained summary judgment for insurer based on claims for losses arising from violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act under a policy affording directors and officers (D&O) and errors and omissions (E&O) coverage.
- Serves as coverage and monitoring counsel in connection with claims against social media companies, and other companies engaged in electronic marketing efforts, arising from allegations concerning breaches of applicable privacy regulations.
- Represents insurers in connection with losses stemming from high-profile FCPA investigation involving multi-national telecommunications company.
- Resolved coverage dispute concerning allegations of intellectual property theft in connection with technology errors and omissions coverage for major telecommunications company.
- Resolved lawsuit arising from an allegedly defamatory email communication. Efforts included a successful motion to quash a federal subpoena directed at an internet service provider based on the Stored Communications Act.
- Extensive monitoring of subprime crisis exposures and analysis of applicable coverages in connection with several major financial institutions’ liabilities arising from various securities, consumer, derivative and regulatory actions.
- Represents insurers in connection with coverage disputes arising from private equity and hedge fund liability insurance programs.
- Successfully moved for dismissal of antitrust suit brought against travel agency with international operations.
- Successfully resolved forum dispute in connection with lawsuits arising from competing claims to ownership of closely-held Indian corporation. Litigation included extensive coordination of efforts by counsel in New York and India and successive appeals to New York’s Appellate Division.
- Litigated to New York’s Appellate Division insurance coverage dispute involving securities and derivative claims and issues of management independence.
- Successfully resolved suit involving management conflicts and sale of all assets of New York Limited Liability Company engaged in pharmaceutical marketing.
- Represented insurer in connection with coverage dispute involving binder error and effect of error on inclusion in policy of critical endorsement.
- Successfully resolved suit involving default on loan commitments collateralized by intellectual property holdings.
- Audited a major liability insurer’s in-house claims handling in connection with its management and employment practices liability lines.
11/19/2015Skarzynski Black successfully defeated an antitrust suit asserted against its client, a travel agency. The plaintiff in the suit, also a travel agency, alleged that Skarzynski Black’s client interfered with the plaintiff’s relationship as a franchisee of American Express Travel and entered an improper agreement to control the market for discounted first and business class airline tickets.
12/18/2014After a long battle, Skarzynski Black achieved a major victory for its client, an individual shareholder of a privately held company in India. The suit was filed in New York state court against Skarzynski Black’s client seeking enforcement of an alleged 20-year-old agreement for the sale of stock in the Indian company.
- Privacy Developments: Private Litigation, Enforcement Actions, and Settlements, The Business Lawyer (Winter 2017-2018), Co-Author.
- CLE Presentation: Cyber Risk Insurance: Exposures and Claim Trends (2017), Co-Presenter.
- Privacy Developments: Private Litigation, Enforcement Actions, Legislation, and Administrative Actions, The Business Lawyer (Winter 2016-2017), Co-Author.
- D&O Liability Claims Issues in 2011, Risk Management Magazine, Dec. 2011, Co-Author.
January 17, 2018John Black and James Steel co-authored a review of developments over the past year in privacy law, with a particular focus on civil litigation, enforcement actions, and settlements.
Privacy Developments: Private Litigation, Enforcement Actions, Legislation, and Administrative ActionsFebruary 2, 2017John Black and James Steel co-authored a review of developments over the past year in privacy law, with a particular focus on civil litigation, enforcement actions, legislation, and administrative actions. The article was published as part of the ABA’s Cyberspace Law Committee’s annual survey of Cyberspace Law for The Business Lawyer.