Brian Bassett’s approach is defined by a combination of deep and diverse insurance coverage insights, assertive advocacy, and detailed analysis that never loses sight of the big picture.
Brian understands that insurance disputes do not happen in a vacuum; that effective representation requires consideration of business concerns that transcend the four corners of a specific issue or case. Whether through assertive courtroom advocacy or meticulous coverage analysis, Brian provides his clients with counsel they can rely on in their most consequential matters.
Committed to keeping his clients thoroughly informed so they can make thoughtful strategic choices, Brian represents insurance companies in complex claim disputes, declaratory judgment actions, and appeals. He has extensive experience managing third-party and first-party coverage disputes, including those involving primary and excess liability policies and obligations under commercial property and inland marine policies.
Excess insurers benefit from Brian’s creative and thorough analysis of their rights and obligations in multimillion-dollar third party claims. He supplies the same comprehensive evaluation and guidance as well as policy drafting services for all types of professional liability, D&O, commercial general liability, and cyber-risk policies.
Clients with cyber-risk and data security issues rely on Brian’s extensive experience with these technologically and legally nuanced matters. He provides proactive counsel to guide entities in the investigation and response to data breach and privacy incidents, and represents insurance companies in complex claim disputes and declaratory judgment actions involving the interpretation of standalone cyber-risk policies and endorsements affording data breach coverage.
Brian also serves as defense counsel to professionals, and has experience defending invasion of privacy claims, as well as suits relating to restrictive covenants in employment contracts.
The diverse range and depth of Brian’s experience and the quality of his representation has earned Brian the trust of his clients and the respect of his peers. He was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2013 through 2020, a designation given to only 2.5% of attorneys in Illinois each year, and has been selected to Super Lawyers from 2021-2023. A graduate of the University of Dayton, Brian earned his law degree from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (formerly John Marshall Law School), where he served as lead articles editor for the John Marshall Law Review.
A frequent speaker and author of numerous publications on complex insurance coverage and cyber-risk issues, Brian is actively involved in the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, which helps communities by combining the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service, and leadership. He enjoys spending his time away from the office at home with his wife and three daughters.
AREAS OF FOCUS
Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith
Brian has provided guidance to clients facing challenging coverage disputes for his entire legal career. He acts as a trusted counselor on the coverage laws of almost every jurisdiction nationwide, litigated complex coverage disputes in 15 different states, and successfully argued in state and federal courts of appeals in numerous jurisdictions. His dealings with policyholders in every geographic region provide Brian with the background to provide clients with timely and accurate advice when they are in need of zealous advocacy. Brian’s experience touches almost every type of primary and excess commercial lines policy, including CGL, E&O/Professional Liability, Cyber, D&O, and EPL.
Cyber Risk, Tech and Data Security
Brian has been handling cyber coverage disputes for over five years. He provides clients with a wide range of services, from policy form drafting to complex coverage litigation involving multi-million claims. Brian’s clients count on him to provide guidance on cyber coverage issues nationwide.
Brian also serves as breach counsel to policyholders impacted by breach and privacy incidents. He provides prompt recommendations to ensure that his clients take the proper steps and secure experts to safeguard their interests while minimizing potential liability. He works closely with clients to satisfy notification obligations with federal and state laws. The firm’s cyber team also interfaces with state and federal regulators to respond to inquiries concerning privacy incidents.
- University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (formerly The John Marshall Law School), J.D.
- John Marshall Law Review, Lead Articles Editor
- 2005 Scribes Award for best comment in the 2005 John Marshall Law Review
- University of Dayton, B.A.
- U.S. District Court, Colorado
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
- Co-Chair, Insurance Coverage Committee Publications Sub-Committee
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Vice Chair, Professional Liability Insurance Substantive Law Group
- Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation – Midwest Division
- Grants Committee
- Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS)
- Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
- Chicago Bar Association
Arrington v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London, 2019 IL App (1st) 182345-U
Won affirmation of summary judgment in favor of an insurance carrier in a case brought before the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, finding that a police officer injured during a traffic stop was not “using” his police cruiser for liability coverage purposes, nor was he “occupying” the vehicle for uninsured motorist coverage.
JLG Industries, Inc. v. Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Company, 2019 IL App (2d) 190341-U
Obtained reversal of trial court decision in favor of an insurance carrier in a case brought before the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District.
Seagrave Fire Apparatus, LLC v. CNA et al, 2018 WL 1465154 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2018)
Maxum Indemnity Company v. Towne Pub, 2018 WL 9878319 (C.D. Ill. 2018)
Sarkozy v. Hub International Midwest Limited, 2016 WL 4543493 (Mich. App. Ct. 2016)
Won affirmation of summary judgment in favor of an insurance carrier in a case brought before the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, finding that the insurance carrier did not breach its duty to defend or commit a breach of contract related to indemnification.
- Co-Author, Relationships Matter: An Update on Related-Claims Issues Under D&O Policies (CLM Magazine, March 2023)
- Co-Author, Coverage Defenses for Disgorgement and Restitution Are Alive and Well, But Challenges Persist (DRI The Brief Case, May 2022)
- Co-Author, “Preserving Privilege” (CLM Magazine, March 2021)
- Co-Author, “Where Do We Draw the Line? Liability Coverage for Economic Losses” (In-House Defense Quarterly., Spring 2019)
- Co-Author, “Is Any Body Safe?” (CLM Magazine, March 2019)
- Ill. Courts Should Not Conflate Insurers And Defense Counsel (Law360, October 30, 2018)
- If You Don’t Reach Conclusion, Forget The Exclusion (CLM Magazine, December 2017)
- Dueling Loyalties: The Right to Independent Counsel (ABA Section of Litigation, August 2016)
- Gaps in Security: The Increasing Need for Cyber Coverage (CLM Magazine, Winter 2015)
- When Is Your Work Really “Your Work?” Construction Defect Claims In The GC Context (ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Newsletter, Fall 2013)
- Co-Author, Sandy: The Second Wave. Business Interruption Claims Approach Landfall (IACP-Declarations, Fall 2013)
- Avoiding Broken Promises: Recent ISO Revisions to Additional Insured Endorsements, Litigation Management (Fall 2013)
- How to Keep the Lights On: An Exploration of the Abrogation of Wholesale Energy Contracts, 38 John Marshall L. Rev. 303 (Fall 2004)