Rhonda J. Tobin

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Rhonda Tobin is co-chair of the firm's Litigation Section and a member of its Managing Committee. She concentrates her practice in the areas of insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith and extracontractual liability, directors and officers liability, professional liability, and complex commercial litigation.

    Ms. Tobin's insurance coverage practice includes the arbitration and litigation of a broad range of coverage issues under commercial, professional, directors and officers, and miscellaneous errors and omissions policies, including claims for insurance bad faith or extracontractual liability. Her insurance coverage practice also includes substantial experience in property claims-related litigation, including high-profile insurance coverage litigation arising out of the September 11 catastrophe.

    Ms. Tobin's reinsurance experience includes the arbitration and litigation of reinsurance disputes related to property and casualty and workers' compensation reinsurance.

    Her professional liability defense work includes defending claims against lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and brokers, financial planners, and other professionals. Ms. Tobin's complex commercial litigation practice includes contract disputes, business torts, and unfair and deceptive trade practice claims. She also has experience defending class actions, including a large class action in Connecticut and a national class action brought in Rhode Island.

    Ms. Tobin has been included on the Connecticut Super Lawyers® list in the areas of Insurance Coverage, Business Litigation, and Professional Liability Defense since 2008 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.). She is a Fellow in the highly selective American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel. 

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Litigated D&O insurer’s grounds to challenge court order requiring review and production of thousands of "other insured" claims files, at a cost certain to exceed $1 million, in declaratory judgment coverage dispute that included claims of bad faith settlement practices. Represented D&O insurer for third-party defendant in action brought to recover for services allegedly rendered in connection with a failed corporate acquisition. The third-party complaint sought to hold individual insured under D&O policy liable for alleged breaches of fiduciary obligations owed to board of directors of named insured. The coverage disputes included the application of the insured v. insured exclusion in the D&O policy, apportionment disputes between the individual insured and a noninsured entity represented by joint defense counsel, and the assertion of extracontractual claims under the applicable insurance claims-handling statute.
      • Represented insurers and reinsurers in efforts to obtain protective orders precluding discovery of communications with reinsurers and reinsurers' claim files.
      • Prevailed in reinsurance arbitration against program reinsurer over monies owed under multiple years’ contracts reinsuring commercial liability, property, and liquor liability losses. Arbitration included actuarial assessments of future losses and expert opinions regarding claim handling. Also obtained favorable rulings regarding prehearing security and attorneys' fees.
      • Representation of insurance agent in lawsuit brought by clients related to misrepresentations in application that voided coverage and duty to verify accuracy of information in application.
      • Representation of financial planner in lawsuit brought by investor client for inappropriate sale of annuities and life insurance products.
      • Representation of banking lawyer in suit by FDIC over failure of community bank and litigated issues related to scope of attorney’s duty regarding due diligence about borrower.
      • Representation of TPA in errors and omissions claims by client who provided notice of fatality occurrence and subsequent wrongful death action to TPA but not to insurer, resulting in insurer denying coverage based on late notice.
      • Representation of insurance agency in defense of errors and omissions claim that agent confirmed the existence of coverage by issuing Certificate of Insurance to contractor when coverage had been terminated.
      • Represented Lawyers Professional Liability insurer in coverage disputes regarding whether allegations against law firm involved billing practices of firm or the rendering of professional services.

      • Representation of D&O insurer in coverage litigation concerning six underlying actions alleging death spiral financing and fraud and concerning the applicability of late notice/prejudice issues, prior and pending litigation and prior knowledge exclusions, interrelated wrongful acts interpretation, and disputes regarding allocation of defense expenses among covered and uncovered parties and claims. Obtained summary judgment on late notice.
      • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of defendant in nationwide class action challenging defendant’s business practices concerning its administration of one of its annuity products. The plaintiff class consisted of members from 51 jurisdictions.
      • Represented a commercial property insurer in several multimillion-dollar cases involving business interruption and property damage losses due to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Successfully briefed motion for summary judgment on the "period of restoration" and consequential damages (2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5389).
      • Representation of insurer in action brought by homeowners that arose from a fire at their residence. Following denial of future insurance proceeds to the plaintiffs because of the concealment and fraud provision of the subject policy, the insureds brought a cause of action for breach of contract, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, unfair trade practices, and bad faith. The firm was retained a few months before the start of jury selection and was tasked with completing all expert discovery and preparing the case for trial. After five days of jury selection and five days of evidence, a favorable settlement was reached for the client.
      • Won multimillion-dollar summary judgment on behalf of insurer seeking payment involving a large risk alternative rating and insurance program agreement entered into with a national retail chain. Also recovered attorneys’ fees and costs for the costs of the litigation.
      • Successfully defended Connecticut state marshal in case of first impression regarding whether a civil capias grants authority to enter a home without consent or exigent circumstances. No court in the country had conclusively resolved whether a civil capias is equivalent to a Fourth Amendment arrest warrant. After extensive briefing on the history and origins of the capias warrant, the District of Connecticut granted summary judgment in favor of the state marshal on the basis of the qualified immunity doctrine. Milner v. Duncklee, 460 F. Supp. 2d 360 (D. Conn. 2006).
      • Successfully defended life insurance company in jury trial in federal court in Massachusetts concerning denial of life insurance benefits under cancelled insurance policy.
      • Successfully represented insurance company in parallel reinsurance disputes with its Bermuda reinsurer, obtaining almost $1 million of collateral required under several programs of insurance.
      • Obtained a significant jury verdict for an insurance company client following a nine-day trial in Connecticut federal court. The case arose out of a series of property insurance claims made in 2011, after a significant water loss was followed by a total fire loss at the plaintiff's home. We defended the case based on the insurance policy's concealment or fraud provision and also asserted counterclaims for breach of contract and fraud. The plaintiff sought approximately $2 million while our client counterclaimed for the money it paid the plaintiff prior to discovering the fraud. The jury found against the plaintiff on the breach of contract claim and found for our client on its counterclaims for fraud and misrepresentation. Our client was awarded $330,000 in damages.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association
      Section of Litigation, Professional Liability Section newsletter Professional Liability Update, New England Editor (1998 - 1999)
      Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Vice Chair of Professionals' Officers' and Directors' Liability Committee (2001 - 2010)

      Professional Liability Underwriting Society
      Hartford Chapter Steering Committee

      AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society, ARIAS US

      Defense Research Institute
      Insurance Law Committee, Professional Liability Committee, Regional Editor of Covered Events for Insurance Law Committee newsletter (1992 - 1996)

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Insurance Law Section
      Litigation Section

      Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association

      United States Law Firm Group
      Chair of Litigation Committee (2007 - 2016)

      Connecticut Bar Foundation
      James W. Cooper Fellow

      Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services Cluster

      American Bar Foundation
      Fellow

      University of Connecticut School of Law
      Adjunct Professor (2007 - 2009)

      Defense Research Institute
      Regional Editor of Covered Events for Insurance Law Committee newsletter (1992 - 1996)

      American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel
      Fellow
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed as one of the Top 250 Women Litigators in the United States by Benchmark Litigation since 2014.

      Listed as a Local Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation since 2015

      Connecticut Law Tribune, 2010, recognized in Women in the Law: High Achievers yearbook

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the areas of Insurance Coverage, Business Litigation, and Professional Liability Defense for 2007 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Hartford Stage Company
      Board of Directors (2017)
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Connecticut Attorney Liability Rulings Bring Cheers, Jeers," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (2003)

      New England editor, Professional Liability Update, a publication of the American Bar Association's Litigation Section Professional Liability Committee (1998)

      "Surviving the '90s: Ethical Concerns in Today's Legal Market," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (1996)

      Regional editor, Covered Events, a publication of the Defense Research Institute's Insurance Law Committee (1992 to 1996)

      "Preservation and Spoliation of Evidence," published in A Practical Guide to Discovery & Depositions in Connecticut, co-authored with Jeffrey J. White; chapter covers the preservation and spoliation of evidence in the civil context in Connecticut state court; it is part of a new publication that is the most comprehensive coverage to date of discovery and deposition issues in Connecticut and was authored by leading practitioners at the largest firms in the state. The first edition was published in 2011, the second edition in 2013. (2011 & 2013)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Underwriting Issues in Insurance Claims," co-presented with Eugene P. Murphy, at AIG Claims, Inc., in New York City (2/16/2017)
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      "D&O Insurance by the Number$," at Connecticut Bar Association's Insurance Law Section (2011)

      "ABCs of D&O Insurance," at Connecticut Bar Association's Insurance Law Section (2003)

      "Third Party Coverage in Connecticut," at National Business Institute, responsible for directors' and officers' liability insurance portion (1996)

      "Effective Motion Practice in Connecticut," at Lorman Education Service (1995, 1996, 1997)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • February 21, 2017

        Rhonda Tobin and Eugene Murphy Speak on Underwriting Issues in Insurance Claims

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      • July 31, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Co-author Chapter on Preservation and Spoliation of Evidence for Leading Publication on Discovery Issues

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      • January 24, 2012

        Partner Rhonda Tobin Quoted on Robinson & Cole’s Commitment to Advancing Women

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      • February 16, 2011

        Rhonda Tobin Discusses Directors and Officers Insurance at CBA Program

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      • February 10, 2011

        Attorneys Coauthor Chapter on Preservation and Spoliation of Evidence for Leading Publication on Discovery Issues

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      • September 10, 2010

        Women in the Law and in the News

      R+C News Releases

      • October 17, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • September 29, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

      • August 2, 2017

        Rhonda Tobin Among Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation

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      • June 14, 2017

        Rhonda Tobin Elected to Hartford Stage Board of Directors

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      • May 11, 2017

        Rhonda Tobin Elected Fellow of National Insurance Coverage Organization

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      • November 3, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Recognized in Benchmark Litigation 2016

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      • October 30, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

      • August 6, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Included in Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation

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