Elisabeth D'Agostino is a Partner in Selman Breitman’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm’s Insurance and Construction practice groups. She represents insurers in a variety of pre-litigation and litigation coverage disputes, including those arising out of sexual abuse, construction defect, personal injury, premises liability, and intellectual property. In recent years, Elisabeth has represented clients in coverage matters involving mass tort litigations concerning sexual abuse, athletics, and brain injuries. Her clients include insurance professionals, as well as their corporate counsel. She has experience in helping insurers analyze claims for coverage, pursuant to the policy's specific language and endorsements, in disputes that involve emerging areas of law, such as those concerning additional insureds, self-insured retentions, indemnity agreements, contribution, and subrogation.
Elisabeth’s considerable experience in insurance enables her to not only evaluate and explain complex coverage issues, but also provide real-world advice. She works closely with clients, listens to their needs and concerns, and provides them with guidance based not only on the available case law, but also emerging trends and her practical experiences both inside and outside the courtroom. This approach ensures that the advice and recommendations provided are uniquely suited to serve her clients’ interests.
Elisabeth has been responsible for published opinions before the Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal, including the important case Jarrow Formulas, Inc. v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 509 F. App'x 591 (9th Cir. 2013), holding that claims of passing-off did not constitute implied disparagement. She has also been recognized as a Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Originally from Torrance, California, Elisabeth presently resides in San Pedro with her husband and son. When not helping clients with their legal needs, she enjoys spending time with her family.
- Represents insurance companies in complex coverage matters involving well-known insureds and mass-tort claims spanning upwards of three decades.
- Represented an insurance company against claims of breach of contract and bad faith arising out of the cancellation of an insurance policy by the insured's premium finance lender.
- Represented an insurance company in an action filed by an insured seeking reformation of an insurance policy so as to provide coverage for the business personal property of an entity that was not an insured under the policy at the time of the loss.
- Represented insurance company against insured’s claim that an answer could trigger a carrier’s duty to defend, where the insured sought millions in damages. We successfully defeated the insured’s contentions, resulting in the Court’s decision that there was no duty to defend a boilerplate affirmative defense for offset. Jeff Tracy, Inc. v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., No. SACV141532DOCAJWX, 2015 WL 12765541, at *12 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 7, 2015).
- Represented insurance company that provided coverage to a landscaping subcontractor, and that was the only additional insured carrier providing the construction project's developer with a defense. On behalf of the insurance company, we sought reimbursement from the developer for all uncovered claims and contribution from other, non-participating additional insured carriers for the developer.
- Represented insurance company and its panel counsel against various causes of action, including breach of contract and bad faith, arising out of the alleged professional negligence of panel counsel.
- Jarrow Formulas, Inc. v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 509 F. App'x 591 (9th Cir. 2013):
The firm prevailed on behalf of its client, Steadfast Insurance Company, in defeating an insured's claims of breach of contract and bad faith. In this case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a lower court's finding that Steadfast had no duty to defend an insured against claims that it was passing off its product as that of a competitor's. The firm asserted that there was no express or implied disparagement alleged against the insured, such that there was no potential for coverage. The opposing appellant-insured argued that its alleged reference to a study conducted by a competitor created the potential for implied disparagement, and therefore coverage.
The Ninth Circuit rejected appellants' strained arguments, finding that the allegations asserted against the insured did not constitute implied disparagement. In its holding, the Ninth Circuit explained that allegations that the insured "passed off" its product to consumers do not involve false or misleading statements regarding the competitor's product. Moreover, the advertisement neither mentioned the competitor or its product, nor suggest any superiority on the part of the insured's product. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit found that coverage was appropriately denied.
In her leadership roles with Southwestern's Latino Law Students Association, Elisabeth coordinated the organization’s annual Hoover Toy Drive for underprivileged elementary school students in Los Angeles, for which she was recognized and received a scholarship from the Mexican American Bar Foundation. She currently volunteers at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Service's Harbor Animal Shelter.
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Defense Research Institute (DRI), Member
- DRI Insurance Law Committee
- Super Lawyers Southern California Rising Stars, 2014-2020
- Top 100 Up-and-Coming, 2017-2018
- Top 50 Women Up-and-Coming, 2015-2020