April H. Gassler
The seasoned professionals in the insurance and real estate industries who work with April invariably describe her as: responsive, reliable, and savvy.
April believes that there is no problem that cannot be solved (or dramatically improved) with the right amounts of creativity and perseverance. Clients value her ability to quickly synthesize a complex set of facts, analyze highly nuanced issues, and work collaboratively to develop a resolution strategy. As an avid crossword puzzler, April appreciates that while there may be many viable solutions to a problem, keeping an eye on the big picture often helps to identify the best solution under the circumstances.
April’s insurance-focused practice includes counseling leading insurers on complex coverage issues arising from commercial general liability and professional liability policies, litigating insurance coverage disputes in state and federal courts nationwide, pursuing and defending “bad faith” claims, and assisting commercial real estate developers in the Washington, D.C. area with a variety of insurance and litigation issues. In addition, April is a trained mediator with a growing Alternative Dispute Resolution practice.
Outside of her law practice and puzzling, April enjoys spending time volunteering with the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. (of which she is a Past President) and Carolina Loving Hound Rescue. She is also a prize-winning amateur baker, LSU Tigers fanatic, and the enabler/financier of the shenanigans of three rescued hounds.
Insurance Industry Clients
- As lead counsel to a malpractice carrier, April obtained a declaratory judgment that there was no potential coverage for a claim against the insured firm and one of its former attorneys arising out of the attorney’s business pursuits outside of the firm. See Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc. v. Wachtel Missry LLP, Case No. 21-civ-3624, 2022 WL 4109771 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 8, 2022), 2022 WL 17884155 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2022).
- April was an integral part of the STG team that successfully defended a breach of contract claim against a malpractice insurer in connection with a claim against the insured firm arising out of a former firm attorney’s alleged misappropriation of a client’s funds. The underlying claim alleged that the attorney had organized his own business entity with a name similar to that of his client and transferred the client’s funds to the bank account of the business entity he controlled. See Fowler, O’Quinn, Feeney & Sneed, P.A. v. CorePointe Insurance Co., Case No. 6:21-cv-934, 2022 WL 2165338 (M.D. Fla. May 16, 2022).
- As lead counsel for D&O insurers, April has negotiated favorable settlements in several matters involving claims arising out of the name insureds’ bankruptcies, including claims implicating multiple insurance towers due to potentially related claims spanning multiple policy periods, pre-petition mergers, and/or a prior bankruptcy case of the named insured.
- As lead counsel for a D&O insurer, April negotiated a favorable settlement with an insured mortgage servicing company that was facing multiple lawsuits, including class actions and a state attorney general action, alleging fraud and misconduct in its foreclosure-related operations.
- April has assisted D&O and EPL insurers with a variety of challenging claims, including those involving COVID-related misrepresentations to shareholders, de-SPAC transactions, cryptocurrency, fraudulent drug rehabilitation operations, fraudulent billing to health insurers for medical testing ordered without any patient interaction, long-term sexual harassment/abuse of high-level employee, and wrongful discharge due to employee’s adherence to the insured’s COVID-related protocols.
Real Estate Industry Clients
- April has worked with commercial real estate developers to prepare successful claim submissions under environmental insurance liability policies.
- April has assisted the firm’s real estate clients in successfully pursuing title insurance claims arising from previously unknown encroachments discovered during construction that required design modifications and/or created the potential for construction delays that could materially alter financial aspects of the development projects.
- April assisted a large commercial real estate developer in the creation of its portfolio environmental liability coverage program. This included helping to educate key decision-makers about the pros and cons of this type of coverage, assisting with the client’s submissions to insurance brokers and the market, reviewing quotes and proposals obtained from various insurers, and working with closely with the client’s broker and its legal and risk management personnel to craft customized policy language and endorsements suitable for the client’s portfolio.
Additional Reported Decisions
- St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co. v. Am. Bank Holdings, Inc., 819 F.3d 728 (4th Cir 2016) (April served as the insurer’s counsel in the district court proceedings where she obtained summary judgment in favor of D&O insurer, which was affirmed on appeal, on the basis of late notice in a case involving a multi-year, claims-made policy where notice was tendered before the policy period expired. April did not participate in the appellate proceedings.)
- Associated Cmty. Bancorp, Inc. v. Travelers Cos., 421 Fed. App’x 125 (2d Cir. 2011) (April joined the team on the appeal in which the Second Circuit affirmed dismissal of an insured bank’s suit seeking insurance coverage for claims made against the bank by its custodial accountholders who lost funds in the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Coverage was precluded by operation of a policy exclusion for claims arising out of the insolvency of an investment firm.)
- Associated Cmty. Bancorp, Inc. v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co., 2013 N.Y. Slip. Op. 30182 (Sup. Ct.), aff’d, 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4627 (June 24, 2014) (rejecting the same insured bank’s assertion that an amended complaint by custodial accountholders provided new bases for coverage and granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss, holding that several policy exclusions precluded coverage, including the insolvency, fee dispute and sale of securities exclusions).
- Sheinbaum v. American Casualty Company of Reading, Pa., Case No. 09-CV-273, 2010 WL 3909209 (D.D.C. Oct. 1, 2010) (granting summary judgment in favor of a professional liability insurer, holding that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify a foreign-trained nurse under a policy for registered nurses in response to claim arising out of her provision of home health services when she did not hold a valid nursing license).
- Warren Hospital v. American Casualty Company of Reading, Pa., 398 F. App’x 800 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming summary judgment ruling that, by operation of other insurance clause in a nurse’s professional liability policy, the nurse’s personal coverage applied only in excess of the self-insured retention payable under her employer’s insurance program).
- Alvarez v. Insurance Company of North America, Case No. 06-CV-4326, 2006 WL 3702641 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2006), aff’d, 313 F. App’x 465 (3d Cir. 2008) (dismissing putative class action asserting claims for fraud and violation of the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act in connection with sales of long-term care insurance).