Timothy R. Sullivan

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Timothy Sullivan - Insurance Litigation

Timothy R. Sullivan


Mr. Sullivan has been representing insureds in tort litigation and insurers in declaratory relief and bad faith litigation in state and federal courts since 1987. He is part of the firm’s Tort and Specialty Litigation Practice Group and Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Practice Group.

Timothy Sullivan - Insurance Litigation

Mr. Sullivan has tried over 30 jury trials as well as numerous bench trials involving insurance defense, insurance coverage, and bad faith cases. Based on that experience, he was selected to be a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and a Fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel (ACOCC).

Mr. Sullivan’s trial practice has taken him from the federal courts to county courts throughout the San Joaquin Valley. He has also handled appeals in the California Supreme Court, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Fresno, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Sullivan has often spoken at training seminars for both insurance professionals and lawyers on subjects pertaining to insurance and trial practice. He has also written chapters on property insurance, liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, title insurance, cyber insurance, and bad faith for seven treatises published by CEB, and was a co-author and Consulting Editor for CEB’s book on Property Insurance.

Mr. Sullivan is admitted to practice law in the state of California, U.S. District Courts, Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Juris Doctor, 1986
University of Missouri
Recipient, 1986 Best Brief Award, Nelson National Moot Court Competition

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1983 
University of Missouri (Honors College)

Mr. Sullivan represents insureds in tort litigation and insurers in declaratory relief and bad faith litigation. Mr. Sullivan is part of the firm’s Tort and Specialty Litigation Practice Group and the Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation Practice Group.

Mr. Sullivan served on the California State Bar’s Litigation Section Executive Committee (2016-2019), and continues to act as an advisor and member of the subcommittee that recommends changes to civil jury instructions. He has previously served as a member of the California State Bar CEB Real Property Advisory Committee (2012-2014), Insurance Law Editor for CEB’s Real Property Law Reporter, and on the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Real Property Law Section (Advisor 2011, Vice-Chair 2010, Member 2007-2009).  Mr. Sullivan has also served as President of the Fresno County Bar Association (2011), as its President-Elect (2010), First Vice President (2009), and Secretary (2008-2009), and on its Board of Directors (2005-2012).  He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); American College of Coverage Counsel (ACOCC); the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance; the American Bar Association; the State Bar of California; and the Fresno County Bar Association.

Guest Speaker

“The Basics of Personal Injury: Causes of Action and Filing a Complaint or Answer,” CEB webinar, June 30, 2021

“Construction Builder’s Risk and CGL Insurance,” webinar, Stafford Publication, January 29, 2019.

“Construction Insurance: Protecting Your Client and Avoiding Traps,” webinar, California Continuing Education of the Bar, October 24, 2018.

“Cyber Coverage for BI, PD and Crime,” seminar, American Conference Institute, Cyber Forum 2018, April 10, 2018.

“What’s New in the World of Individual Benefit Claims,” seminar, American Conference Institute, 15th National ERISA Forum, 2017.

“Discovery in Bad Faith Cases,” seminar, American Conference Institute, Insurance Coverage & Extracontractual Disputes, 2016.

“Green Building and Rebuilding: ‘What Is It and Am I Covered For It?’” seminar, California State Bar Real Property Law Retreat, May 21, 2016.

Declining to Defend or Defending Under a Reservation of Rights: The Dynamics that Lead to Consent Judgments, Assignments, and Their Impact on an Insurer’s Exposure to Bad Faith Liability,” seminar, American Conference Institute’s Forum on Bad Faith Claims & Litigation, November 20, 2015.

Understanding Your Insurance,” seminar, Visalia Employer Advisory Council, November 3, 2015.

Second Wave Allocation Issues: SIRs, Deductibles, Exhaustion, and More,” seminar, American Conference Institute’s Forum on Insurance Allocation, June 25, 2015.

Changes and Questions Caused by SB 474 and the New ISO Form of Additional Insured Endorsements,” California State Bar Real Property Retreat, May 3, 2014.

Judicial Review of Claims Decisions and the Battle Over Discretion: How Are Individual States Treating Discretionary Clauses in ERISA Plans, and How to Strategically use the Discovery in Record to Win Your Case in the Face of a “De Novo” vs. “Arbitrary & Capricious” Standard of Review,” seminar, American Conference Institute’s Forum on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims, January 23, 2014.

Sex, Drugs and Coverage,” seminar, Claims Conference of Northern California, September 16-17, 2013.

Basics Conference: Personal Injury,” seminar, CEB, September 19-20, 2013.

Advanced Trial Techniques,” seminar, National Business Institute, June 12, 2012.

Interview Skills,” Career Services Workshop, San Joaquin College of Law, September 28, 2011.

Resume Writing,” Career Services Workshop, San Joaquin College of Law, September 21, 2011.

The Right To Settle in Professional Liability Policies,” webinar, ExecSense, June 14, 2011, http://www.execsense.com/details.asp?id=3822.

Discovery in the Bad Faith Insurance Case,” webinar, National Association of Legal Professionals, March 22, 2011.

Road to Success: Resume Writing & Job Interview Seminar,” San Joaquin College of Law, March 2011.

Considering a Career in Law & Government,” California State University Fresno, November 2010.

Title Insurance for Distressed Transactions,” State Bar Real Property Retreat, May 2010.

ABC’s and BOP’s: What Every Real Estate Lawyer Needs to Know About Property Insurance,” California State Bar Section Education Institute, January 2009.

Environmental Liability: Financing and Insurance Issues,” California State Bar Annual Meeting, September 2008.

Bad Faith Insurance Claims in California,” National Business Institute, June 2008. “Electronic Discovery,” IPE, February 2008.

Publications and Lectures

CEB Books:

California Mechanics Liens and Related Construction Remedies (Cal CEB 2012), Chapter 7, “Representing the Prime Contractor.”

Real Property Ownership and Taxation (Cal CEB 2017) Chapter 6, “Property Insurance Basics”

California Property Insurance: Law & Litigation, (Cal CEB 2011) Chapter 1, “Introduction to Property Insurance,” Chapter 3, “Insurable Interest,” and Chapter 17, “Emerging Issues”

California Real Estate Brokers: Law and Litigation, (Cal CEB 2009) Chapter 10, “Broker Errors and Omissions Liability Insurance”

California Construction Contracts, Defects and Litigation, (Cal CEB 2008) Chapter 12, “Construction Defects: Insurance and Express Indemnity”

California Real Property Sales Transactions, (4th Ed., Cal CEB 2007) Chapter 13, “Property Insurance,” and Chapter 14, “Liability Insurance: Selected Issues Pertinent to Sales.”

California Title Insurance Practice, (2d Ed., Cal CEB 1997) Chapter 11, “Theories and Defenses in Title Company Actions,” Chapter 12, “Claims Procedures Under Title Insurance Policies,” and Chapter 14, “Arbitration Procedures”

Office Leasing: Drafting and Negotiating the Lease, (Cal CEB 1996), Chapter 21, “Exculpation, Indemnification and Insurance”


“In Recent Rulings, Ninth Circuit Joins Other Circuits in Cases Over COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Coverage,” The Golden State Lawyer, October 25, 2021, https://research.ceb.com/posts/in-recent-rulings-ninth-circuit-joins-other-circuits-in-cases-over-covid-19

“The Curve of COVID Property Insurance Cases Has Not Flattened,” The Golden State Lawyer, May 3, 2021, https://research.ceb.com/posts/the-curve-of-covid-property-insurance-cases-has-not-flattened

There is No Vaccine For COVID Lawsuits,” Real Property Law Reporter, Vol. 44, No. 1, January 2021

“New AIA Documents Require The Parties to Ensure Their Insurance is Up To Date,” 41 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 5  (Sept. 2018).

“New AIA Documents Require the Parties to Rework Their Agreement,” 41 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 4 (July 2018).

New AIA Documents May Require Parties to Remodel Their Procedures,” 41 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 3 (May 2018).

‘Slip Slidin’ Away’ – But Am I Covered?” 39 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 56 (January 2016).

What’s FAIR in the Land of Wildfires?” 37 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 56 (May 2014).

Chubb Custom Ins. Co. v. Space Sys.: Did the Ninth Circuit Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before?” 36 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 56 (July 2013).

New Construction Litigation Interrogatories May Build a Case for (or Against) Insurance Coverage,” 36 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 56 (May 2013).

Indemnity Imperiled: SB 474’s Impact on Insurance for Construction Defect Claims,” 36 CEB Real Prop. L. Rep. 12 (January 2013).

Landlord Liability Insurance: Why an Old Lease May Need to Learn New Tricks,” California Real Property Law Journal, Spring 2008, Vol. 26, No. 2.

‘CLRA’ Can Be a Four-Letter Word for California Businesses,” ABTL Report, San Joaquin Valley Chapter, Fall 2008.

The New Federal Electronic Discovery Rules,” Fresno County Bar Bulletin MCLE article, December 2007.

How Can You Protect Your Computer Data?,” Fresno County Bar Bulletin MCLE article, May 2007.

Honors and Awards

Mr. Sullivan is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating is based on reviews by judges, attorneys and clients and means the attorney is deemed to have a very high standard of ethics and the very highest level of professional ability.

Mr. Sullivan was also elected by the National Board of Directors to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an exclusive and prestigious organization of judges and civil trial attorneys. Membership is by invitation only, and is deemed to evidence high personal character, honorable reputation, and proficiency as a trial lawyer. To be considered for ABOTA membership, an invited applicant must possess a wealth of trial experience that few attorneys achieve, and be approved by votes of the local Chapter and National Board.

In addition, Mr. Sullivan was elected as a Fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel (ACOCC), a peer-reviewed group of the preeminent insurance lawyers in the United States and Canada.

Mr. Sullivan has also been selected for inclusion in the Northern California Super Lawyers list (2008-2023) in the area of Insurance Coverage.

For his work on CEB books for over 20 years, CEB presented Mr. Sullivan with the Outstanding Service Award at the 2011 State Bar Annual Meeting. In presenting the award, CEB stated that Mr. Sullivan’s “generous service to the legal community, as well as his ongoing exemplary contributions to CEB publications, has demonstrated a commitment to continuing legal education and has elevated the practice of law in California.” Mr. Sullivan shares the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Publication as co-author of the CEB book, California Real Estate Brokers: Law & Litigation. The award was presented by the Association for Continuing Legal Education, an international association of legal publishers and educators. Mr. Sullivan’s book was chosen for the award from more than 300 entries from several countries.

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