Joy Langford

Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Washington DC
United States
T:+1 202 974 5647
Washington DC
United States
T:+1 202 974 5647
Joy Langford

Joy Langford

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Biography

Ms. Langford's practice principally consists of representing insurers and reinsurers in dispute resolution including coverage litigation, and reinsurance arbitrations. She is known for her knowledge of the insurance and reinsurance industries and her appreciation for her client's business considerations when formulating strategy in arbitration and litigation. Ms. Langford has handled dozens of arbitrations and litigations involving all lines of business in the property/casualty, life/health, marine and reinsurance sectors. She has handled matters relating to misrepresentation, fraud, bad faith and non-disclosure allegations, environmental and asbestos liabilities, surety bonds, finite reinsurance, weather derivatives, declaratory judgment expenses, and complex allocation issues. Ms. Langford's arbitration experience includes both private domestic and international arbitrations.

Ms. Langford's insurance and reinsurance practice also includes providing strategic counseling to clients in the insurance and reinsurance industry on a wide range of subjects. In this role, Ms. Langford routinely provides advice regarding allocation of losses arising out of continuous injury torts, captive company issues, reinsurance accounting and auditing, and the application of catastrophe and clash covers to losses arising out of corporate governance scandals, such as Worldcom, Enron, and the initial public offering (IPO) laddering schemes, as well as to losses arising out of disasters such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. She counsels companies on contract drafting issues and commutations. 

Ms. Langford has also handled various commercial litigation disputes involving insurance companies as well as other financial institutions and companies. She has jury trial and bench trial experience in numerous state and federal trial courts and has represented clients before various state and federal appellate courts.

Additionally, Ms. Langford has experience advising companies on a wide range of matters relating to corporate governance and internal investigations brought by various government entities, has advised companies on compliance with various federal and state laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices, anti-money laundry statutes, the Anti-Terrorism Act, and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, has advised companies on their professional liability insurance programs and monitors regulatory and legislative developments and assists companies with various insurance aspects of climate change, cyber risks and privacy concerns.

Ms. Langford has handled numerous matters on a pro bono basis, including cases involving death penalty state court appeals and habeas corpus petitions, lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act, and lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of certain hate-crime statutes. She has represented the Anti-Defamation League in connection several amicus briefs before federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court, and has coordinated efforts on behalf of death row inmates in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative and Southern Poverty Law Center.


Professional experience

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JD, cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1994
BA, highest honors and special distinction, Mississippi College, 1991

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Virginia State Bar

Ms. Langford has represented a diverse body of clients in engagements that include:

Insurance coverage disputes and claims-related litigation:

  • Advising U.S. insurer on coverage issues involving the Grenfell Tower disaster in London this year London this year.
  • Acted as coverage counsel for insurer defending against claims of coverage under a professional liability policy arising from underlying claims of legal malpractice related to advice provided regarding tax shelters.
  • Represented an insurance company against its own fidelity bond carrier. An agent of our client issued policies in the name of our client which it was not authorized to issue and did not remit the premiums to our client. The agent then fled the jurisdiction and went to Thailand. Our client settled the claims with the purchaser of the alleged policies. We then represented the insurance company in action against the fidelity carrier.
  • Represented an insurance company in a lawsuit brought in federal court in the Southern District of New York by the alleged insured's assignee, a major bank. The assignee sought to enforce certain weather derivative contracts that the insured maintained were issued by our client's managing general agent. The defense of this large coverage action involved complex agency and fraudulent misrepresentation issues, as well as more traditional contract interpretation issues. Subsequent to settling with the assured this matter, our attorneys represented the insurance company against its reinsurer and received a very favorable decision from the arbitration panel.
  • Provided coverage advice and claims handling advice on behalf of the captive insurer for major U.S. and European investment companies with respect to claims under D&O and E&O liability policies.
  • Advice regarding coverage and claims under D&O policies issued to U.S. biotechnology company.
  • Acted as monitoring counsel for excess insurer defending its insured, owner of an apartment building in Los Angeles, CA, against a bodily injury claim related to an accident in an underground parking facility. 
  • Acted as monitoring counsel for excess insurer defending its insured, a water company, against multi-million dollar property damage claim and advised as to contribution action against primary and other insurers.
  • Represent Guarantee Insurance Company and related entities in liquidation proceedings involving Ullico Casualty Company. 
  • Acted as monitoring counsel for excess insurer defending its insured, a large road construction and paving company, against a complex bodily injury claim involving quadriplegia arising from an accident at a paving site in Orlando, FL.
  • Represented insurer in a coverage action brought by its insured, Cornerstone, one of the country's largest providers of affordable housing, seeking coverage and bad faith damages in relation to insurer's denial of third-party liability claims alleging discrimination in violation of the FHAA submitted by Cornerstone under its private company D&O/EPLI policy. Achieved a favorable settlement for our client, which is subject to confidentiality restrictions. See Cornerstone Residential Management, LLC, et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., Case No.: CACE 13-001913(2), In the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida.
  • Acted as coverage counsel for insurer defending against claim of coverage under an employment practices liability policy, which arose out of the largest verdict rendered in federal court action alleging retaliation for reporting alleged fraud within the company in violation of whistleblower protections provided by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. See Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., No. 14-cv-1802 (N.D. Ill. 2014). (See: https://www.law360.com/articles/518712/starr-sues-playboy-over-ex-exec-s-6m-wrongful-firing-suit (login required))
  • Acting as coverage counsel for insurer defending against a declaratory judgment action brought by insured disputing application of Retained Limit in a healthcare professional liability policy to underlying settlements of bodily injury claims brought by individuals who contracted Hepatitis C from a scrub technician employed at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire. See Exeter Hospital, Inc. v. Steadfast Insurance Company, Docket No. 218-2014-CV-00565, Rockingham County Superior Court. Represented client before New Hampshire Supreme Court when insured challenged trial court's ruling against it.
  • Acted as coverage counsel for insurer defending against claims of coverage under an excess energy policy arising from hundreds of bodily injury claims related to an explosion of a refinery plant outside of Houston, TX.


Reinsurance dispute resolution matters:

Non- life reinsurance matters

  • Successfully represented a reinsurer in its rescission claim against a ceding company involving complex accounting and actuarial matters and alleged misrepresentations during contract negotiations.
  • Represented reinsurer in an arbitration addressing the recoverability of litigation expenses associated with ECO/XPL claims as well as the applicability of the statute of limitations to reinsurance disputes. Achieved an award denying all claims for reinsurance made against our client.
  • Representation of major U.S. insurance company in dispute with captive insurer of international Fortune 100 company over product failure impacting French electrical company.
  • Represented St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company and affiliates in a private international arbitration against Scandinavian Reinsurance Company, Ltd. The dispute involved the validity of a retrocessional casualty aggregate stop loss agreement for the 1999 through 2001 underwriting years. St. Paul sought to recover all incurred losses under the terms as written, while Scandinavian Re sought rescission or reformation of the agreement. After a hearing in July 2009, the arbitration panel issued an award on August 19, 2009, in favor of St. Paul. In February 2010, a federal district court vacated the award and ordered the parties to re-arbitrate the dispute. We represented St. Paul in its appeal of this order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately prevailed in having the order to vacate the arbitration award reversed.
  • Undertook an exhaustive review of a cedent's asbestos exposure and historical reinsurance program in order to assist the cedent in its management and strategy for collecting over $100 million in reinsurance recoverables on non-products asbestos claims which had not been previously recognized by the cedent.
  • Represented Travelers/Aetna Casualty & Surety Company and ITT Hartford in several litigations to obtain reinsurance recoveries on asbestos and/or environmental claims.
  • Represented a major ceding company with respect to the reinsurance aspects of major losses, including asbestos, environmental pollution, mass torts, the attacks on the World Trade Center, and Hurricane Katrina. In addition to representing the company in dispute resolution proceedings when necessary, we assisted and advised with respect to ensuring that the company complied with its reporting requirements, made appropriate reinsurance presentations and collected insurance recoverables.
  • National coordinating counsel for major U.S. insurance company in relation to reinsurance presentations of Hurricane Katrina claims made across multiple lines of business.
  • National coordinating counsel for major U.S. insurance company in relation to reinsurance presentations of Y2K claims made across multiple lines of business.
  • Represented a U.S. ceding company in litigation against its reinsurer in connection with a $30 million reinsurance receivable due under a facultative certificate. The underlying claim involved defective products claims. The action was pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Represented a large U.S. ceding company in a dispute against a reinsurer that denied payment of $5.6 million claim under facultative certificate for losses paid to Bergstrom Paper Co. in connection with the clean-up of pollution site at Fox River. The matter was pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and settled favorably for the client after successfully litigating a motion to compel the production of certain documents by the reinsurer.
  • Represented a reinsurer in an arbitration initiated by the Bermuda captive for a U.S. accounting firm in which the captive is seeking millions of dollars in connection with liabilities paid out in connection with D&O claims. Our client sought avoidance (rescission) of the reinsurance agreements under Bermuda law, based on misrepresentations and non-disclosure.
  • Represented multiple clients in several cases involving the "expenses in addition to limits" issue. For example, we successfully defeated a summary judgment motion by a reinsurer who sought to limit its liability to the limit indicated in the "reinsurance accepted" line of the facultative certificate. The court determined that the facultative certificate was governed by California law rather than New York law, and that under California law, the court could consider extrinsic evidence on the issue of whether the contract was ambiguous and on the ultimate issue of the meaning of the contract. The court denied TIG's motion based on the considerable extrinsic evidence offered by the ceding company, Hartford, demonstrating that the reinsurer understood that it was liable under the certificate for expenses in addition to the indemnity limits. The court also relied on the testimony of two experts proffered by Hartford on industry practice which supported Hartford's position that the certificate "limit" applied only to indemnity and not to defense costs. TIG Premier Ins. Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 35 F. Supp. 2d 348 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
  • Represented a reinsurer in a dispute over a reinsurance program covering architects' errors and omissions claims. The disputes include treaty interpretation and ceding methodology issues, as well as fundamental treaty administration issues, including the apparent inability of the ceding company to provide consistent and verifiable billings, loss runs, and premium reconciliations.


Life reinsurance matters

  • Represented the retrocessionaire in a large dispute involving a block of life insurance. The dispute principally involves accounting issues.
  • Represented The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America in an arbitration and related litigation brought by Canada Life Assurance Company. Canada Life was the contract-issuing company for, and Guardian was a participant in, a reinsurance facility managed by Insurance Services Associates Ltd (ISA Facilities). After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks severely impacted the ISA Facilities, Canada Life asserted that Guardian was liable for approximately $59 million of those losses. Guardian contended that its liabilities were subject to per-occurrence caps that would limit its liability. Although Canada Life initially demanded arbitration, it subsequently sued Guardian in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, contending that, by asserting that the question of whether there had been a "meeting of the minds" was not arbitrable, Guardian had waived its right to arbitration. We convinced the court to reject Canada Life's argument, and we represented Guardian in the subsequent arbitration, the results of which remain confidential.
  • Represented a Bermuda based life reinsurer in its efforts to collect under a retrocessional treaty where the retrocessionaire advocated that the reinsurer rescind or demand reformation of a 100% quota share indemnity reinsurance agreement on a closed block of 90,000 individual disability insurance policies on the basis that the data supplied by the reinsured in connection with the reinsurer's due diligence and pricing of the transaction contained high rates of errors which were not disclosed to the reinsurer and were not easily detected.
  • Represented a mutual a mutual life insurer in an arbitration against its reinsurer wherein the insurer sought to exercise its contractual right to recapture term-life risks ceded to the reinsurer.
  • Represented a large life company reinsurer in an arbitration regarding, and a successful settlement of, a dispute concerning workers compensation carve-out business.
  • Represented a large life reinsurer in several arbitrations involving the guaranteed minimum death benefits in annuities.
  • Represented a Lloyd's of London syndicate in litigation regarding the issuance of an insurance product that covered risk associated with viatical life insurance policies. Our client issued an insurance product to a viatical settlement company to cover the risk that viators would live beyond a certain projected life expectancy. The suit alleged that the defendant's predecessor and its agents induced our client to enter into the insurance policy on the basis of fraud, misrepresentation, concealment, and/or negligent supply of false information.
  • Represented a Bermuda based life reinsurer in its efforts to collect under a retrocessional treaty where the retrocessionaire advocated that the reinsurer rescind or demand reformation of a 100% quota share indemnity reinsurance agreement on a closed block of 90,000 individual disability insurance policies on the basis that the data supplied by the reinsured in connection with the reinsurer's due diligence and pricing of the transaction contained high rates of errors which were not disclosed to the reinsurer and were not easily detected. The arbitration involved actuarial issues, contract interpretation issues and issues regarding misrepresentation and the breach of utmost good faith. At the conclusion of the arbitration, we assisted our client in negotiating a favorable settlement with the ceding company and the co-reinsurer.
  • Representation of a long-term care mutual insurance company in an arbitration against its reinsurer wherein our client alleged that the reinsurer wrongfully avoided reimbursing the insurer for its proportionate share of dividends paid to the insurance company's policy-owners.


Other commercial litigation matters:

  • In May 2015, secured a complete trial victory on behalf of Starr Indemnity & Liability Company in a lawsuit Starr brought against American Claims Management (ACM), a subsidiary of Brown & Brown Insurance (NYSE: BRO) alleging, inter alia, civil fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. A jury in the Southern District of New York awarded the return of US$1.625 million in fees and reimbursements based on the tort claims of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty against ACM, as well as aiding and abetting claims against ACM affiliates, Superior Recovery Services, Inc. (SRS), Marquee Managed Care Solutions, Inc. (Marquee) and Pacific Claims Services, Inc. (PCS). The jury also awarded punitive damages against all the defendants, totaling US$2.75 million. Finally, the jury also rejected all of the defendants' counterclaims against Starr. Subsequently, the court ordered a retrial on the punitive damages claim and NRF achieved a favorable confidential settlement for the client
  • Represented Star Scientific, Inc., in connection with federal grand jury investigation that resulted in the prosecution of Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell. No charges brought against Star at the conclusion of the investigation. Continued to advise Star Scientific in relation to class actions and derivative suits, defending allegations of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duties and related claims and advised company regarding insurance issues arising out of the investigation.
  • In re Residential Capital, LLC, Ms. Langford served on litigation team serving the court-appointed Examiner in its investigation of potential claims held by ResCap, the bankrupt mortgage lender. The investigation concluded that ResCap would likely prevail in various multi-billion dollar claims against its corporate parent, the former GMAC.
  • Represented surviving family members of victims and victims injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a pizzeria in the Karnei Shomron settlement shopping mall in Northwestern Samaria, killing two 15-year-old Israelis and wounding twenty-seven people. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) assumed responsibility for the attack. The surviving family and victims filed a lawsuit for injuries under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the Antiterrorism Act (ATA) against the Syrian Arab Republic, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority (PA), among others in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
  • Chambers USA, District of Columbia: Insurance: Insurer, Chambers & Partners, 2018-  2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Insurance, Best Lawyers, 2020
  • Guide to the World's Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers, Euromoney PLC, 2006 and the following
  • 40 under 40: People to Watch, Business Insurance magazine, 2008
  • Awarded our pro bono award numerous times in conjunction with her work on behalf of victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, the Anti-Defamation League, the Constitution Project, the "Just Say No" organization and prisoners on death row in Alabama and Florida.
  • Who's Who Legal, Insurance & Reinsurance: Lawyers, Legal Business Research Ltd., 2018
  • "Climate Change Lawsuits Update," Client Alert, October 4, 2012
  • "Understanding Reinsurance, (co-author), New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide," LexisNexis, January 2008
  • Co-author, "Finite Risk Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance," NewsWire, September 2005
  • "Finite Reinsurance: A Risky Business?," JTW News, July 2005
  • Co-Chair, ARIAS Arbitrator Intensive Training, 2017
  • Presentation, "Emerging Cyber and Privacy Risks and the Reinsurance Market," The London Reinsurance Group, November 2016
  • Co-Chair, "ARIAS U.S. 2013 Spring Conference," West Palm Beach, FL, 2013
  • "Reinsurance Outlook 2010 Conference," New York, New York, February 9, 2010
  • Co-chair, "Reinsurance Claims and Dispute Conference," New York, NY, September 10, 2009
  • "Green Business Summit," New York, NY, June 18, 2008
  • "Mealey’s Reinsurance Litigation and Arbitration Conference," Washington, DC, February 11-12, 2008
  • "American Conference Institute's International Run-Off & Communications Conference," April 2006
  • Co-chair, "ARIAS U.S. 2006 Spring Conference," West Palm Beach, FL, 2006
  • "Assessing the Impact and Outcomes of Recent Insurance Investigations," 19th International Reinsurance Congress, Bermuda, October 19-21, 2005
  • "American Conference Institute's International Run-Off & Communications Conference," September 2005
  • "Mealey's Reinsurance 101," February 2005
  • "Current Topics in Reinsurance," Mealey’s Fundamentals of Reinsurance and Insolvency Conference, Chicago, IL, October 21, 2003
  • "Mealey’s Practical Overview of Current Reinsurance Issues," January 2003
  • "Mealey's Reinsurance & Insolvency Roundtable," 2003
  • "Mealey's Reinsurance 101," April 2001
  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center (trial advocacy programs), 1996-2001
  • Coach for Montgomery County, MD Girls on the Run Program