For over 48 years, Claude Stuart has immersed himself in the energy industry and become widely recognized as one of the leading American lawyers handling major energy and maritime insurance coverage litigation and corollary counseling for the London Market. He is the first and only American lawyer ever appointed as an ex officio member of and American legal advisor to the Joint Rig Committee at Lloyd’s of London where he presently serves. Named a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Life Member of the American Law Institute, a Proctor and Life Member of the Maritime Law Association and as one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Insurance by Chambers USA since 2011, Claude has also recently been designated as one of only four nationwide coverage and monitoring counsel for a major professional indemnity program (covering inter alia, energy consultants and adjustors) placed through the London Market.
Primarily representing various syndicates and insurers at Lloyd’s of London (including their American affiliates), with a special emphasis on both onshore and offshore energy package policies, Claude’s work encompasses all coverages contained within the package policies, including:
- Operators Extra Expense (OEE)/Energy Exploration and Development (EED) (well control/redrill/pollution) and related covers
- Third party liability including primary, CGL and excess
- First party property including business interruption, contingent business interruption and loss of production income
- Related marine coverages including P&L, hull and OPA
- Embedded professional indemnity and related covers
- Excess and coverage monitoring under reservations of rights of ongoing litigation
- Interpretation and enforcement of contractual indemnity provisions in the oil patch
- Prosecution of major energy related subrogation/recovery claims
Previously a partner with Phelps Dunbar in Houston, Claude values the unique directions his practice has taken and relishes the broad experience he can bring to his clients as a result. A true southern gentleman in his own right and known in the London Market as “the thinking man’s lawyer”, Claude enjoys the privilege of representing some of the industries’ most sophisticated and forward thinking insurers and brings a unique blend of professionalism, practicality and charisma to the table.
- Devising a plan with the insured oil company who was subject to a massive judgment for which it could not get appellate security, to have Underwriters themselves post the then largest supersedeas bond ever placed in the London Market and defer a coverage determination. In this manner the judgment could be jointly attacked and the appellate court subsequently reduced it from over $250 million to less than $20 million. Coverage was then litigated with a very favorable result for Underwriters.
- Defending Underwriters from an insured operator’s efforts to establish coverage for over $200 million under an EED policy where a crucial issue was misrepresentation in procuring the policy.
- Helping draft the new version of the contingent operator’s extra expense policy (COEE) promulgated by the Joint Rig Committee at Lloyd’s.
- Defending subscribers to a billion dollar quota share re-insurance program against a computer parts manufacturer’s claims for contingent business interruption coverage arising from a hurricane where a major issue was the status of a direct supplier.
- Successfully resolving a worldwide chemical manufacturer’s claim for business interruption against the London and Continental Markets when the key issue was a determination of the impact of other worldwide economic and coincidental factors on the claimed market losses.
- Preparing and filing the amicus brief for certain Underwriters at Lloyds in the successful case of Gilbert Texas Construction, L.P. v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, which established restrictions on the scope of contractual liability cover in a CGL policy in Texas.
- Advising Excess Liability Underwriters with respect to coverage and coordinating the defense for a massive oil spill resulting from a collision of two vessels where over 3,000 claims, including those under the Oil Pollution Act, were filed.
- Advising a foreign re-insurer with respect to coverage and coordinating the defense of insureds in a fire claim giving rise to over 4,000 claimants.
- Serving as lead counsel for one the world’s largest international banks in the multi-billion dollar Enron Securities class action (the largest ever filed) and securing summary judgment of no liability for the bank.
- University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1973
- Princeton University, A.B., 1969
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- U.S. District Courts of Texas (all districts)
- U.S. District Courts of Mississippi (all districts)
- All state trial and appellate courts in both Texas and Mississippi
- Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel
- Garland R. Walker Inn of Court Attorney Professionalism Award for “upholding the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and civility in the practice of law.”
- America’s Leading Lawyers for Insurance, Chambers USA
- AV Preeminent Rating (including judicial) in Insurance Law, Martindale-Hubbell
- The Best Lawyers in America in Insurance Law, 2008-2020
- Texas Super Lawyer in Insurance Coverage, 2013, 2015-2020, Thomson Reuters
- American Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- Texas Bar College
- Fellow, American College of Coverage Counsel
- Ex officio member of and American legal advisor to Joint Rig Committee at Lloyd’s of London
- Life Member, American Law Institute
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Proctor and Life Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
- Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
- Defense Research Institute
- Texas Association of Defense Counsel
- Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association
- In addition to numerous domestic seminars (almost all of which are accompanied by extensive written materials including relevant bibliographies of authorities), Claude has given presentations in numerous countries, including London, England; Munich, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland; and Milan, Italy on various energy and related insurance topics. He is famous among insurance circles for enlivening his PowerPoint presentations with guest appearances by Elvis and other rock and roll and silver screen luminaries as appropriate to the context.
- Macondo/Deepwater Horizon: Lessons Learned from Ensuring Litigation. The Insurance Institute of London, 17 November 2016
- Introduction to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Texas State Court (But Were Afraid to Ask), 17 November 2016
- Offshore Energy Package Policy, The Central Role of the OEE/EED Policy and Selected Current Case Developments, LMA Energy Claims Group July 7, 2016
- Energy Package Policies, 2016 American College of Coverage and Extacontractual Counsel Annual Meeting May 4-6, 2016
- Sanctions and Claims Handling Challenges, 20th Annual Lillehammer Energy Insurance Conference 2015
- Insurance Lessons from the Oil Patch, 19th Annual Insurance Law Institute, University of Texas School of Law, 2014
- Primer on the Onshore Energy Package Policy: From Blowouts to Business Interruption, 18th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law, 2014
- The U.S. Court System: ‘Everything’ You Should Know About the American Legal System, Lloyd’s Market Association, 2013
- Downhole, Offshore and Blowouts: A Primer on Oil & Gas Coverage: The Offshore Energy Package Policy, 18th Annual Insurance Law Institute, University of Texas School of Law, 2013
- Subrogation: Who is Left Holding the Bag?, 18th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium Presented, South Texas College of Law, 2013
- Excess Insurance, 16th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law, 2012
- Business Interruption: Principles and Pitfalls, 15th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law, 2011
- Business Interruption and Extra Expense Coverage, 14th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law, 2010
- The Fundamentals of Business Interruption and Extra Expense Insurance Coverage, 13th Annual Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law, 2009
- Primer on the Onshore Energy Package Policy: From Blowouts to Business Interruption, 2014
- Downhole, Offshore and Blowouts: A Primer on Oil & Gas Coverage: The Offshore Energy Package Policy, 2013
- The Fundamentals of Business Interruption and Extra Expense Insurance Coverage, 2009
- Update on Floating Casinos, 8th Annual Admiralty and Maritime Law Conference, 2001 (co-author)
- Chapter 23 (Presentation of the Case in Chief), Law and Practice of Insurance Coverage Litigation (West Group 2000-). A multi volume publication, by “nationally recognized experts” (principal author)
- Liability of Marine Surveyors, Adjusters and Claims Handlers, 22 Tulane Maritime Law Journal, 1997 (co-author)
- Summary Judgment: A Trial Practitioner’s Guide to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 56, 59 Mississippi Law Journal 277, 1989
- A Primer on Property Insurance for Offshore and Onshore Energy Risks, 2016 ACCECC Annual Meeting May 4-6, 2016 (co-author)
Outside the Office
What I do when not practicing law
Expanding the arboretum on our little farm on the side of a mountain near Sewanee, Tennessee, which currently has nearly 150 different species of trees. By comparison, Elvis’ Graceland only has 30. In fairness, the King died before he knew we were in competition.
Favorite movie/TV character
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s composite portrayal of the Godfather since all of life’s necessary lessons are there simply, albeit starkly, stated.
Quote I live by
William Faulkner’s cryptic but crucial observation (no doubt encapsulating the essence of insurance coverage litigation) in Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”