Tiffany Powers leads Alston & Bird’s Insurance Litigation & Regulation Team and concentrates her practice on complex litigation matters, with a particular focus on insurance and class action litigation. Tiffany’s practice is national in scope, encompassing state and federal court litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, and she has been instrumental in helping clients achieve successful resolution of complex and business critical disputes.
Tiffany has extensive experience defending class actions. Serving as lead or co-lead counsel, she has obtained dismissal or defeated class certification in hostile, notoriously plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. Tiffany also regularly represents clients in high-profile coverage and bad faith disputes, including matters involving 9/11/2001 and significant weather events, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. Her regulatory experience includes market conduct examinations, attorney general investigations and other enforcement actions. She has been engaged by insurance carriers and large corporate policyholders for counseling and strategic planning in the aftermath of the “bid rigging” and finite reinsurance investigations, as well as for catastrophe response efforts like hurricanes, tornadoes and hail storms.
In law school, Tiffany served on the Georgia Law Review. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia in 1999.
- Co-lead counsel representing a national insurance carrier in a jury trial of individually named plaintiffs’ class action claim in federal court in the Western District of Washington after defeating a Washington state putative class. Obtained a defense verdict on all counts. As the first case to go to trial in a series of “diminished value” class actions across the country, this case was a landmark case for the insurance industry on this issue. Hovenkotter v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Illinois, No. C09-0218JLR (W.D. Wash. Oct. 11, 2010).
- Serves in lead, supervising and coordinating roles as national and class action counsel to Fortune 50, Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 insurance carriers.
- Defeated or resolved putative class actions or mass actions for top national insurance carriers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
- Served as coordinating counsel on certain high priority institutional issues for a top tier national insurer on two policyholder class actions, hundreds of individual cases consolidated in an MDL and accompanying regulatory investigations concerning allegations of bad faith failure to pay hurricane-related claims in Texas.
- Won summary judgment on a class action in Pennsylvania alleging that a Fortune 50 auto insurer did not pay appropriately for durable medical equipment under its medical payments coverage. Freedom Medical Supply v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 2:12-cv-01078 (E.D. Pa.).
- Won dismissal of a Florida class action, affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit, challenging a Fortune 50 auto insurer’s subrogation practices under its medical payments coverage. The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the district court’s opinion that the complaint, even as amended several times, failed to allege an imminent injury. Vandenbrink v. Voneschen, No. 13-10829 (11th Cir. Sept. 27, 2013).
- Obtained a nominal settlement in Pennsylvania for a top three national property & casualty insurer for a class action lawsuit challenging auto carriers’ alleged failure to provide statutorily required premium discounts for antitheft devices.
- Obtained dismissal of a policyholder class action pending in federal court in Arkansas alleging systematic violation of notifying insureds of a Fortune 50 auto insurer of the right to reimbursement.
- Assumed a leading role to counsel and advise a university in its recovery and maximization of insurance assets in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
- Won summary judgment on behalf of a national insurance carrier on a contribution claim presenting an issue of first impression in Georgia.
- Managed a massive internal investigation for a top national insurance carrier in response to various attorney general and Department of Insurance inquiries in the wake of high-profile
claims brought by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer relating to producer compensation and alleged “bid rigging” activities.
- Represents, advises and counsels multiple national auto insurance carriers in claims raising potential bad faith issues and in high-stakes bad faith litigation.
- Assumed the leading role in property insurance recovery efforts in the wake of a sugar refinery explosion.
- Serves in a supervising and coordinating role as national counsel to a leading insurance carrier, advising on claims handling and potential bad faith on hurricane coverage issues.
In South Florida Wellness Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co. (2014), the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a plaintiff’s declaratory judgment alone can satisfy the Class Action Fairness Act’s amount in controversy requirement. The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in South Florida Wellness continues the recent trend in the federal courts of strengthening the ability of defendants to remove class actions to federal courts pursuant to CAFA.
April 9, 2014
This advisory discusses South Florida Wellness Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-10001 (11th Cir. Feb. 14, 2014), where the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a plaintiff’s declaratory judgment alone can satisfy the Class Action Fairness Act’s (CAFA) amount in controversy requirement. The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in South Florida Wellness continues the recent trend in the federal courts of strengthening the ability of defendants to remove class actions to federal courts pursuant to CAFA.
March 10, 2014