Defending business clients in a hostile jurisdiction is the hallmark of Kay Fuller’s practice. Since joining the firm in 1990, Ms. Fuller, a shareholder of the firm, has concentrated her practice on the defense of insurers in coverage and extra-contractual matters at trial and on appeal. Ms. Fuller has successfully tried a number of “bad faith” cases in West Virginia and also provides coverage counsel. She also actively litigates administrative matters and chairs the firm’s litigation department.
She is presently involved in litigating issues of first impression ranging from privacy rights to discovery of attorney-client privileged materials in claim files. She regularly defends institutional attacks against insurance carriers wherein punitive damages are sought and provides risk management and litigation strategies to clients to defeat such broad-based attacks. Ms. Fuller provides counsel to insurers on a regional and national level and is routinely selected to lecture on insurance-related topics.
With the growing concern of individual and business rights of privacy, Ms. Fuller has devoted a portion of her practice to developing protocols and counseling clients on business practices to balance the tension. Privacy rights flow to businesses as well as to individuals and often she is called upon to protect the private information generated internally necessary to preserve the integrity of business data. Most recently she argued before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia concerning an insurer's right to obtain, review and retain medical records of claimants in an electronic format and successfully argued for administrative rather than judicial oversight of the use of electronic claim files to promote uniformity and consistency in regulation.
Ms. Fuller successfully represented Allstate Insurance Company twice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals wherein the Court recognized the quasi and traditional attorney-client privilege in first and third party “bad faith” cases in State ex rel. Allstate v Madden and State ex rel. Allstate v Gaughan, respectively. She was also trial and appellate counsel in Costello v Allstate wherein the Court addressed for the first time the doctrine of reasonable expectations as applicable to insurance agents. She was also appellate counsel to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company in Martino v Barnett, where West Virginia was the first jurisdiction to consider application of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to private information contained in claim files. She also served as appellate counsel to State Farm in Strum v Swanson and State Farm which limited the type of damages recoverable in wrongful death claims and to State Farm in Boniey v Kuchinski which concerned a statutory interpretation of the uninsured motorist statute and its application to ATVs.
She also successfully argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on the issue of whether a first-party claimant substantially prevailed against his insurer in Jones v Allstate and was instrumental in prohibiting the admissibility of hedonic damages in West Virginia in, the leading case in the nation prohibiting such evidence in civil trials.
Ms. Fuller has authored articles and lectures extensively before local, regional and home offices of insurance carriers, agents and practitioners in the area of insurance, “bad faith” and discovery, as well as application of the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. She has also been recognized as an expert witness in the field of insurance “bad faith.”
Ms. Fuller is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in West Virginia and Virginia as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. She was awarded membership in the Order of Barristers while attending the West Virginia University College of Law and has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in the fields of civil litigation defense and appellate advocacy in West Virginia.