Wystan Ackerman

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Wystan Ackerman is a partner in Robinson+Cole’s Insurance + Reinsurance Group and handles a diverse range of property insurance litigation, including large business interruption cases, class actions, other complex litigation, and appeals. He also has substantial experience representing insurance companies in putative class actions involving homeowners’ insurance coverage and market conduct/claim-handling practices. He has been prominently involved in high-profile property insurance litigation concerning the September 11th catastrophe and Hurricane Katrina, and Chinese-made drywall. Based in the insurance capital of Hartford, Connecticut, Wystan writes the blog Insurance Class Actions Insider, which was selected by Lexis Nexis as a top insurance blog for 2011.

Wystan grew up in Deep River, Connecticut, a small town on the west side of the Connecticut River in the south central part of the state. He always had strong interests in history, politics and baseball and his heroes growing up were Abraham Lincoln and Wade Boggs (at that time the third baseman for the Boston Red Sox). Wystan says it was his early fascination with Lincoln that drove him to practice law. As a high school senior, he was one of Connecticut’s two delegates to the U.S. Senate Youth Program, which further solidified his interest in law and government. He went on to Bowdoin College, where he wrote for the Bowdoin Orient and majored in government. After Bowdoin, he went on to Columbia Law School. He also interned in the chambers of then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the Second Circuit. Wystan graduated from Columbia in 2001, then worked at Skadden Arps in Boston before returning to Connecticut and joining Robinson+Cole.

When Wystan’s not at his desk, flying around the country trying to save insurance companies from the plaintiffs’ bar, or attending a conference on class actions or insurance litigation he often can be found watching “Dora the Explorer” or reading or playing whiffleball with his young daughter, helping his wife with her business, Option Realty, reading a book about history or politics, or watching the Boston Red Sox.

Read Wystan’s rc.com bio.

Latest Articles

In an order issued on October 16, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Microsoft Corporation, a case with potentially far-reaching implications for the privacy of electronic data maintained by technology companies across the globe. The case, which Robinson+Cole has previously discussed here, here, and here, arises from a warrant obtained by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Stored Communications Act (SCA).[1] The SCA was enacted…
Today the U.S. Supreme Court decided Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857. The question presented was whether an unaccepted offer of full relief on the named plaintiff’s individual claim will render a putative class action moot. The answer is “no,” according to a 5-3 opinion by Justice Ginsburg (with a separate concurrence by Justice Thomas). But the Court left open the question of whether, if the defendant had actually deposited the money being offered…
Class action litigation is spreading across the country involving the application of depreciation in calculating the actual cash value of property damage under homeowners and commercial property insurance policies. This blog post will be longer than typical, but I think you will find it worth reading. The Issue: For decades, insurers have been using replacement-cost-less-depreciation as a method (where appropriate) for calculating actual cash value. That method typically takes the entire estimated replacement cost of…
Defendants who are defending multiple class actions involving the same issue in different jurisdictions can sometimes be faced with a quandary when they want to settle. They might reach a settlement agreement with plaintiffs’ counsel in one of the cases, but until that settlement is final, which typically takes months, they may have to continue litigating the other cases. And, in the meantime, cross their fingers that the other cases do not undermine the settlement.…
The Second Circuit recently addressed a panoply of class certification issues in two opinions. Both decisions ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but will help defendants tailor their arguments in future cases. Roach v. T.L. Cannon Group, No. 13-3070-cv, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2054 (2d Cir. Feb. 10, 2015) addressed whether the Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013) overruled Second Circuit law regarding the impact of…
One of the “hot” issues in class actions today is whether, or to what extent, a class can be defined to include members who were not injured, and do not have standing to sue. The First Circuit recently addressed this in a 2-1 decision, concluding that “class certification is permissible even if the class includes a de minimis number of uninjured parties.” In re Nexium Antitrust Litigation, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 968, *6-7 (1st…
One theory that has been raised by plaintiffs’ lawyers in some insurance class actions is that policyholders should receive a partial refund of their premiums because they are not receiving the coverage they paid for, or coverage purchased is illusory. A recent Michigan federal district court opinion rejected this theory on the grounds that: (1) unless a valid claim for insurance coverage is made, no performance is due from the insurer, and thus there can…
Over the last several years, federal courts of appeals have been closely scrutinizing cy pres distributions to charitable organizations in class action settlements. This includes opinions by the First Circuit, Third Circuit and Ninth Circuit. The general thrust of these decisions is that cy pres should be used sparingly, and the charitable organization should be closely tied to the objective of the lawsuit. The Eighth Circuit recently weighed in and largely joined its…
As 2014 comes to a close, here are a few observations on key trends I’ve seen in insurance class actions (and class actions more broadly) over the last year: Changes in the law have frequently led to new class action filings. Most insurers are large organizations, and changing daily practice across a claim or underwriting department can be challenging, and take time. When a state supreme court changes the law, or makes new law in…
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, No. 13-719 (slip opinion). Unsurprisingly, the Court held that a notice of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act does not need to attach evidence regarding the amount in controversy. Given that the removal statute requires a notice “containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal,” the Court held that the notice “need…