Lawyers at DBMS successfully litigate a wide variety of civil cases and argue appeals in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the country.

Insurance Coverage

American Samoa Government v. Affiliated FM Insurance Company


American Samoa Government


$86.7 million verdict for the American Samoa Government


In December 1991, Hurricane Val struck the U.S. Territory of American Samoa, causing widespread devastation to American Samoa Government property.

A claim under American Samoa Government’s property insurance policy was subsequently denied based upon a purported exclusion of damage caused by “wind-driven water.”

The case was tried in Los Angeles between May 28 and September 25, 1995.

The jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant insurer had breached the insurance policy and was guilty of bad faith. The jury awarded $28.9 million constituting the unpaid policy benefits, and $57.8 million in punitive damages.

On appeal, the $28.9 million compensatory award and post-judgment interest were affirmed and punitive damages were found to be justified. Following an additional appeal and settlements, American Samoa collected a total of $118 million.