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Dan Bentson is a shareholder in Bullivant Houser Bailey's Seattle office. His practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, including insurance coverage, bad faith litigation, admiralty and maritime litigation, and appeals. Dan frequently publishes and presents on topics relevant to in-house counsel, defense counsel, and insurers. For the last four years, Washington Super Lawyers has recognized Dan as a "Rising Star."
As an insurance coverage lawyer, Dan has represented and advised primary and excess insurers in disputes involving first-party property and various lines of third-party liability insurance (e.g., commercial, errors and omissions). He currently serves as a Vice Chair for the American Bar Association's Trial Tort & Insurance Practice (TIPS) Property Insurance Law Committee. Dan's defense experience further extends to representing insurers in coverage disputes involving life, disability, and accidental death policies. Dan also has experience defending insurers against claims under group policies governed by ERISA.
Dan has defended insurers in numerous lawsuits that involve claims of bad faith and extra-contractual liability. And he has successfully defended insurers in coverage disputes all the way through trial. For example, Dan recently defended a commercial property insurer against claims for damage caused by long-term water intrusion at a condominium complex. Following a three-week trial in federal court, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Dan's client. The jury awarded no damages to the plaintiff homeowner's association.
Dan also has significant admiralty and maritime litigation experience. He has represented and advised marine underwriters in disputes involving hull and machinery, protection and indemnity, and cargo policies. And Dan has successfully defended maritime clients against seaman's personal injury claims, including claims brought under the Jones Act and general maritime law. Dan has also represented vessel owners in a variety of business disputes, including maritime lien litigation.
In addition, Dan has a successful appellate practice. Before joining Bullivant, Dan served as a law clerk to Justice James Johnson of the Washington State Supreme Court. Dan has continued his appellate-related work at Bullivant and successfully represented clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Washington Court of Appeals, and the Washington Supreme Court. For example, Dan recently argued and prevailed on behalf of one his clients before the Washington Supreme Court. In that case, the court held that the Washington Insurance Commissioner is the exclusive agent to accept service on behalf of an authorized foreign insurer.
Prior to joining Bullivant, Dan was a prosecutor and successful trial lawyer in the United States Army JAG Corps. While in the Army, Dan handled numerous felony prosecutions and served as lead counsel in a capital murder case. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and received the Bronze Star Medal for his service. Dan is also a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.