• Contact Us
  • Home
Minneapolis Minneapolis
Minneapolis Phoenix
Email Us Email Us
  • Print to PDF

Kurt M. Zitzer

Partner

T: 480.624.8570
kzitzer@meagher.com
F: 480.222.6676

Mr. Zitzer is a litigation attorney.  Kurt was recently honored by his peers by being selected for the second straight year as one of the Top 50 attorneys in the Southwest by Southwest Super Lawyers®. Additionally, AZ Business magazine recently selected Kurt as one of the top 10 lawyers in the state in the area of Employee Benefits and Insurance Law. His practice focuses on writing coverage opinions for a wide variety of insurance product lines. When these positions are disputed, he defends them. The cases I enjoy most are those that derive from one-of-a-kind commercial insurance policies----cases that present brand-new issues to the courts and create new law. He has defended commercial insurance cases in 14 states----in mediation, arbitration, litigation, on trial and on appeal. Kurt also has experience serving as an arbitrator in private arbitrations involving insurance coverage disputes, and as an expert witness involving coverage and bad faith claims.

Kurt also engages in reinsurance coverage opinion writing, mediation and arbitration----focusing primarily on facultative reinsurance agreements for property and casualty insurers.

In addition to insurance coverage and commercial litigation, he defends clients----especially lawyers and accountants----faced with professional liability claims. He represents accountants confronted with disciplinary proceedings and malpractice claims, as well as other professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, real estate and insurance. As an active member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, Kurt regularly speaks at this group's seminars on emerging issues in professional liability.

Kurt’s practice includes the defense of product liability claims involving the manufacturing, distribution and sale of vehicles and their component parts, small machinery, household products, HVAC equipment, construction materials and other consumer products. Mr. Zitzer has successfully defended serious bodily injury and wrongful death claims as well as property damage claims in Arizona and other jurisdictions. He has resolved suits through trial, arbitration, motion practice and mediated settlement, and Kurt is regularly called upon to defend the interests of those companies accused of manufacturing, distributing or selling a dangerous of defective product.

He also represents real estate developers, with a focus on projects that include hospitality, medical and professional office buildings.  He uses his knowledge of insurance coverage to advise clients on risk management issues----including procurement of insurance and drafting of construction contracts.

Before I became a lawyer, I ran a small business, so I understand that legal issues are just one of the many concerns faced by business owners.  I take great pleasure in helping them successfully resolve a conflict, so they can get on with their lives and their business.

Kurt maintains close ties with his colleagues in the business community via his active involvement with the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, where he serves as Board Chair.  Outside of the office, Kurt enjoys family activities, sports, coaching, travel and skating with other "over the hill" ice hockey players in local recreational leagues.

Kurt was profiled in the April/May 2010 issue of Scottsdale@Work.

   
     

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Arizona, Construction Law Section 
  • Arizona Association of Defense Counsel
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers 
  • Illinois State Bar
  • Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Chair, Board of Directors 
  • Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Insurance Law Committee
      • Vice-chairman Professional Liability Subcommittee
    • Commercial General Liability
    • Commercial Litigation Committee
    • Construction Law Committee 
  • Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Affiliate Section Chairperson (2001- 2006)
  • The National Foundation for Women Legislators, Steering Committee (2005)

Accolades

  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America® (Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, S.C.)
  • Named by AZ Business magazine (March/April 2014 issue) as a Top Lawyer in Insurance (2014)
  • Named to Southwest Super Lawyers® Top 50 list (2013-2014)
  • Named to Southwest Super Lawyers® list (2012-2014)
  • Selected as one of Arizona's Finest Lawyers (2011)
  • Former Editor-in-Chief of The John Marshall Law Review
  • Awarded the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, AV® Preeminent ™ (AV is a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies)

Speaking Engagements

  • State Bar of Arizona CLE, Arizona Tort Law Handbook Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona, Design Professional Liability (June 2013)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium, New York, New York, Hot Issues in Professional Liability Coverage: Lessons from the DRI Compendium (December 2012)
  • State Bar of Arizona CLE, Bad Faith Insurance Law Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona, Third-Party Bad Faith (August 2012)
  • Panelist on the subject of legal ethics, malpractice and risk management for law firms, Arizona State Bar Annual Convention (June 2012)
  • The Defense and Indemnity of Claims in Arizona, Navigators Group of Companies, San Francisco, California (August 2010)
  • Arizona State Bar CLE by the Sea in Scottsdale, Arizona, Ethical Considerations for Law Firm Management (June 2010)
  • Arizona State Bar CLE by the Sea in San Diego, California, Minding the Store, Internal Ethics and Liability Management (July 2009)
  • Hot Topics in Professional Liability Insurance: Electronic Data and Bad Faith, Professional Liability Underwriting Society in Denver, Colorado (April 2008)
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation, National Business Institute (September 2007)
  • Claim Notice Requirements Under New York Law (July 2006)
  • Construction Defect Claims Handling (July 2005)
  • Recent Developments in Design Professional Liability, Professional Liability Underwriting Society in Phoenix, Arizona (October 2004)
  • Construction Defect Litigation - A Primer on Claims and Coverage Issues (March 2002)
  • Design Professionals - A Primer on Claims and Coverage Issues (December 2001)   

Publications

  • Co-author for Arizona section, "Professional Liability Insurance: A Compendium of State Law" published by the Defense Research Institute (October 2012)
  • Co-author, Chapter on Design Professional Liability, Arizona Tort Law Handbook, published by the State Bar of Arizona (2012)
  • "Continuous Impact" Best's Review 82 (June 2005)
  • "Lost Pay Damages - Employer Liability Grows" Arizona Attorney 44 (April 2002)
  • "Illinois Rejects Market Share Liability: A Policy Based Analysis of Smith v. Eli Lilly & Co." 79 Ky. L.J. 617 (1990-91)
  • Contributor, "Design-Build Contracts" Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 11-1 (1990)
  • "Punitive Damages:  A Cat's Clavicle in Modern Civil Law" 22 J. Marshall L. Rev. 657 (1989)

 Recent Decisions

  • S P Syntax, LLC v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., et al, CV 2011-019071 Maricopa County Superior Court, Arizona (January 7, 2014) (summary judgment in favor of excess D & O insurer client wherein court found that Tower 2 coverage side A excess policy was not required to drop down and provide primary coverage, and that claim was otherwise excluded under Tower 2 based upon interrelated claim and prior notice exclusion).
  • Nelson v. Navigator Insurance Company, et al., 2013 WL 5314361 (D. Ariz. 2013) (holding that general liability insurer did not provide coverage for $4.2 million judgment on spoliation of evidence suit under CGL Policy and Excess Policy because spoliation of evidence is for economic loss, not bodily injury or property damage, and the Insured’s subjective expectation of coverage for such suits did not rise to the level of objective reasonableness under the evidence presented and the Arizona reasonable expectations doctrine).
  • Nat’l Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford, et al. v. Lewis, M.D., et al., 898 F.Supp.2d 1132 (D.Ariz. 2012) (holding that general liability insurer did not have a duty to indemnify insured medical practice in eight underlying lawsuits for vicarious liability and negligent hiring, supervision and retention of cardiologist to the extent that the cardiologist groped and fondled the breasts of his female patients because such conduct, and all derivative theories of liability arising from such conduct, fell within the professional services exclusion).
  • Czapski v. Maher, 954 N.E.2d 237 (Ill.App. 1st Dist. 2011) (holding that a test driver of an automobile is a "customer" within meaning of policy exclusion that customers do not qualify as insureds under $5 million dollar commercial umbrella policy, and holding that client had no duty to indemnify any part of a $13.7 million dollar wrongful death verdict)
  • Phillips & Associates, P.C. v. Navigators Ins. Co., 764 F. Supp. 2d 1174, 2011 WL 537509 (D. Ariz., February 11, 2011) (finding that subject to a determination of no coverage, a carrier has the right to recovery from the insured defense and indemnity payments so long as carrier properly reserves those rights)
  • Leflet v. Redwood Fire & Casualty Ins. Co., 226 Ariz. 297, 247 P.3d 180 (Ariz.App. 2011) (court restricts the use of Morris agreements and finds insureds who enter into such agreements to the benefit of one carrier and to the detriment of another carrier violate the policy's cooperation clause)
  • Goble, et al. v. Beckwith, et al., No. CV2008-051863 (Maricopa County Sup. Ct., Ariz., Dec. 2, 2010) (holding that legal malpractice claims are barred by the statute of limitations because plaintiffs knew or should have known of the damages they sustained as a result of the alleged malpractice more than two years before filing suit)
  • College Book Centers, Inc. v. Carefree Foothills Homeowners' Association, 225 Ariz. 533, 241 P.3d 897 (App. 2010) (reversing jury verdict against association that it had waived right to enforce CC&R's and ruling that implied easement claim failed as a matter of law)
  • Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Jones, 695 F.Supp.2d 978 (D.Ariz. 2010) (motor vehicle exclusion precluded coverage for ATV accident on public street)
  • Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Market Finders Ins. Corp., 2009 WL 5125771 (9th Cir. 2009) (reinstating cause of action for professional negligence against managing general agent)
  • Johnson v. Clarke, 2009 WL 3756332 (Ariz. App. 2009) (holding that legal malpractice was time barred by two-year statute of limitation)
  • American Safety Cas. Ins. Co. v. City of Waukegan, 2009 WL 855795 (N.D. Ill. 2009) (granting summary judgment to carrier based upon insured's failure to timely tender defense of suit)
  • Colony Ins. Co. v. Events Plus, Inc., 585 F.Supp.2d 1148 (D. Ariz. 2008) (granting summary judgment to carrier based upon liquor liability exclusion)
  • National Cas. Co. v. Forge Indus. Staffing, Inc., 2008 WL 4874508 (N.D. Ill. 2008) (granting summary judgment to carrier holding that insured was not entitled to "Peppers" counsel)
  • Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. City of Waukegan, 2007 WL 2740521 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (granting carrier's motion to dismiss claim of bad faith)
  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church v. Church Mut. Ins. Co., 2006 WL 18488 (D. Ariz. 2006) (granting carrier's motion for summary judgment dismissing claim for bad faith)

 

Education

  • The John Marshall Law School
    ,
    J.D.
    ,
    cum laude
    ,
    1990
  • Trinity College
    ,
    B.A.
    ,
    1985

State Bar Admissions

  • Arizona, 1992
  • Illinois, 1990

Federal Court Admissions

  • United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2010
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2010
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2008
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2006
  • United States District Court, District of Arizona, 1992
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1990