William M. Harter
Bill is a trial attorney in the litigation department who works primarily out of Frost Brown Todd's Columbus, Ohio office. His practice involves a significant amount of insurance coverage analysis and "bad faith" litigation, particularly in the state and federal courts in Ohio and West Virginia. After having been recognized eight times by Ohio Super Lawyers® magazine as a Rising Star in insurance coverage, Bill has more recently been selected for inclusion in the insurance law section of The Best Lawyers in America© for several consecutive years. Bill has also written and presented numerous times to CLEs, trade associations, and client gatherings on issues relating to insurance coverage and insurance claim handling.
Bill also actively defends and has a sizeable amount of first-chair trial experience on a wide range of non-insurance matters. These cases have involved trucking and transportation accidents, product liability suits, employment-related actions, and other high-exposure tort claims. Many of these matters have involved catastrophic or fatality injuries. Bill has also successfully briefed and argued matters in Ohio Courts of Appeals and has successfully opposed parties attempting to appeal issues to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Representative insurance coverage and/or bad faith non-trial results include:
- Successful resolution of eight-figure West Virginia coverage and bad faith action arising out of purported damage to coal plant and subsequent claim by owner against general contractor.
- Summary judgment for CGL insurer in Ohio based on contractual liability exclusion in $2 million claim related to component part failure within insured’s products.
- Summary judgment for automobile insurer in Ohio on $2 million UIM coverage question.
- Judgment on the pleadings for CGL insurer in Ohio following $800,000 judgment against insured based on injury to temporary employee.
- Summary judgment for homeowners' insurer in Ohio affirmed on appeal based on sexual molestation exclusion.
- Summary judgment for homeowners' insurer in West Virginia on claim arising out of alleged non-disclosure of defects on sale of home.
- Summary judgment for life insurer in Ohio on bad faith claim following initial denial and eventual payment of contract claim.
- Successful resolution of spoliation claim following fatality residential fire.
- Summary judgment for homeowners' insurer affirmed on appeal in West Virginia on spoliation claim following natural gas explosion.
Bill's first-chair trial experience includes:
- Ohio state court breach of contract and bad faith suit following residential fire (defense verdict affirmed on appeal).
- Federal court fraud and abuse of process claim (defense verdict).
- Ohio state court negligent misrepresentation claim against insurer and sales agent with stipulated damages of $900,000 (after the Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on most claims, including breach of contract and bad faith, a favorable settlement was secured on the plaintiffs' only surviving claim after the close of evidence).
- Commercial driver and employer defended in Ohio state court suit stemming from the death of a minor skateboarder (favorable settlement during trial).
- Federal court arson and bad faith case (directed verdict on bad faith and punitive damages despite adverse jury verdict on fire loss contract claim).
- First-party bad faith case arising out of UM claim defended in West Virginia state court (favorable verdict).
- Two-week disability discrimination suit defended in Ohio state court (defense verdict).
- Many appeals of workers' compensation allowance claim denials defended in Ohio state courts.
- Multiple student loan discharge adversary proceedings defended in United States Bankruptcy Courts, all resulting in denials of discharge, including one case featured in the New York Times.
In addition to his trial experience, Bill has resolved countless cases through dispositive motion briefing, mediation, arbitration, and direct settlement discussion.
Highlights & Recognitions
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Insurance Law, 2014-2019
- Selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars®, 2005, 2009-2015
Memberships & Affiliations
- Ohio State Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- West Virginia Bar Association
- Columbus Bar Association
- The CLM
- Ohio Supreme Court rules that employment intentional tort claims are excluded from coverage
- West Virginia Becomes 13th State to Require Insurance Information Disclosure
- Third-Party Bad Faith Returns to West Virginia as a Private Cause of Action
- Ohio Supreme Court Expands Scope Of Covered Damages
- West Virginia Undercuts Statute of Limitations Defense In Tort Actions
- 163 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019
- 161 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018
- 168 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017
- 175 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016
- 37 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® for 2015
- 175 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015
- 42 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers®
- 172 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized in 2014 Best Lawyers®
- 43 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 17 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2013
- 44 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 15 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2012
- 41 Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and 14 Recognized by Ohio Rising Stars® for 2011
Civic & Charitable Organizations
- Ohio High School Mock Trial Association volunteer
- Olentangy Youth Athletic Association and travel sports volunteer coach
- Regular volunteer for events at The Ohio State University College of Law