Insurance Defence Litigation

Isaacs Odinocki LLP has a unique depth and breadth of experience representing insurance companies and carries on a varied insurance law practice. Isaacs Odinocki LLP represents several foreign and domestic insurers in a number of different lines.

We regularly represent insurers in commercial lines, such as commercial general liability, product liability, commercial auto fleet, equipment breakdown insurance, boiler and machinery insurance, professional errors and omissions insurance and personal lines such as home and auto.

Isaacs Odinocki LLP has defended a wide variety of matters on behalf of insurers from bodily injury claims arising out of slip and falls in grocery and retail stores to serious motor vehicle accidents and property damage claims arising out of building fires, structural collapses and complicated product defect claims.

Insurers have retained us to defend:

  • Brain injury claims
  • Bodily injury claims
  • Motor vehicle tort claims
  • Accident benefit claims
  • Loss transfer and priority disputes
  • Occupiers’ liability claims
  • Product liability claims
  • Professional liability claims
  • Property loss claims
  • Defamation claims
  • Libel and slander claims
  • Institutional sexual abuse claims


Insurance Coverage

The core of our coverage practice is provision of coverage advice to insurers and representing insurers on coverage applications and on appeal. We also advise individuals and corporations with respect to their rights under their policies and on coverage disputes.

Our coverage team has drafted over a thousand coverage opinions and we have handled numerous coverage applications and coverage actions.  We serve as exclusive coverage counsel to one of the largest personal lines insurers in Canada and provide coverage advice to corporate clients and policyholders who became engaged in disputes with their insurers.

On the advice side of the practice, we are acutely aware that when an insurer or an insured need a coverage question answered, the need is immediate.  We quickly investigate and analyze the insurance question and provide a coverage opinion in compressed time frame.  On the litigation side, we have been involved in some precedent setting cases with respect to the scope of exclusion clauses and the insurer’s “duty to defend” in liability policies.

We also provide advice and assistance in the development of new or revised insurance policies and are frequently called upon to review and comment on existing policy language.  We assist insurers with the drafting reservation of rights and position letters and, when necessary, provide ongoing advice with respect to coverage investigations.  We work closely with the special investigation units of our insurance clients in handling claims that are out-of-the-ordinary or unusual in some way.

Commercial Litigation

We have extensive experience in handling complex cases across the spectrum of business-related litigation. While we litigate all cases with an eye toward ultimately trying them, we understand that our clients wish us to strive to achieve the best possible results at a reasonable cost.  Over the years, we have represented clients in disputes arising in diverse circumstances, including:

  • commercial arbitrations
  • contract disputes
  • franchise disputes
  • debt collection and unpaid accounts
  • employment and wrongful dismissal claims
  • property ownership disputes
  • shareholder disputes and oppression remedy claims
  • regulatory proceedings
  • insurance disputes
  • failed construction project litigation

Maritime and Admiralty Law

Maritime and Admiralty Law concerns the international shipment of goods by sea and all other facets of maritime transportation from shipbuilding and supply to cargo damage and accidents that occur on the high seas or on Canada’s inland waterways.

Our firm is most well-known for its expertise in Maritime and Admiralty Law. George Strathy, the firm’s founder, was widely recognized as one of Canada’s best maritime lawyers prior to his appointment to the bench of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In March 2006 and again in May 2010, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named Isaacs Odinocki LLP’s predecessor firm Isaacs & Co. as one of Canada’s leading boutique law firms in the area of Admiralty and Transportation Law.

Marc Isaacs, has been named consistently one of the “Best Lawyers in Canada” for Maritime Law by his peers in since 2009.  Marc also teaches Admiralty Law at the University of Toronto Law School.

Our primary focus is litigation and dispute resolution of marine conflicts. We offer sound, timely and cost-effective solutions. When it has been necessary to go to trial, we have had great success.

We also have a significant practice in providing practical advice in the commercial setting for our shipping industry clients. This ranges from day-to-day business advice to the negotiation and completion of major corporate transactions affecting a shipping business.

Isaacs Odinocki LLP is regularly involved in all aspects of Maritime and Admiralty Law including matters involving:

  • Cargo damage claims
  • Arrest of vessels and enforcement of maritime liens
  • Maritime Collisions
  • Recreational and pleasure craft incidents
  • Maritime personal injury
  • Salvage claims
  • General Average claims
  • Tugs & Towage
  • Marine Insurance disputes
  • Shipping company bankruptcies
  • Oil or Noxious substances pollution incidents
  • Defence of environmental claims including charges by governmental authorities or civil liability claims
  • Maritime regulatory issues including government investigations
  • Ship sale agreements
  • Shipbuilding & repair contracts
  • Ship supply contracts and related disputes
  • Organization and finance of shipping companies
  • Chartering of vessels and related matters
  • Contracts of Affreightment


We also provide an emergency response for collisions, casualties, fire, explosions, oil spills or other incidents requiring an experienced maritime lawyer to be on the scene right away.

Representative Work

We have developed a successful and enviable record of verdicts on behalf of our clients, both at trial and on appeal.  We have responded to our client’s emergencies to obtain court orders for the immediate release of unlawfully detained cargo, an injunction to open a strike bound port and the arrest and bail of vessels.  We have also been responsive to attend on the scene at the time of a casualty in order to assist with an investigation whether it be from an insurance, claim recovery or potential regulatory prosecution perspective.  We have in the past attended at vessel collisions, groundings, ship board fires, dock strikings and oil pollution incidents.

When claims have to be litigated, we take a pragmatic approach to litigation and where appropriate, we promote early and cost effective resolution of claims through negotiation and mediation.  When it is necessary to go to court, we prepare thoroughly and have won the majority of our cases along with the respect of the court and the confidence of our clients.

Some examples of the typical matters that we have handled in the past few years include:

Shipping and Transport:

  • Regularly acting on behalf of cargo owners and cargo insurers in cargo damage claims of all types from heavy machinery to computer electronics and from bulk cargoes to fine wine.
  • Handled precedent setting case on the effect of foreign selection clauses in bills of lading under Canada’s Marine Liability Act.
  • Represented cargo owners in case involving the effect of “freight pre-paid” notations in intermediate freight forwarder bills of lading in multi party inter-modal carriage.
  • Successfully defended an international cargo insurer on a three week bi-lingual trial on an insufficiency of packaging defence arising out of corroded machinery.


Shipping Casualty:

  • Defended a shipowner in respect of a sizeable cargo damage claim due to an onboard fire.
  • Defended a shipowner with respect to multiple property damage claims arising out of a dock striking.
  • Acted for a shipowner in respect of total loss of the vessel including environmental abatement measures, salvage and wreck issues and the hull loss claim with underwriters.
  • Acted for a shipowner in a serious grounding incident and subsequent defence of property damage and personal injury claims.
  • Acted for cargo owner in the investigation and clean-up of a dangerous goods incident.
  • Acted for pleasure craft operator and insurers in multiple claims and injuries arising out of severe night-time recreational boating collision.
  • Acted for parties in Limitation of Liability actions.


Contract & Transactional:

  • Acted for shipowners in claims for dead freight.
  • Acted as marine counsel in a corporate merger wherein one of the subsidiary companies subsidiaries owned a fishing fleet.
  • Assisted shipowners and lenders with mortgage financing.
  • Acted for a shipowner in default of its loan obligations in respect of the sale of vessel to the mortgagee.
  • Assisted shareholders of a shipping company in a corporate reorganization.
  • Assisted in the creation of a shipping line joint venture.
  • Assisted shipowners with cabotage issues and obtaining Coasting Trade Act licenses for the temporary importation of foreign vessels.
  • Routinely advising on contracts of affreightment and Charterparty forms.



  • Acted for a shipowner with respect to an investigation of an oil pollution incident.
  • Attended, investigated and advised shipowner in connection with a hull breach and oil spill incident.
  • Defending an oil company in oil spills, including tank failures.
  • Prepared Transportation of Dangerous Goods response plans for shippers of Hazardous commodities.


Regulatory defence

  • Successfully defended a shipping company from multiple regulatory charges arising out of accident.
  • Defended the Master of a vessel in a criminal prosecution arising out of an allision and alleged breach of Canada Shipping Act
  • Defended ship owner in connection with charges laid for oil discharge.


Product Liability:

  • Acted for a shipowner in product liability claims against engine manufacturer.
  • Acted for hull insurers in total loss of vessel due to defective electrical wiring.
  • Acted for a shipowner in a claim for the supply of defective parts from a specialty manufacturer.

Transportation Law

As part of our practice we regularly become involved in all aspects of transportation litigation including Trucking, Rail and Air cargo transportation.

We handle cargo damage and loss cases on behalf of cargo insurers, cargo owners, trucking companies, freight forwarders and others involved in the transportation of goods. We often accept subrogation recovery cases from Cargo insurers and recovery agencies on a “no-cure, no-pay” basis which minimizes the risk and cost of litigation to our clients.  We also defend those involved in the carriage of goods from claims arising out of cargo damage or other casualties.

In addition to disputed matters, Isaacs Odinocki LLP also assists our transportation industry clients in maintaining the success and the growth of their business.  We have worked with clients to revise bills of lading, contracts of carriage and other commercial documents used in the industry.  Isaacs Odinocki LLP has also advised on transactions involving the establishment of shipping companies and the acquisition or sale of assets.

Another aspect of our transportation practice includes advising on the transportation of dangerous goods.  We have been involved in several cases involving hazardous material and worked with clients involved in shipping such goods to establish their emergency response plans and reporting protocols.

Property Loss

We have extensive experience in handling property loss cases, including fire claims, water discharge claims, explosions and construction losses. We work closely with insurance and engineering experts and become involved at an early stage to assist with resolving claims before litigation becomes necessary.

Over the years, we have represented clients in disputes arising in diverse circumstances:

  • Water damage claims to commercial and personal properties
  • Fire loss claims to commercial and personal properties
  • Sewer back-up claims
  • Warehouse collapse claims
  • Roof collapse claims

Hotel Liability

We represent the owners and operators of hotels and vacation resorts whose operations are located in the Caribbean, Mexico, the United States and across Europe. Each year, over three million Canadians travel to all-inclusive hotels where occasionally they are involved in accidents.  We represent clients before Courts in all Canadian jurisdictions (except Quebec) defending premise liability claims arising from slip and falls, sports accidents, tavern liability, dune buggy accidents, assaults, food poisonings.

To advance an effective defence in most of these claims, we become very familiar with our clients’ business structure and operations.  We frequently travel to locations of the alleged losses to direct scene investigations, evidence gathering and preservation.  Since many of the cases involve the determination of foreign law, we work with leading local law firms in all relevant jurisdictions.

Product Liability

Insurers have regularly retained us with respect to defend product liability claims.

We have been involved in cases involving issues with:

  • Engines, turbines and motors (both marine and non-marine)
  • Electrical wiring
  • Boilers
  • Fire protection systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Plumbing components
  • Barbeque valves
  • Wire ropes
  • Fuel oil tanks
  • Water softeners
  • Water heaters
  • Air handlers
  • Household appliances

Professional Liability

We have experience defending professionals who have been alleged for breaching their professional duties.

  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Veterinarians
  • Mortgage brokers
  • Lawyers
  • Insurance brokers
  • Insurance agents
  • Real estate agents
  • Investment advisors

Environmental Law

Environmental law advice and litigation forms a significant part of our practice. Our maritime practice regularly calls for our involvement in oil or hazardous substance pollution incidents such as spills of hazardous cargoes, fueling mishaps or the other discharge of pollutants into the environment. For many years we have acted for a large petro-chemical company dealing with issues and litigation over hydro-carbon based substance leaks and remediation efforts.

We also advise clients on the legal issues surrounding the transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous substances including oil, chemicals and radioactive materials.  Our practice extends beyond the litigation over accidents.  We have been involved in the development of emergency response plans, the preparation of reporting guidelines and manuals and remediation plans.

Over the years, we have represented clients in disputes arising from:

  • Oil spills
  • Petrochemical spills
  • Nuclear contamination