Overview

Brent Burns is an experienced litigation attorney who represents insurance companies in bad faith litigation, property coverage disputes, and catastrophe mass filed/consolidated claims. He currently serves as counsel for major insurers, and he has overseen the defense of over 100 policy disputes. 

For nearly a decade Brent has been partnering with Special Investigative Units of insurers to fight fraudulent claims and defend against allegations of bad faith in Louisiana through attention to detail and the latest use of technology. He notably represented an insurer in a case where the court held that bad faith damages are not recoverable in auto theft claim cases unless the facts suggest a “clear cut theft or loss of a vehicle.” 

Brent’s knowledge of construction and government regulations has enabled him to efficiently handle a large volume of catastrophe claims resulting from both hurricanes and floods. His work as national counsel for a major insurer in a breach of contract case helped clarify the definition of “flood” in the context of the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Brent is from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and earned his B.A. from Louisiana College in 1999, attending on a full basketball athletic scholarship. He earned his juris doctor and civil law certificate from Tulane University in 2004.

Representative Matters

  • Zero Verdict – Following a jury trial on the merits, successfully defended a claim for breach of contract plus penalties and attorney fees for denial of coverage under a commercial insurance policy. The firm obtained a pre-trial Daubert ruling excluding the plaintiffs’ bad faith expert, and then went on to obtain a dismissal of the suit at the plaintiff’s cost. No. 10-651, United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • Bad Faith Dismissed on Summary Judgment – Obtained summary judgment dismissing bad faith allegations against one of Louisiana’s largest insurers. The court held that bad faith damages are not recoverable in auto theft claim cases unless the facts suggest a “clear cut theft or loss of a vehicle,” and that the plaintiffs must come forward with specific facts showing the insurer lacked a reasonable basis to investigate and defend against the auto theft claim rather than to “simply pay the claim without question.” In granting summary dismissal, the court noted that the insurer had based its decision on facts, which as a matter of law demonstrated the claim denial was reasonable. No. 11-1991, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Bad Faith Dismissed on Summary Judgment – Obtained summary judgment dismissing bad faith allegations against insurer in theft claim where the insurer argued it had a reasonable basis to investigate and defend against the claim. It was also argued that the plaintiff’s refusal to submit to a timely requested examination under oath prior to filing the lawsuit as provided for by the terms of the insuring agreement was an independent reasonable basis to investigate and defend against the claim. The court agreed that the decision to investigate the claim was not arbitrary and capricious and therefor, as a matter of law, dismissed the claim for bad faith. No. 687343, 24th JDC for the Parish of Jefferson
  • Summary Judgment on Coverage – Successfully obtained a summary judgment in a breach of contract case over a denied flood claim. The case helped clarify the definition of a flood under the National Flood Insurance Program. No. 10-21840, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Zero Recovery – Successfully defended all claims against a WYO Program carrier, arguing that the one year time limit to bring a lawsuit for a claim under the NFIP is triggered from the date of mailing the first written partial denial of the claim, and extra-contractual damages such as penalties, court costs, attorney’s fees, and legal interests are unrecoverable. The court agreed, awarding summary judgment in favor of insurer and dismissed all claims. No. 18-87-JWD-WED, United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • Summary Judgment on Claim Denial – The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the WYO Program carrier waived its right to assert no timely proof of loss as a defense in the litigation when the proof of loss issue was not the basis for the claim denial. The court additionally found that equitable estoppel claims were not available against the WYO Program carrier and dismissed plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. No. 17-00372, United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division
  • Misrepresentation Claim Dismissed on Summary Judgment – Obtained summary judgment dismissing claim of negligent misrepresentation by a WYO Program carrier. The court held that because the alleged misrepresentations occurred before the policy had lapsed, the interactions in question constituted “claims handling,” which are pre-empted by federal law. The court further noted that the NFIP is federally governed and funded, and, as a result, dismissed plaintiffs’ state law claims with prejudice as preempted. No. 16-12555, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

News & Appearances

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • New Orleans Bar Association

Education

Tulane University Law School, J.D., 2004, Civil Law Certificate

Louisiana College, B.A. , 1999

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
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