Douglas K. Wood

Partner
Morris Polich & Purdy LLP
San Francisco
Direct:415.984.8502
Main:415.984.8500

Practice & Industry Focus Biographies:

  • Main Biography

Doug is the Firm’s Insurance Practice Group Leader. In that role, he manages and leads all MPP’s insurance-related Practice Areas, including:

  • Extra-Contractual / Bad Faith Litigation
  • Coverage Litigation (1st & 3rd Party)
  • First Party Property Coverage
  • Third Party Liability Coverage
  • Specialty Coverages, which include:
    - Transportation Coverage (including marine, trucking, and aviation law)
    - Environmental / Pollution Coverage
    - SIU / Potentially Fraudulent Claims

Similarly, Doug’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of complex property and casualty insurance coverage issues, disputes, and litigation, including difficult cases arising out of arson fires and suspected fraudulent claims. During his 30+ years of practice, Doug has successfully defended clients in many such cases through trial and appeal. Over the years, Doug also has litigated insurance subrogation cases, real estate actions, products liability cases, construction defect cases, and general business disputes.

Doug gained early trial experience serving the People of California as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Alameda. He tried his first Insurance “Bad Faith” case decades ago, and has been representing and defending insurers in coverage and “Bad Faith” litigation involving complex insurance claims and disputes ever since.

During law school, Doug served as an Editor and Member of the Hastings Law Journal, and worked as an extern law clerk for the Honorable Eugene F. Lynch, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Later, while practicing law full time, Doug also served for several years as an Adjunct Professor of Law for the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, teaching Trial Evidence and Advocacy.

Before joining Morris Polich & Purdy LLP, Doug was a Founding Partner of Rudloff Wood & Barrows LLP, a property and casualty insurance and "bad faith" boutique. From 1992 to 1998, Doug was an Equity Partner in Gordon & Rees. Doug started his career at Cooley Godward in 1985.

Practices & Industries:  Aviation & Marine Law  |  Insurance - Bad Faith Litigation  |  Insurance - Coverage Litigation (1st & 3rd Party)  |  Insurance - First Party Property Coverage  |  Insurance - Specialty Coverages  |  Insurance - Third Party Liability Coverage 

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1985, magna cum laude
  • B.A., University of the Pacific, 1980, History and Pre-Law, two years Conservatory of Music, cum laude

Court Admissions

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Central, Eastern and Northern Districts of California

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1985

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Property & Liability Research Bureau (PLRB) National Conference Planning Committee (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016)
  • American Bar Association (Trial Practice, Litigation, and Tort & Insurance Practice Sections)
  • ABA/TIPS Property Insurance Law Committee
  • International Association of Arson Investigators
  • California Conference of Arson Investigators
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • Several other trial, insurance and litigation practice organizations

Distinctions

  • Top Rated Attorneys of San Francisco, 2016
  • Top 5%, AV Preeminent® rated Legal Leaders: Litigation Law 2016, The American Lawyer, National Law Journal and Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top 1% - America's Most Honored Professionals Award, American Registry, 2016
  • Top Attorney in Northern California, San Francisco Magazine, 2015
  • San Francisco's Top Rated Lawyers, Legal Leaders 2014-2015
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated - Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law 2014, American Lawyer Magazine, National Law Journal and Martindale-Hubbell
  • Bay Area's Best Insurance Lawyers
  • America's Most Honored Professionals 2014, Top 5%, The American Registry
  • Outstanding Presentations Award - PLRB/LIRB 2012 National Claims Conference
  • California Conference of Arson Investigators: "Distinguished Service - Outgoing Board Member" Award, 2008 
  • Order of the Coif
  • Thurston Honor Society
  • For twelve consecutive years (2005-2016) Doug Wood has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer in a survey distributed by Thomson Reuters, a distinction honoring the top 5% of lawyers in the region

Other Information

  • Instrument rated private pilot

Speeches, Publications and Email Alerts

Bad Faith / Coverage Litigation

Publications

  • Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony (California Continuing Education of the Bar treatise, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) Chapter 6, "Origin & Cause of Fire," co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis    
  • Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases (California Continuing Education of the Bar treatise) Chapter 12, "Origin & Cause of Fire" (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis
  • Author, "Ability of Insurance Carriers in California to Obtain Insureds’ Income Tax Returns Despite the Income Tax Privilege," MPP Email Alert, May 24, 2016

Training Courses / Presentations

  • Quoted / Video Feature, "Tips on Handling the Latest Bad Faith Trends", Claims Journal, April 20, 2017 Click here for video. 
  • "Adjuster as Witness: Seven Deadly Sins", 2017 Property & Liability Resource Bureau Claims Conference, March 27-28, 2017
  • "Bad Faith Nightmares: Recent Trends & Themes", Combined Claims Conference, March 7, 2017
  • “Bad Faith Nightmares – Current Trends – and – Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins of Testimony,” 2016 Pacific Claims Executives Association Conference, October 13, 3016
  • Instructor, IAAI Expert Witness and Courtroom Testimony, June 2016
  • The Deposition Part 1: Format, Content, and Preparation (Co-author and on-camera Subject Matter Expert, CFITrainer.Net® on-line IAAI training course)
  • The Deposition Part 2: Questioning Tactics and Effective Responses (Co-author and on-camera Subject Matter Expert, CFITrainer.Net® on-line IAAI training course)
  • Legal Systems and Environment IAAI training course (Co-author)
  • "Seven Deadly Sins of Adjuster Deposition Testimony"
    - Presentation hosted by ServPro of Vista and Fire Cause Analysis, May 17, 2017
    - Southern California Fraud Investigators' Association's (SCFIA) 2016 Training Conference, October 25, 2016
    - Combined Claim Conference, co-presented with FCA principal Ulises Castellon and State Farm SIU Team Manager Jim Smith, March 8, 2016
    - Northern California Fraud Investigators Association (NCFIA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, April 2, 2015
    - Sacramento Claim Association (SCA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, January 8, 2015
    - Claims Conference of Northern California (CCNC), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, August 19, 2014
    - "Preparing the Company Witness to Testify," Wawanesa Insurance Company, September 2006
    - "To Tell the Truth…Effectively (Preparing the Company Witness to Testify)," Encompass Insurance, May 2001
    - "Preparing a Company Witness for Deposition," Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Conference, March 2001
  • "Your Claim File On Trial"
    - Wawanesa Insurance Company, September 2006
    - East Bay Claim Adjusters Association, May 2006
    - Civil Service Employees Insurance Group, April 2006
    - Central Coast Claims Association, May 2000
    - Farmer’s Insurance, July 1998
    - Nevada Claims Association, May 1998
    - Mount Diablo Claims Association, March 1998
    - East Bay Adjusters Association, October 1997
    - Blue Goose, August 1997
    - "Your Claim File On Trial (Mock Cross-Exam of a Claim Rep)," Sacramento Property Claims Association, March 1997
  • Punitive Damages
    - "Legal Updates, Including Punitive Damages," Claim Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 2006
    - "Bad Faith & Punitive Damages," Claim Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 2005
  • "Rescission v. Void," State Farm General Insurance Company, February 2005
  • "Trial of an Arson Case Including: Lawyer ‘Tricks’ and Witness ‘Tools’"
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Educational Conference, March 2004
    - California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Annual Educational Conference, January 2004
  • "Advance Skills: Trial of a Fire Case"
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Educational Conference, March 2003, April 2002
    - Sonoma County Arson Task Force, June 2001
  • "It’s All in How You See It," State Farm California SIU Training Program (selected by SIU Management and Corporate Law Department as one of six attorneys in the state to develop and present this daylong training seminar), 2001
  • "Courtroom Impact," Center for Continuing Education, June 2001
  • Educational Mock Trials
    - State Farm California SIU Training Program, 2001
    - California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Annual Educational Conference, January 2001
    - CPCU All Industry Day, November 1996
  • "Photosound Trial– Lessons Learned Re First Party Fraud Investigations and Trials," State Farm N. Cal SIU’s Training Seminar, May 1999
  • "Spoliation and Trial," Mount Diablo Claims Association, October 1997

Expert Witness

Publications

  • Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony (California Continuing Education of the Bar treatise, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) Chapter 6, "Origin & Cause of Fire," co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis
  • Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases (California Continuing Education of the Bar treatise) Chapter 12, "Origin & Cause of Fire" (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis

Training Courses / Presentations

  • "Experts - Legal Guidelines and Practical Tips" and "Spoliation of Evidence," Claims Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 2010
  • "Experts - Legal Guidelines and Practical Tips," Property Claims Association of the Pacific (PCAP), July 15, 2010
  • "The Daubert Challenge…and Beyond," Southern California CPCU Society, April 2010
  • "Experts at Trial," International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) – Oregon Chapter – Advanced Fire & Arson Seminar, September 2005
  • "Expert Evidence, Daubert and Beyond…" State Farm SIUs, May 2002
  • "Litigation and Trial of a Fire Case – Working With and Preparing the Expert Fire Investigator to Testify," interactive workshop, Sonoma County Arson Task Force, February 2002
  • "Selection of Experts," ABA/TIPS/ILC – National Arson Institute, March 1999

 Insurance Coverage & Investigation

Publications

  • California Property Insurance: Law and Litigation Treatise (California Continuing Education of the Bar)
    - Co-author, (2017 update) Chapter 3, "Insurable Interest"
    - Co-author, (2017 update) Chapter 4, "Insuring Secured Lenders and Lienholders"
    - Co-author, (2017 update) Chapter 7, "Business Interruption and Other Business Coverages"
    - Co-author (2016, 2017 Ed. update), Chapter 8, "Causation and Common Exclusions"
    - Co-author (2016, 2017 Ed. update) Chapter 12, "Calculating Liability: Measure of Indemnity"
  • California and Nevada Insurance Coverage Newsletter, Morris Polich & Purdy LLP, Contributor, 2016 Vol. 1
  • "'Innocent Co-insureds' Gain Broader Insurance Protection," Los Angeles Daily Journal, February 22, 2011
  • "Landmark Property Insurance Decision - California Supreme Court Invalidates 'Any' Insured Policy Exclusions," February 17, 2011
  • "Progressive Losses: Issues, Problems & Solutions," article, Property Loss Research Bureau, 2008

Training Courses / Presentations

  • "Ethics and the Claim Adjuster," 2012 Combined Claims Conference (CCC), March 14, 2012
  • "Forensic Cause of Loss Evaluation and Spoliation of Evidence," Claims Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 2010
  • "Rescission v. Void," State Farm SIU Joint Meeting Training, June 2009
  • "Analytical Outlines and Investigative Plans," State Farm SIU Joint Meeting Training, June 2009
  • "Progressive Losses: Issues, Problems & Solutions"
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Educational Conference, March 2009
    - All Industry Day, May 2008
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Educational Conference, March 2008
  • "Analytical Outlines & Investigative Plans," State Farm General Insurance Company, February 2005
  • "Rescission v. Void," State Farm General Insurance Company, February 2005
  • "Significant Developments in the Law – The Northridge Earthquake: Earth-Shaking Legal Aftershocks?" California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Annual Educational Conference, January 2002
  • "The Role of the Public Adjuster," ABA/TIPS – Property Insurance Law Committee: "Cutting Edge Issues in Property Insurance Claims Following a Natural or Man-Made Disaster," April 2001
  • "Denial of Claims: Issues and Problems," MCLE, January 2001
  • "Hot" Property Law Developments, Claim Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 2001 (Lead panel discussion)
  • "Current Case Law Developments – ACV – Cheeks v. Cal. Fair Plan," Claims Conference of Northern California (CCNC), September 1999
  • "Current Legal Issues and Problems," State Farm All California Training Conference, October 1998
  • "Working with Public Adjusters," March 1997

Arson / Fraud Investigation

Publications

  • Kirk's Fire Investigation, by Dr. John DeHaan (5th, 6th and 7th Editions), responsible for updating and rewriting chapters 16 (Arson as a Crime) and 17 (Other Investigative Topics), and for peer reviewing other chapters in this well-known treatise
  • Origin & Cause of Fire, Chapter 6 in Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony (California Continuing Education of the Bar, 2014, 2015, 2016), co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis
  • Origin & Cause of Fire, Chapter 12 in Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases (California Continuing Education of the Bar, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), co-authored with principals from Fire Cause Analysis
  • Author, "Ability of Insurance Carriers in California to Obtain Insureds’ Income Tax Returns Despite the Income Tax Privilege," MPP Email Alert, May 24, 2016

Training Courses / Presentations

  • "Fire and Explosion Investigations that Sizzle", Property & Liability Resources Bureau’s 2017 Regional Adjusters Conference, June 14-15, 2017
  • "Anatomy of an Arson – Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll" 
    - Combined Claims Conference, March 7, 2017
    - Southern California Fraud Investigators Association's Lunch & Learn – co-presented with FCA principal Ulises Castellon, August 4, 2016
  • "Earth, Wind and Fire – an Overview of Wildland Fires", Northern California Fraud Investigators Association 2016 Educational Conference, co-presented with FCA principal Ulises Castellon, March 24, 2016 
  • "Fire Claim Investigation: Subro, Arson and Other Exposures"
    - Claim Conference of Northern California (CCNC) – presented with re Cause Analysis principal Don Perkins, August 10, 2015
    - Property & Liability Research Bureau (PLRB) National Conference, co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon and Cunningham Lindsey National General Adjuster Amy O’Rorke (Major & Complex Loss), March 31 & April 1, 2015
  • Arson Case Studies
    - “True Lies: Arson Case Studies”, Southern California Fraud Investigators Association (SCFIA) Conference, co-presented with Ulises Castellon, Vice President of Operations of Fire Cause Analysis, November 6, 2015
  • "From Everest to Arsonist – A Case Study"
    - Southern California Fraud Investigators Association (SCFIA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, October 30, 2013
    - Claims Conference of Northern California (NCFIA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, September 16, 2013
    - Northern California Fraud Investigators Association (NCFIA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, March 28, 2013
    - Combined Claim Conference (CCC), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, March 12, 2013
  • “Fire Loss Investigation Strategies”
    - 2015 National ConnectForce Claims Difference Makers Conference, New Orleans, February 11, 2015
    - Webinar (available to PLRB Members on-line) – Property & Liability Research Bureau (PLRB), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, April 10, 2014
    - San Diego Independent Adjusters Association (SDIAA), co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, May 6, 2014
    - Wawanesa Insurance Company, co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, May 19, 2014
  • “NFPA 921 / 1033 Updates”, Wawanesa Insurance Company, co-presented with Fire Cause Analysis principal Ulises Castellon, May 19, 2014
  • "Your Arson Investigation on Trial"
    - International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), North Carolina & South Carolina Chapters’Educational Conference
    - California Conference of Arson Investigator (CCAI) Sacramento Roundtable, February 5, 2013
    - California Conference of Arson Investigator (CCAI) Training Seminar, October 2012
    - "Investigation and Trial of an Arson Case," All California SIU – State Farm, September 1999
    - "Trial of an Arson Case," All Industry Day, May 2008
  • "Your Investigation Report Under the Microscope"
    - International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), North Carolina & South Carolina Chapters’ Educational Conference
    - California Conference of Arson Investigator (CCAI) Training Seminar, October 2012
  • "Arson Claims: Investigation, Evaluation & Resolution"
    - California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Training Seminar, October 2012
    - NCFIA 22nd Annual Anti-Fraud Training Conference, April 20, 2011
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Educational Conference, March 2010
    - "DNA of An Arson Investigation," Southern California Fraud Investigators Association (SCFIA) 34th Training Conference, November 2, 2011
    - "Anatomy of an Arson – Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll," Southern California Combined Claim Conference (CCC), April 2010
    - "DNA of Fire Investigation," and "Working With Your C&O" and "Spoliation of Evidence Issues on the Fire Scene," State Farm California SIU Units, March 1997
    - "Arson Claims Investigation," State Farm SIU Training Course, May 2007
    - "Fire Scene Investigation, Litigation and Trial," State Farm All California Training Conference, October 1998
    - "Advanced Fire Investigation and Fire Litigation," Training Operations Management, September 1998
  • "SIU Claims: Successfully Navigating the Minefield"
    - Anti-Fraud Alliance/Northern California Fraud Investigator's Association (NCFIA) 28th Annual Anti-Fraud Conference, April 13, 2017
    - PLRB/LIRB Claims Conference, April 16 and 17, 2012
    - Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB) National Conference, April 4 & 5, 2011
    - Combined Claims Conference (CCC), March 30, 2011
  • Interactions with Law Enforcement
    - "Why Can't We Be Friends? The Interplay Between Insurance Carriers and Public Agencies," Insurance Committee for Arson Control (ICAC) 23rd Annual Arson & Fire Investigation Seminar, February 27, 2012
    - “The DA & EUOs”, “Fraud & Arson Reporting”, and “Information to Other Agencies”, State Farm Difficult Claim Issues Conference, August 2000
    - "DOI Fraud Reports, RofR Letters, and Other Issues," State Farm Staff Meeting – SIU, September 2000
    - "Working With Informants and Dealing With the Authorities," Defense Research Institute (DRI), May 1999
  • Selection of Fire O&C Experts
    - "Selection and Management of Fire Origin & Cause Experts," Mercury Casualty Company, April 12, 2011
    - Selection of Experts, and Laboratory Services, State Farm Difficult Claim Issues Conference, August 2000
  • Fire Investigation Technical Issues
    - "NFPA 921 Update – Fire Investigation and Litigation," CCAI, July 2009
    - "‘Negative Corpus’ (Process of Elimination)," International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) – Oregon Chapter – Advanced Fire & Arson Seminar, September 2005
    - "Origin & Cause Report Writing – How Will Yours Hold Up?" California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Annual Educational Conference, January 2003
  • "‘Negative Corpus’ (Process of Elimination)" (March, May, August, September)
  • "Trial of an Arson Case Including: Lawyer ‘Tricks’ and Witness ‘Tools’"
    - California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Roundtable, (May, September 2005)
    - "Advance Fire Investigation and Litigation," Sonoma County Emergency Services & State Farm, May 2000
    - "Fire Investigation, Claims, Litigation and Trial– The Lawyer’s View…" Advanced Fire Investigation Seminar, Ventura Fire Department, February 2000
  • "Motive," California Conference of Arson Investigators (CCAI) Annual Educational Conference, January 2001
  • "Third Party Exposures – Intentional Acts," State Farm N. Cal. SIU’s Training Seminar, April 1999