Mark D. Plevin is a Crowell & Moring partner who currently devotes most of his time to litigating in the bankruptcy and insurance coverage areas. His unusual blend of experience in these two distinct areas has resulted in him assuming a lead counsel role, on behalf of both U.S. and international insurers, in some of the nation's most important asbestos bankruptcy cases. Mark also litigates major insurance coverage cases and handles appeals in both bankruptcy and insurance matters.
In the asbestos bankruptcy area, Mark recently served as lead trial counsel for several insurers in the Plant Insulation and Thorpe Insulation confirmation hearings. Before that, Mark was lead trial counsel for several insurers in the Combustion Engineering confirmation hearing, then orally argued for those insurers in the subsequent district court and Third Circuit appeals; in JT Thorpe, Mark argued in the Fifth Circuit the insurers' appeal of the confirmation order, having first obtained a stay of the confirmation order pending appeal; and Mark was also lead trial counsel for certain insurers during the Federal-Mogul and W.R. Grace confirmation hearings.
Mark has also represented insurers in bankruptcy cases involving mass torts besides asbestos, such as silica, defective home heating furnaces, defective home plumbing systems, and environmental pollution. Outside the mass tort area, Mark has represented both debtors and creditors in bankruptcy cases, and in non-mass tort cases, throughout the country. He was one of the debtors' lawyers in Baldwin-United, then the nation's largest-ever Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Mark's creditor representations have included manufacturing companies, banks, airlines, consulting firms, insurance companies, shopping center owners, and defendants in actions seeking to avoid preferences or fraudulent conveyances. He has litigated a broad range of bankruptcy matters, including plan confirmation objections, automatic stay issues, issues concerning the sale and disposition of significant assets, claim objections, estimation proceedings, motions to appoint trustees, avoidance actions, adequacy of disclosure statements, turnover matters, approvals of settlements, and bankruptcy court jurisdiction and venue issues. Some of these matters involved trials in which Mark acted as lead counsel, and some involved appeals that Mark argued. In addition to litigating, Mark also counsels bankruptcy clients in pre-litigation situations, including negotiating prepackaged bankruptcy plans.
In the insurance coverage area, Mark has long experience as lead counsel representing insurers in cases involving environmental, asbestos, and products liability underlying claims. For example: in American Home Products, a multi-phase case involving 39 separate contaminated sites, Mark won several summary judgment rulings knocking out of the case several of the most costly sites; in Exxon Corporation, an environmental insurance coverage lawsuit concerning Exxon's claims for more than $1.5 billion in insurance coverage relating to approximately 5200 sites in the United States and Canada, Mark's clients won nine summary adjudication motions and settled after trial commenced; and in In re Eljer-Brass Insurance Coverage Litigation, a products liability coverage case, the Illinois Supreme Court, following Mark's oral argument, adopted a "trigger of coverage" ruling sought by our clients and other insurance companies. Currently, Mark is representing insurers in coverage litigation involving the National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, handling other coverage litigation in California, West Virginia, Illinois, Washington state, and Pennsylvania, and coordinating the activities of local counsel in coverage litigation in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
Mark has recently represented different insurers in connection with their surety exposures, including in the W.R. Grace bankruptcy and in a series of cases in the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit involving customs bonds.
On several occasions, Mark has teamed with lawyers from the firm's Torts Group and Corporate Group to counsel clients who were considering purchasing or investing in companies that face exposure to asbestos liabilities regarding the risks and benefits of such proposed transactions as well as possible structures for such transactions.
Mark has repeatedly been named one of the top lawyers in both the bankruptcy and insurance fields by Chambers USA. Chambers currently ranks Mark nationally in insurance and in California in bankruptcy and insurance. Mark has also repeatedly been listed in The Best Lawyers In America for both bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law and insurance law, in the Guide to the World's Leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers and the Guide to the World's Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers, and as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer in the field of Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights.
Mark regularly speaks on bankruptcy, insurance, and litigation topics. He has spoken at conferences or seminars for the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the Third Circuit Judicial Conference, the American Bankruptcy Institute, Perrin Conferences, Mealey's Lexis-Nexis, ALI-ABA, the Practising Law Institute, HB Conferences, and at law school symposia.
Mark joined Crowell & Moring in 1992 after practicing for eleven years with O'Melveny & Myers in both Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, where he was in that firm's Litigation Department and Bankruptcy Group.
Before starting law school, Mark was sports director of WCDB-FM and WSUA-AM in Albany, New York, where he did play-by-play of college basketball, football, and soccer and NHL hockey.