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Catherine "Cassie"
Fornias Giarrusso

Catherine (“Cassie”) Fornias Giarrusso is a founding member of the firm. She represents insurers in state and federal courts in the Gulf South in coverage and bad faith litigation.

About

Her insurance coverage experience includes first-party and third-party claims involving commercial and personal lines. She routinely advises insurers pre-suit regarding coverage issues and defends insurers in lawsuits involving coverage and bad faith claims.  She also has advised clients on appeals and briefed and argued matters in the Louisiana and federal appellate courts, including the federal Fifth and Sixth Circuits.  Cassie repeatedly has been recognized as a leading lawyer in Louisiana for insurance coverage and appellate law, including by Louisiana Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and New Orleans Magazine. 
 
Cassie is licensed in Louisiana and Texas and practiced labor and employment law with an international law firm in Houston before returning to Louisiana in 2004. Before beginning her practice in Louisiana, Cassie clerked for Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Cassie graduated first in her class from Tulane Law School, receiving the prestigious Faculty Medal and serving as member of the Tulane Law Review

Practice Areas

Notable representations

  • Prevailed in summary judgment for CGL insurer based on pollution exclusion and successfully briefed and argued appeal to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Briefed and argued appeal for commercial property insurer in federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, obtaining reversal of summary judgment on priority of coverage issue.

  • Defended primary insurer, through trial and federal Fifth Circuit appeal, against excess insurer's claim to recover a multi-million dollar excess judgment based on allegation that primary insurer failed to properly defend insured.

  • Defended CGL insurer, and recovered millions of dollars, in coverage trial and federal Fifth Circuit appeal involving claims in excess of $12 million arising from a FEMA trailer explosion.
    Prevailed on summary judgment for homeowners insurers in connection with Chinese drywall claims.

  • Represented CGL insurer through successful summary judgment and federal Fifth Circuit appeal in construction claim involving professional liability exclusion.

  • Represented insurers in homeowners and commercial claims arising from Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Ida, Katrina, and Rita.

  • Represented insurer in multi-million dollar coverage claim arising from BP oil spill.

Education

  • Tulane University School of Law, summa cum laude, 2002

  • University of Texas, highest honors, B.A., Plan II Honors Program, 1998

Experience

  • Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C.

  • Law Clerk to Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Louisiana Supreme Court

  • Vinson & Elkins, LLP, Houston, Texas

Honors and Achievements

  • Super Lawyers Louisiana 

    • Top 50 Louisiana, 2024

    • Top 25 Women Louisiana, 2024

    • Top 50 New Orleans, 2024

    • Leading Lawyer (Insurance Coverage) 2017-18, 2020-2024

  • New Orleans Magazine, Top Lawyer, 2022 (Appellate and Insurance), 2021 (Insurance), 2018-19 (Appellate)

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2021-24 (Insurance)

  • Inside New Orleans, Elite Lawyer, 2023

  • New Orleans CityBusiness, Leadership in Law, 2018

  • Faculty Medal, Tulane Law School 

  • Order of the Coif

  • Tulane Law Review, Articles Editor

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