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 third­party claims involving both 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/or 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 the state 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 for two years with an international law firm in Houston before moving home to Louisiana in 2004. Before beginning her practice in Louisiana, Cassie served as a law clerk 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

  • Successfully 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.

  • Successfully 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 insurer, and recovered of millions of dollars of payments, 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 in representation of homeowners insurers in connection with claims alleging coverage for damage caused by defective Chinese drywall.

  • Represented CGL insurer through successful summary judgment and federal Fifth Circuit appeal on claim arising from construction project and involving application of 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

  • Louisiana Super Lawyer, Leading Lawyer (Insurance Coverage) 2017-18, 2020-22

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

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2021-22 (Insurance)

  • Inside New Orleans, Elite Lawyer, 2022

  • New Orleans CityBusiness, Leadership in Law, 2018

  • Order of the Coif

  • Tulane Law Review, Articles Editor

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