William M. Shernoff

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William M. Shernoff is the founding partner of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP, a law firm specializing in insurance bad faith litigation. A longtime consumer advocate, Mr. Shernoff has made a career of representing insurance consumers in their cases against insurance companies. In 1979, he persuaded the California Supreme Court to establish new case law that permits plaintiffs to sue insurance companies for bad faith seeking both compensatory and punitive damages when they unreasonably handle a policyholder’s claim (Egan v. Mutual of Omaha).

Often called the “pioneer” of bad faith insurance law, Attorney William Shernoff is a nationally recognized trail blazer in the field with decades of experience representing individual and business insurance consumers.  A frequent lecturer and writer, Mr. Shernoff co-authored the legal textbook, “Insurance bad Faith Litigation,” which has become the field’s definitive treatise, as well as “How to Make Insurance Companies Pay Your Claims . . . . And What To Do If They Don’t,” “Payment Refused” and “Fight Back and Win – And How To Make Your HMO Pay Up.” Mr. Shernoff has also been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and on “60 Minutes.” Chambers USA, an international attorney ranking service, called Mr. Shernoff the “dean of insurance bad faith” and stated that he’s “as good as it gets in that area.”

Mr. Shernoff has also been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and on “60 Minutes.” Mr. Shernoff is a Los Angeles based insurance bad faith lawyer, who maintains offices in Beverly Hills and Claremont California, has authored over 50 articles on insurance issues and is featured in the Rutter Group Seminar entitled “The Shernoff Insurance Bad Faith Seminar.”

Mr. Shernoff is handling lawsuits accusing health insurance carriers of routinely and illegally denying patients’ medical claims on the grounds that such treatments were not medically necessary even when recommended by treating doctors.  He is also involved in fighting on behalf of seniors who have suffered financial elder abuse by insurance companies who are denying legitimate insurance claims of seniors.

Landmark Cases

  • 1974:  $5 million punitive damages verdict for a roofer whose disability payments had been cut off (the seminal case that established the bad faith tort against insurers).
  • 1985: $86 million settlement for MGM Grand on insurance case involving hotel fire in Las Vegas hotel.
  • 1995:  $86.7 million insurance bad faith verdict (including $57 Million for punitive damages) on behalf of the American-Samoan government against Affiliated FM Insurance Co. involving hurricane damage.
  • 2009:  Participated in securing $5 billion settlement of Holocaust Insurance claims.

Verdicts and Settlements

  • 2012: $3.7 million arbitration award to a Kosher food distributor over claims the insurance company illegally refused to pay for damages caused by a fire.
  • 2011: $19 million verdict for paraplegic Marine whose insurance company overruled his treating doctor on the medical necessity of his 109-day hospital stay.
  • 2010: $2 million settlement for a woman who had her health insurance rescinded.
  • 2008:  $9 million punitive award to hairdresser who had health policy rescinded.
  • 1997:  $5 million insurance bad faith settlement on behalf of Northridge, CA earthquake victims.
  • 1995:  $65.75 million insurance settlement for entertainment industry companies in lawsuit over earthquake damage.
  • 1994: $1.5 million bad faith verdict for federal judge over fire loss in his home.
  • 1993:  $25 million punitive damages award in insurance fraud case against a carrier that allegedly misrepresented the scope of a health insurance policy and denied benefits to a cancer victim.
  • 1987:  $23 million insurance bad faith verdict (including $13 million punitive damages) for the owners of a hotel over the failure of its insurer to settle a personal injury case.
  • 1985: $8 million verdict in a double-indemnity insurance bad faith case involving a disputed life insurance policy provision.
  • 1981: $1 million verdict in punitive damages in an insurance bad faith case involving the disability claims of a truck driver who was denied coverage after being injured when his truck jackknifed.
  • 1981:  $50 million insurance settlement for Southern California Physicians group over malpractice insurance program for overcharging on premiums.
  • 1979: $3.7 million settlement over insurance proceeds for stolen jewelry and art.
  • 1976:  $4.5 million punitive damages verdict against an insurer who refused to pay a $48 claim for medicine and a hearing test.

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 Excellency in Advocacy Award – Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Top 25 Plaintiff Lawyers in California for 2015 – 2017 – Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Loyola Law School Champion of Justice, 2014
  • American Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 Lawyers
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year – Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association
  • Trial Lawyers of the Year – Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year – Consumer Attorneys of the Inland Empire
  • Best Lawyers’ 2014 Riverside Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Super Lawyer – Law & Politics Magazine (2004 – 2017)
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles – Hall of Fame
  • Consumer Watchdog – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Top 100: 2005 Southern California Super Lawyers
  • Senior Statesman, Chambers USA – Insurance: Policyholder 2016, 2017

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association (Order of Distinguished Attorneys)
  • Consumer Attorneys of California – Inland Empire
  • Consumer Attorneys of California (Former President)
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
  • Consumer Watchdog
  • Eastern Bar of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice

Areas of Practice

  • Bad Faith Insurance Law

Bar Admissions

  • United States District Court, Central Dist. of California
  • United States District Court, Southern Dist. of California
  • United States Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Supreme Court of the State of California


  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, J.D.
  • University of Miami, B.B.A.

Contact William M. Shernoff at wshernoff@shernoff.com