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Stephen J. Peters

Partner

  • Licensed Since: 1981
  • Joined Firm: 2014
  • Partner Since: 2014
300 N. Meridian
Suite 990
Indianapolis, IN 46204
TEL: (317) 964-2728
FAX: (317) 964-2744
Areas of Practice
Honors & Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America® for Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law and Litigation-Construction, 2013 - 2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating-AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • Indiana Super Lawyer in Appellate, Insurance Coverage and Business Litigation, Indiana Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters publication, 2009 - 2017
  • Litigation Counsel of America (Fellow, 2011 to present)
  • Indianapolis Bar Foundation, Distinguished Fellow, 2008
Education
  • Indiana University Mauer School of Law (Bloomington), J.D., 1980
  • Amherst College, cum laude, B.A., 1977
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Indiana, 1981
  • Indiana Supreme Court, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 1983
  • U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 1982
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1985
  • Admitted pro hac vice in Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois

Stephen J. Peters is the managing partner of Plunkett Cooney’s Indianapolis office. He handles high exposure civil litigation and appeals before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. 

Mr. Peters handles insurance coverage litigation, employment and civil rights claims, professional liability disputes and business litigation. His insurance coverage practice encompasses a variety of claims including declaratory judgment/bad faith litigation, construction defects, commercial general liability, errors and omissions liability, reinsurance, policy recission and reformation and many others.

In addition, Mr. Peters has extensive appellate experience, having served as primary or amicus curiae counsel in over 100 appeals in Indiana and other jurisdictions on important issues affecting insurance, tort and business law.

Mr. Peters was selected in 2011 as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society comprised of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in this organization is highly selective and by invitation only. He has been included on the annual lists of Best Lawyers in America and Indiana Super Lawyers. He also served for six years as a contributing editor of the CGL Reporter – published quarterly by the International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Representative Published Cases/Notable Cases

  • Minnesota Lawyers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Conour, 2014 WL 5089290 (S.D. Ind., October 8, 2014) (obtained summary judgment for insurer rescinding professional liability policies due to material misrepresentations and omissions in policy applications by lawyer and his law firm regarding multi-year embezzlement scheme)
  • Thompson, Inc. v Ins. Co. of Am., 11 N.E.3d 982 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) trans. denied (recognizing pro rata allocation method, rather than “all sums” allocation method, for long tail claims for former factory workers’ bodily injury/wrongful death class action against company in Taiwan)
  • Thomson Inc. v Continental Cas. Co., et al., 976 N.E.2d 763, (Ind. Ct. App., 2012) trans. denied (Affirming on grounds of comity, trial court’s summary judgment order giving deference to California court’s judicial determination of no coverage for environmental claims regarding contamination sites in California and the United Kingdom; written commendation in opinion for “high quality” of advocacy at oral argument)
  • DBL Axel LLC v LaSalle Bank National Association, 2011 WL 490538 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) rev’g 936 N.E.2d 326 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010) (as replacement appellate counsel was granted rehearing, thereby reversing trial court’s $1.4 million immediate turnover of funds in commercial real estate dispute)
  • Quanta Indemnity v Davis Homes, LLC, 606 F.Supp. 2d 941 (S.D. Ind. 2009) (in case of first impression, “deemer” clause in commercial general liability policy trumped multiple trigger of coverage adopted by prior Indiana case law; summary judgment granted finding no coverage owed by subsequent insurer for wrongful death/suicide claim where initial occurrence/injury and notice to prior insurer arose during prior insurer’s policy term)
  • The Winerton, LLC v Winerton Investors, LLC., 900 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009) trans. denied (vacated $774,000 damages verdict and entered summary judgment for defendant in breach of contract/specific performance action over sale of multi-tenant office park)
  • Amerisure, Inc. v Wurster Construction Co., Inc., 818 N.E.2d 998 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004) (no coverage for construction defects claim under commercial general liability policy; written commendation in opinion for “outstanding quality” of appellate briefs)
  • Meridian Mut. Ins. Co. v Purkey, 769 N.E.2d 1179 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) (Indiana Court of Appeals ruled no coverage for claims for damage under commercial general liability policy arising from an explosion and fire with resulting damages to a city block in Cicero, Indiana; written commendation in opinion for “superb oral and written advocacy”)
  • Cincinnati Ins. Co. v Wills, 717 N.E.2d 151 (Ind. 1999) (insurer’s use of house counsel to represent insureds in liability suits does not necessarily constitute the unauthorized practice of law and is permissible absent conflict of interest; amicus curiae for Indiana Chamber of Commerce, American Corporate Counsel Association, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., Indiana Manufacturers Association, and others)
  • Richey v. Chappell, 594 N.E.2d 443 (Ind. 1992) (insured-insurer privilege recognized in Indiana)
  • Webb v. Jarvis, 575 N.E.2d 992 (Ind. 1991) (formulated and advocated three-part test adopted in determining whether a duty of care existed to support a negligence claim)

Professional Affiliations

  • Indianapolis Bar Association (Executive Committee - Litigation Section, 2004 to Present; Secretary, 2006 - 2007; Vice Chair, 2007 - 2008; Chair Elect 2008 -2009; Chairman, 2009 - 2010; Immediate Past Chairman, 2011; Executive Committee -Appellate Practices Section, 2006 to Present; Treasurer, 2010; Secretary, 2011, Vice-Chair, 2012, Chair Elect, 2013; Chair, 2014; CLE Subcommittee Chair-2010 to 2013; Nominating Committee, 2010)
  • The Indiana Appellate Institute
  • Indiana Bar Association
  • Indianapolis Bar Foundation (Executive Committee, 2009 - 2013)
  • Lawyers Club of Indianapolis (Secretary, 2005 – present)
  • Bar Association for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • American Bar Association (TIPS Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee)
  • DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar (Insurance Law and Employment Law subcommittees)
  • Litigation Counsel of America (Fellow, 2011 to present)

Community Involvement

  • The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club (Advisory Board of Governors, 1996 - 2006; Club President, 2001 – 2004)
  • Hamilton Proper Community Association (Board of Directors, 2009 - 2011; President, 2009 to 2011)

Publications

  • CGL Reporter, Editorial Board, Contributing Editor, 2007 to 2013
  • The Reference Handbook on the Comprehensive General Liability Policy: Business Risks Exclusions, chapter co-author, ABA TIPS ICLC, 2010
  • DRI’s “Bad Faith Compendium Update” (Indiana), co-editor and co-author, Summer 2006
  • DRI’s “Bad Faith Compendium” (Indiana), co-editor and co-author, Spring 2004
  • DRI’s “Protecting The Privilege” National Publication Project co-editor and co-author, Fall 2001
  • Insurance Litigation in Indiana, co-editor and co-author, National Business Institute, 1992
  • Indiana Practice - Civil Trial Practice; co-editor and co-writer, Vol. 22, Chapter 34 "Dismissal and Judgment on the Evidence;" Chapter 35, "Verdicts" and Chapter 36, "Judgments"

Articles and Lectures

  • "The Ethics of Dealing With Insurance Companies in the Litigation Context," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, August 2014
  • "Interlocutory Appeals," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, December 2013
  • "Appellate Roundtable," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, May 2011
  • "Strategic and Tactical Considerations in Drafting Dispositive Motions," Guest Lecturer, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Advanced Legal Writing Classes, March 2011
  • "Advance Insurance Law," Panelist/Presenter, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Masters Level CLE, July 2010
  • "Preserving Appellate Error," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bench-Bar Association Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, June 2010
  • "64 Things Every Practitioners Should Know About Insurance Law: 8 Things to Know About Declaratory Judgment Practice," Panelist, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, December 2009
  • "Preserving Appellate Error: How To Make And Avoid Waiver Arguments On Appeal," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, August 2009
  • "Transfer, Rehearing and Supreme Court Proceedings," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, April, 2009
  • "Advance Insurance Law," Panelist/Presenter, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Masters Level CLE, French Lick Resort, Indiana,  August, 2008
  • "Interlocutory Appeals," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, June 2008
  • "Removal/Remand 101," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, April 2008
  • "Preserving Appellate Error at the Trial Court," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, April 2007
  • "The Battle Before the Battle: Venue and Choice of Law Disputes in Insurance Coverage Litigation," American Bar Association Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), 15th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Midyear Program, Tucson, AZ, February 2007
  • "Making and Opposing Post-Trial Motions in State and Federal Courts," Moderator/Panelist, Indianapolis Bar Association, October 2006
  • "Bad Faith Principles in Indiana - A to Z," Panelist/Presenter, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Masters Level CLE Seminar, Bloomington, Indiana, August 2006
  • "Is an "Occurrence" Just Another Tautology?," Panelist/Presenter, Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Defense Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, May 2006
  • "Practical Dos & Don'ts of Jury Trials in Federal and State Court," Seminar Chair/Moderator, Indianapolis Bar Association, 2005
  • "An Analysis of the Commercial Liability Policy in Business Litigation," Panelist/Presenter, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum,  Masters Level, CLE Seminar, March 2005 and Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana, 2005

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