Neo J. Tuytel
Neo Tuytel is a senior business litigator with extensive experience and a track record of exceptional success in resolving complex, high value claims for coverage under insurance policies, and other commercial disputes, including liability for environmental contamination. Neo routinely negotiates settlements of claims before any lawsuit is commenced, on the one hand, and has had notable successes in pursuing cases to the Supreme Court of Canada as well as the British Columbia Court of Appeal, on the other. He has also succeeded on appeals in cases previously handled by other lawyers, and acts as co-counsel with, or as a consultant providing advice, to other law firms.
In his more than 30 years as a lawyer, Neo has developed a reputation across and beyond Canada, as an authority on and skillful enforcer of insurance coverage, as well as prosecutor of negligence claims against insurance brokers, including recovery of damage to policyholders' own property and loss of business and insurers' duty to defend and indemnify against claims for liability to others. Neo has substantial prior experience as defence and coverage counsel for insurers, as well as brokers, but now acts almost exclusively for policyholders. He is also a prolific published author and speaker on coverage issues, as well as longstanding general editor of a national insurance law publication.
Neo's experience and success resolving environmental contamination claims includes two of the most complex and costly contaminated site remediation projects ever undertaken in British Columbia. His track record in resolving other commercial disputes includes winning in the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as litigating, arbitrating and settling numerous claims for breach of contract, as well as fiduciary duty and other tortious acts or omissions.
Before co-founding Fraser Litigation Group, Neo practiced for 15 years with a prominent, full-service regional firm, and then a boutique Vancouver firm which focused on litigation and maritime law. He obtained his law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1984, was called to the Bar in 1985 and accredited as a mediator in 1994.
In addition to the following examples, you can click these links for Neo's more detailed track record, regarding generally enforcement of insurance coverage and recovery from negligent insurance brokers, and enforcing insurance coverage and recovery from insurance brokers, specifically under policies covering property damage, business interruption and other first party claims, or the duty to defend and indemnify third party liability claims.
- West Van Holdings v Economical Mutual Insurance (December 2017): obtained order that recent CGL insurers pay for defence of claim for remediation of historic environmental contamination, despite 'absolute' pollution exclusion, as well as policyholder's actual legal costs of enforcing coverage
- Co-operators General Insurance v. Kane (September 2017): obtained order that homeowner's insurer pay for defence of mixed assault and negligence claims, as well as his actual legal costs to enforce coverage
- Fraser Cedar Products v. Lloyds Underwriters (2016): obtained interim award in arbitration, summarily dismissing various defences of insurer to coverage for substantial destruction of lumber mill by fire, as well as business interruption loss, and subsequently settled claim before main hearing
- Kruger Products Limited v. First Choice Logistics Inc. (2013 BCCA) and North Newton Warehouses Ltd. v. Alliance Woodcraft Manufacturing Inc. (2005 BCCA): won appeals on two leading cases about immunity from subrogated claims under insurance covenants in lease and warehousing contract, and obtained dismissal of actions for destruction of premises and contents by fire (Kruger being worth more than $15 million, and previously handled by other counsel)
- Arbitration of product handling rate at marine terminal (2010): obtained award of less than half rate sought by terminal operator, for handling products during renewal period of contract, and most of client's actual legal costs
- Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada (2010 SCC): winning co-counsel on appeal in one of the leading cases about the duty to defend under liability policies, obtaining order that insurer pay for defence of general contractor in multiple construction deficiency actions, during several policy periods
- Shafron v. KRG Insurance Brokers (Western) Inc. (2009 SCC): won appeal in a leading case on enforceability of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, and obtained dismissal of action against insurance broker for wrongful post-employment competition
- Family Insurance Corp. v. Lombard Canada Ltd. (2002 SCC): won appeal in the leading case with respect to coverage under overlapping liability policies, which was previously handled by other counsel, obtaining judgment against group equestrian liability insurer for equal share of defence costs
- Britannia Mine remediation order process and settlement of all claims (under B.C. Environmental Management Act) (2001): orchestrated precedent-setting, multi-party agreement to solve one of North America's worst pollution problems, being acid rock drainage into Howe Sound from the historic Britannia Mine, at a clean-up cost of approximately $75 million
Professional and Community Affiliations
2018 Insurance Lawyer of the Year, Canadian Bar Association - B.C. Branch
Canadian Journal of Insurance Law, General Editor (2008 - present)
Canadian Defence Lawyers, Insurance Coverage Committee, Vice-Chair (former)
B.C. Lawyers Assistance Program, volunteer (2006 - present) and Director (2011-2017)
Canadian Bar Association and B.C. Branch (Civil Litigation, Insurance, Environmental, and ADR subsections), member (various - present)
Law Society of British Columbia, member (1985 - present)
“Restrictive Covenants In Employment Contracts: The Latest Developments You Need to Know to Protect Your Interests”, 2009 - with Gary Luftspring and Sam Sasso of Ricketts Harris LLP, Toronto
“Environmental Liability and Insurance Coverage in British Columbia: A Primer on Contaminated Sites and Clean-Up Cost Recovery Litigation”, updated 2006 - with Jonathan Hodes now of Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver
“Fraudulent Property Insurance Claims: Identification, Investigation, Denial and Defence at Trial”, updated 2006 - with Krista Prockiw now of ICBC, Vancouver
"Insurance Coverage for Construction Deficiency Claims: Lessons from B.C.'s 'Leaky Condo' Wars", 2006 - with R. Glen Boswall of Clark Wilson LLP
“Design Professionals' Errors and Omissions Coverage”, updated 2004