Overview

Sulema Medrano Novak is an accomplished and award-winning trial lawyer with extensive experience leading trial teams to verdict, particularly in cases related to commercial disputes and insurance claims. Sulema honed her courtroom skills as an Illinois state prosecutor, and she is known for defending insurance companies in complex disputes related to long-term care, life, property and casualty, and automobile coverage. In addition to representing clients in insurance and commercial litigation, she is an active advocate for women and diverse members of the legal community.

Insurance Litigation

Sulema is sought after by insurance companies for her experience and judgment in defending complex coverage disputes, individual litigation, regulatory compliance and bad-faith claims. She has successfully defended wrongful-death claims, arbitrated large-scale first-party claims and obtained scores of dismissals for her clients in federal and state courts. Sulema helps clients avoid the cost of litigation through successful mediation, such as when she helped resolve wrongful-death cases for less than 10 percent of the initial demands.

Commercial Litigation

Sulema defends property owners, securities firms and construction, transportation, health care and manufacturing clients against claims of consumer fraud and bad faith, breach of contract, products liability, professional liability, information privacy, personal injury and other commercial disputes. She has successfully mediated multimillion-dollar claims and has achieved favorable settlements and dismissals for clients.

Representative Experience

Long-Term Care and Life Insurance

  • Represented insurers in complex coverage disputes, individual litigation, regulatory compliance and bad faith claims
  • Defended and responded to discovery requests for internal proprietary and trade secret company information
  • Successfully mediated a wrongful-death cause of action for the negligent issuance of a life insurance policy on behalf of insurer for less than 10 percent of the initial settlement demand
  • Successfully mediated a breach of contract and bad faith claim arising out of a coverage dispute concerning the calculation and application of premiums for a Survivorship Life Insurance Policy

Property and Casualty Insurance

  • Successfully arbitrated multiple large-scale first-party claims for breach of contract arising from large-scale fire-, water- and weather-related losses
  • Negotiated settlements and dismissals in mediations and settlement conferences in complex multimillion-dollar coverage disputes and claims of bad faith against an insurer in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri
  • Obtained dozens of dismissals on behalf of an insurer in federal and state courts for bad faith and consumer fraud claims
  • Provides in-house training on insurance issues, handling claims and bad faith avoidance
  • Obtained multiple dismissals and summary judgments in favor of an insurer on grounds that the insured failed to comply with the conditions of the policy
  • Secured a dismissal of a third-party complaint against an insurer, which found the insurer had no duty to investigate the sufficiency of coverage before renewing policy

Automobile Insurance

  • Successfully first-chaired a wrongful-death negligent spoliation claim with a $22.5 million demand that settled for six figures after motions in limine and jury selection
  • Negotiated settlements and dismissals in mediations and settlement conferences in coverage disputes and claims of bad faith against insurers in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri
  • Successfully first-chaired a jury trial for breach of contract and bad faith penalties that settled after motions in limine for 20 percent of original demand
  • Successfully first-chaired a bench trial and secured a verdict in favor of an insurer holding an uninsured motorist
  • Obtained multiple dismissals and summary judgments in favor of an insurer in federal and state courts for bad faith claims
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurer declaring that the insurer owed no duty to defend or indemnify the insured in underlying lawsuit
  • Successfully defended an insurer against claims for damages under the common fund doctrine
  • Obtained multiple summary judgments in favor of an insurer, finding that the bodily injury liability coverages for each vehicle under the insurance policy may not be stacked; affirmed by Illinois Court of Appeals
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of an insurer declaring that the insured breached the Concealment or Fraud Condition of the policy

Commercial Litigation

  • Successfully mediated a multimillion-dollar claim for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and material misrepresentation on behalf of securities investment firm
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a property owner who was sued for allegedly maintaining a dangerous condition leading to the plaintiff’s extensive injuries
  • Secured dismissal on behalf of a hotel property owner at the initial pleading stage for claims of negligent hiring and supervision of an employee arising out of an alleged sexual assault
  • First-chaired a premises liability personal injury case that settled for a fraction of the total demand after securing favorable rulings during motions in limine
  • Secured dismissal on behalf of a managed care company from suit alleging breach of contract and common law fraud
  • Secured dismissal of complaint alleging violation of the False Claims Act (FCA)/ Qui Tam on behalf of a managed care company
  • Successfully defended equipment manufacturer from a suit alleging defamation, libel and slander
  • Successfully defended against efforts by a plaintiff’s counsel to pierce the corporate veil in a premises liability personal injury case
  • Represented and counseled national a trucking company in a multi-suit action against various towing companies for replevin, consumer fraud and conversion

Credentials

Bar Admissions

Illinois

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Education

Chicago-Kent College of Law
J.D.

Michigan State University
B.A. cum laude

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Hispanic National Bar Association — Chair Commission on Women, Region IX President, 2017-19
  • American Bar Association — Standing Committee on Gun Violence
  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois — Board of Directors, 2017−18

Honors

  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois — Latina Lawyer of the Year, 2018
  • Hispanic National Bar Association — Top Lawyer Under 40 List, 2017
  • The Law Bulletin — Top 40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40, 2016
  • Chicago-Kent Alumni Awards — Outstanding Young Alumna Award, 2019

Awards Methodology

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