Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

Lee Craig’s practice encompasses coverage evaluation and litigation of all first-party insurance matters. In particular, he has deep experience in cases of alleged insurance fraud and arson for profit, as well as “bad faith” and other extra-contractual damages litigation.

Lee is a graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  He joined the firm as an associate in 1989. In due course he became a partner then, for a time, the managing partner and finally a name partner.

Lee has tried cases to jury verdict or final judgment in all U. S. District Courts having jurisdiction in Florida, and many Florida Circuit Courts. He has been lead counsel arguing appeals to the U.S Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh and Fourth Circuits, the Florida Supreme Court and several Florida District Courts of Appeal.  He is peer-review rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell.

Lee has long been a committed and active member of the Defense Research Institute, in which he served as a Committee Chair, a National Director and a member of the Law Institute.  He belongs also to the Federal Bar Association, the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and the George Edgecomb Bar Association.


  • Florida
  • Maryland


  • University of Maryland
    Bachelor of Arts degree in English
  • University of Maryland
    Doctor of Jurispudence


  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Federal Bar Association
  • The George Edgecomb Bar Assocation (GEBA)


  • Florida District Courts
  • Maryland District Courts
  • United States Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court
June 16, 2017 PUBLICATIONLiterature for Life

What does reading literature have to do with the mission of DRI for Life? Some might suggest reading that we read mostly as pleasurable respite or for entertainment. That certainly is true in the cases of, say, mystery stories or romance novels. But I say reading real literature is more, and more essential to life, than that.

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December 18, 2002 PUBLICATIONCan It Be 'Bad Faith' For An Insurer To File A Declaratory Action?

In recent months, insurance company clients of the author have faced allegations that the filing of a declaratory action, by an insurer, to determine or cut off coverage, is bad faith. This is a somewhat novel and, as it turns out, disfavored cause of action. To begin with, a “declaratory judgment action is the preferred manner of deciding a dispute between an insured and insurer over the construction and effect of the terms of the insurance contract.”

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March 21, 2001 PUBLICATIONDiminished Value In Auto Damage Claims

We have seen, in recent years, a spate of actions for bad faith, and class actions, on the issue of so-called diminished value. These suits claim payment by the insurance company of the actual cash value of a property loss - or the cost to repair a loss - does not make the insured whole. This is because of some intangible quality in the property that cannot be restored by repair. Before the loss it was pristine or original. Afterward it is corrupted or compromised. It is worth less in the market.

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August 22, 2000 PUBLICATIONIs It Bad Faith to Settle Covered Claims Only?

It is beyond dispute that the duty to defend, under liability insurance, is contractual, and is broader than the duty to indemnify. National Grange Mut. Ins. Co. v. Continental Cas. Ins. Co., 650 F. Supp. 1404 (S.D.N.Y. 1986). Even if some allegations of the complaint clearly are outside the scope of coverage, the insurance company is obligated to defend the entire suit. Id. See also, Aerojet-General Corp. v. Transport Indemnity Co., 948 P.2d 909 (Cal. 1997).

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June 20, 2000 PUBLICATIONThe Public Adjuster's Perspective

Mr. Lesser is a prominent public adjuster. His business office is located in Miami Beach, Florida. The views and opinions stated by Mr. Lesser in this interview are his own. Neither Mr. Craig, nor Butler , necessarily approve or agree with any of them.

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May 19, 2000 PUBLICATIONContractors' Bonds: Who Can Sue The Surety For Bad Faith?

A contractor's performance and payment bond creates rights and obligations among three parties ­ the principal, the obligee and the surety. The principal may be the general contractor or a subcontractor. The obligee (under a performance bond) usually is the owner of the project or (under a payment bond) the subcontractors, materialmen and equipment suppliers. The surety most often is an insurance company or financial institution engaged, among other things, in the business of issuing performance and payment bonds.

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April 18, 2000 PUBLICATIONThree Reasons Why Loss Reserves Ought Not Be Admissible In A Bad Faith Case

In the trial of a bad faith case, plaintiff often tries to put into evidence the reserves the insurance company set for the claim. This article contends that evidence ought not be admissible. It will outline three reasons why not.

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March 01, 2000 PUBLICATIONIssue Revisited: Who Can Sue The Surety For Bad Faith Under A Construction Bond?

In this journal, in May 2000, the author discussed the then recent decision in Ginn Construction Co. v. Reliance Insurance Co., 51 F. Supp. 2d 1347 (S.D. Fla. 1999). He argued that, contrary to a suggestion in Ginn, an obligee under a general contractor's performance bond ought not be allowed to sue the surety for bad faith. This article will look at some decisions handed down since. The trend is toward no bad faith liability by a surety to either an obligee or a principal under a surety bond.

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February 15, 2000 PUBLICATIONPerfunctory Defense

per-func-to-ry   per-fúngk'te­re   adj.   Done or acting routinely andwith little interest or care. The American Heritage Dictionary, NewSecond College Edition (1983).

The Scenario

Consider a common scenario. An insurance company issues a liability policy. The policyholder does something, or fails to do something, as a result of which a partyis injured. The injured party becomes the plaintiff, and the policyholder the defendant,in a tort action. The insurance company reviews the tort action and sees right awaythat probably it is not covered. It retains a defense attorney to handle the tort action butsends a reservation of rights letter to the policyholder and files a separate declaratoryaction to determine coverage. So far so good. See, e.g., Insurance Co. of the West v.Haralambos Beverage Co., 195 Cal. App. 3d 1308, 1319 (1987).

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December 21, 1999 PUBLICATIONMalicious Defense

This is one of a series of articles under the by line "Butler on Bad Faith" originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 13, #16, p. 25 (December 21, 1999). © Copyright Butler 1999.

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November 16, 1999 PUBLICATIONWhy A First Party Insurer Is Not A Fiduciary

Courts, commentators, lawyers and others have applied the word "fiduciary" to insurance companies and insurance claims in a loose manner. The result has been bad law and confusion over if and when an insurer is a fiduciary. This article will argue that an insurer does not, and ought not, owe a fiduciary duty to an insured who has presented a first party claim.

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July 20, 1999 PUBLICATIONAdvice of Counsel: Insurance Companies' First and Last Line of Defense / Mealey's Litigation Reports: Bad Faith

The dynamic nature of bad faith law throughout the country practically mandates that insurers have ongoing legal advice to protect the interests of the company, the shareholders and all insureds. Such advice can prevent unwitting misconduct by the insurer. The "advice of counsel defense" in the context of insurance bad faith litigation issimply an insurer asserting, as proof that it did not act in bad faith, that it reasonably relied on the advice given by its legal advisors.

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July 01, 1999 PUBLICATIONStandard of Care in First Party Bad Faith Actions: Is "Fairly Debatable" Fair?

Since the early 1970s, when first-party bad faith actions came into being, a considerable body of law has developed on the standard of care for insurers to avoid liability. In creating and defining such standards, courts have struggled to balance the interests of insureds and insurers. This article is a general review of those decisions and standards.

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March 16, 1999 PUBLICATIONStatute of Limitations in a Bad Faith Action: Which One Applies and When Does It Accrue?

Determining which statute of limitations governs a cause of action against an insurer for bad faith is complicated. It depends on whether the action is a first or third party action. It depends also on whether the controlling jurisdiction deems the action to be one sounding in tort or contract.

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December 15, 1998 PUBLICATIONFederal Preemption of Extracontractual Claims Under Flood Insurance Policies

During the past year, numerous areas in the United States have experienced severe and, at times, unprecedented flooding. Whether the flooding occurred as a result of the active Atlantic hurricane season or the effect of "El Nino" on national weather patterns, the result for insurers is the same: an increase in the number of claims under flood insurance policies. With this comes a corresponding increase in the likelihood of extracontractual or bad faith claims.

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December 14, 1998 PUBLICATIONSupplement to Federal Preemption of Extracontractual Claims Under Flood Insurance Policies

This is a supplement to the December 1998 article published in Mealey's Litigation Reports: Bad Faith on "Federal Preemption of Extracontractual Claims Under Flood Insurance Policies" following the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversal of its decision on rehearing in Van Holt v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. This supplement was originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Bad Faith, Vol. 12, #18, p. 27 (Jan. 19, 1999). Copyright Butler 1999.

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November 17, 1998 PUBLICATIONThe Expanding Scope of Discovery in Bad Faith Cases

Bad faith litigation is complex and the stakes are high. In such cases, the discovery process has become critical as litigants struggle for advantage. The litigation often raises issues outside the facts of the particular case or claim. The conduct of the insurance company as a whole sometimes is placed on trial.

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October 20, 1998 PUBLICATIONDoes a Liability Insurer Have a Duty to Initiate Settlement Negotiations?

Liability insurance policies typically provide the insurer with complete control over the defense and settlement of third-party claims against the insured. This control imposes upon the insurer a duty to exercise good faith in settling claims. When the claimant makes a reasonably prudent offer to settle within the policy limits, courts generally agree the good-faith duty owed an insurer will require the insurer to settle the case. 

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August 18, 1998 PUBLICATIONChoice of Law in Bad Faith Cases

The substantive law of bad faith is not uniform from state to state. Some states treat bad faith as a breach of contract; some as a tort. In some states, punitive damages are available. In others, they are not. Some allow claims for emotional distress, while others reject them.

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July 21, 1998 PUBLICATIONRecovery of Damages for Emotional Distress in Tort, Contract and Statutory Bad Faith Actions

Emotional distress damages may be the most significant aspect of any bad faith action in jurisdictions that allow them. This article outlines the several theories that justify the recovery of such damages. It discusses also the impact of a recent Florida Supreme Court decision which authorized recovery for emotional distress under that state's bad faith statute.

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June 02, 2017 EVENTInsurance Bad Faith and ExtraContractual Liability - Caught in a Trap: Identifying and Defeating Bad Faith Threats in First-Party Matters

Lee Craig from Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig along with co-presenter Anne Kevlin presented in Boston, MA at the Insurance Bad Faith and ExtraContractual Liability Conference. Their topic is "Caught in a Trap: Identifying and Defeating Bad Faith Threats in First-Party Matters".

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June 18, 2015 EVENTDRI Bad Faith Insurance Litigation Seminar

Trends in Bad Faith Litigation

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June 05, 2014 EVENTCanadian Defence Lawyers Annual Meeting

American Insurance Defense Practice

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March 30, 2011 EVENT2011 DRI Insurance Coverage & Claims Institute

Insurance Carriers and Their Coverage Counsel; An Examination Of The Complexities Of Their Inter-Relationship

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April 14, 2010 EVENTButler Partner Lee Craig -- Committee Chair

Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute

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January 27, 2010 EVENT79th Annual Meeting & Mid-Winter Educational Program

"Bad Faith"

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December 03, 2009 EVENTButler Partner Lee Craig -- Chair of Insurance Law Committee

DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium

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April 29, 2007 EVENTJudicial Decisions and Catastrophe Claims

2007 PCS Catastrophe Conference

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April 11, 2007 EVENTIn the Hot Seat: Preparing the Company Witness for Trial

DRI Insurance Coverage & Practice Program

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October 22, 2019 NEWSLee Craig Honored With DRI Award

Join us in congratulating Partner Lee Craig for being awarded the Tom Segalla Excellence in Education Award.

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