Meet Our Team

Steven M. Crane


Steven M. Crane is Of Counsel with Berkes Crane Santana & Spangler LLP. Mr. Crane was a founder of Berkes Crane Robinson & Seal LLP. He has practiced for over forty years as trial and appellate counsel, specializing in complex multi-party civil litigation. He has handled insurance disputes including errors and omissions, directors and officers, professional liability, cyber liability, first party, general and automobile liability, long term care, intellectual property/personal injury, environmental and toxic/mass tort law and product liability, including hazardous waste, pollution, sick buildings, asbestos, breast implants, chemical exposure, electromagnetic fields, lead, and DES. He also handles other complex insurance, commercial, contract, and bad faith litigation.

He has represented clients in hundreds of cases in more than fifteen states and has been trial counsel in several of the largest environmental and asbestos related cases in the country, including:

  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transport Indemnity Company
    (hazardous waste and toxic torts)
  • Flintkote v. American Mutual
    (asbestos building claims)
  • Fuller-Austin v. Fireman’s Fund
    (Section 524g asbestos bankruptcy and collusion)
  • In Re Coordinated Asbestos Proceedings
    (asbestos bodily injury and building claims)
  • Lockheed Corporation v. Continental Insurance Company
    (hazardous waste and toxic torts)
  • State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company
    (hazardous waste at Stringfellow site)

Mr. Crane was trial counsel in the National Law Journal’s Defense Verdict of the Year in 1991, and is listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America and 25th Anniversary Addition, Who’s Who Legal: California and California Magazine’s Super Lawyers.

Mr. Crane has also been appellate counsel on numerous key appellate cases involving insurance and civil litigation issues, including:

  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Superior Court
    211 Cal.App.3rd 216 (1989) (involving whether CERCLA response costs are “damages” under a CGL policy)
  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transport Indemnity Company
    17 Cal.4th 38 (1997) (involving whether “site investigation” costs are defense or indemnity under CGL policy and whether defense costs can be allocated to the insured in continuous injury cases)
  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Superior Court
    18 Cal.App.4th 996 (1993) (involving right to use inadvertently produced privileged materials)
  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. American Excess Insurance Co.
    97 Cal.App.4th 665 (2002) (involving scope of res judicata/collateral estoppel principles arising from declaratory relief judgments)
  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Transcontinental Insurance Co.
    2002WL1425381 (involving exhaustion requirements for excess policy attachment and affect of primary insurer settlements on exhaustion)
  • American Motorists, Inc. v. Thomson, Inc.
    2011 WL 380612 (involving choice of law principals as to hazardous waste sites)
  • Armstrong World Industries Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co.
    45 Cal.App.4th 1 (1996) (involving trigger and scope of coverage for asbestos bodily injury and asbestos building cases)
  • Baek v. Continental Casualty Company
    2014 WL 4966020 Cal.Rptr.3d (involving whether alleged sexual assault falls within the scope of employment or while performing duties related to business for purposes of named insured definition)
  • Chacon v. Union Pacific Railroad Company
    56 Cal. App. 5th 565 (2020) (involving the scope of allowable release under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. Section 55)
  • Collin v. CalPortland Company
    228 Cal.App.4th 582 (2014) (involving burden of proof regarding asbestos bodily injury claims)
  • Continental Insurance Company v. Cota
    2010 WL 383367; 2009 WL 5088733 (N.D. CAL. 2010) (involving federal preemption of maritime law on state pilotage indemnity statute)
  • Continental Insurance Company v. Rockwell Collins, Inc.
    2013 Cal.App. Unpub. Lexis 7805 (involving equitable contribution rights where insured has indemnity obligation under a settlement agreement)
  • Emerson v. Farmers Group, Inc.
    2017 Cal.App. Unpub. Lexis 2161 (involving role of extrinsic evidence in determining the duty to defend)
  • Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust v. Continental Insurance Company
    666 F.3d 384 (6th Cir. 2011) (involving issues of “drop down”obligations of umbrella policies upon exhaustion of underlying insurance)
  • Fuller-Austin Insulation Company v. Highlands Insurance Company
    135 Cal.App.4th 958 (2006) (involving duties of excess insurers for asbestos claims under a section 524g bankruptcy plan)
  • Hallmark Insurance Company v. Superior Court
    201 Cal.App.3rd 1014 (1988) (involving “trigger of coverage” under CGL policy, scope of admissible evidence and burdens of proof in insurance policy litigation)
  • Huffy Corporation v. Superior Court
    112 Cal.App.4th 97 (2003) (involving when confidential records may be properly sealed)
  • Kaitz v. District Court
    650 P.2nd 553 (Colo. 1982) (involving right to jury trial and punitive damages in a claim for breach of fiduciary duty)
  • Lockheed Corporation v. Continental Insurance Company
    134 Cal.App.4th 187 (2005); (involving meaning and trigger of coverage for accident based liability policies, personal injury coverage, defense of administrative proceedings, burden of proof as to covered versus uncovered damage and use of prima facie hearings to determine sufficiency of evidence to meet burden of proof.)
  • Navcom Defense Electronics, Inc. v. Continental Casualty Company
    2011 WL 3435391 (involving coverage for post-policy acquisitions)
  • Powers v. Optical Radiation Corporation
    44 Cal.Rptr.2d 485 (1995) (involving federal preemption of tort claims for investigational medical devices)
  • Rohr Industries Inc. v. First State Interstate Company
    59 Cal.App.4th 1480 (1997) (involving affect of good faith settlements on equitable contribution rights among insurers)
  • Roberts Oil Company v. Transamerica Insurance Company
    113 N.M. 745 (1992) (involving application of the “voluntary payment” provision of CGL policy to hazardous waste claims)
  • State of California v. Allstate Insurance Company
    45 Cal.4th 1008 (2009) (involving determination of relevant discharge and concurrent cause principles in context of “sudden and accidental” pollution exclusion)
  • State of California v. Continental Insurance Company
    55 Cal.4th 186 (2012) (involving allocation of damage and availability of stacking of limits in continuous property damage claim)
  • Travelers Casualty & Surety Company v. Superior Court
    63 Cal.App.4th 460 (1998) (involving interpretation of the pollution exclusion and burdens of proof under CGL policy)

Mr. Crane frequently acts as an expert witness and as a mediator/arbitrator. He also advises on a variety of other insurance and reinsurance matters, underwriting, and dispute resolution.

He is a frequent lecturer on insurance issues and is a member of the AAA Complex Panel.

Mr. Crane is a member of the California and Colorado bars, he is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, Third Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, Federal Courts in California, Colorado, Michigan, Texas and Arizona.

Mr. Crane received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Colorado.