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Scott Godes

Scott N. Godes


Washington, D.C.

555 12th Street N.W.
Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20004-1275

P 202-408-6928

F 202-289-1330

In and out of court, Scott Godes is a skilled advocate, litigator and trial lawyer in matters involving insurance coverage. Co-chair of the firm’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling and Data Security and Privacy Groups, Scott has helped insureds recover more than $1 billion.


In and out of court, Scott Godes is a skilled advocate, litigator and trial lawyer in matters involving insurance coverage. Co-chair of the firm’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling and Data Security and Privacy Groups, Scott has helped insureds recover more than $1 billion.

Scott is dedicated to helping corporate policyholders with insurance coverage issues. By taking on matters that are often difficult, complicated and untested – including two of the first cyberinsurance coverage cases in the country – Scott works to design a creative, optimized path to problem solving that enhances their chances of recovery. Effective, thorough and practical, Scott is valued by clients and colleagues alike for his depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in insurance law, and for finding the right solution to each client’s distinct problem.

Scott regularly represents clients facing insurance coverage issues arising out of ransomware, business email compromise, cybersecurity, data breach, cyberattack, privacy and other technology-related claims. He focused on insurance coverage for cybersecurity and privacy risks in 2008, allowing him to join his long-standing interest in technology with a new area of insurance. Since that time, he has litigated some of the few court cases regarding the scope of coverage available under cyber insurance policies, as well as coverage under other insurance policies for losses due to cyberattacks, privacy events, and wire and computer frauds.

Early in his insurance coverage career, Scott served co-lead counsel in a landmark insurance coverage class action trial that spanned four months.  It was the first trial of its kind leading to a decision that insurance coverage was available, without aggregate limits, for thousands of asbestos claims. In addition to that example, Scott has represented policyholders in a wide range of disputes.  He often handles matters from the inception all the way through appeals.  He has argued and briefed insurance coverage disputes in federal Courts of Appeals and state supreme courts.  

Scott’s practice often involves declaratory judgment, breach of contract and bad faith insurance coverage actions, insurance-related bankruptcies and adversary actions, federal court receiverships, insurer rehabilitation actions, and commercial arbitrations. He has litigated and advised clients regarding insurance coverage for cyberattacks, data breaches and cyber security issues, business email compromises and CEO fraud, network failures, advertising injury, libel, ransomware and personal injury claims.

Scott also advises clients about the insurance coverage issues related to first party property, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), directors and officers (D&O), securities, errors and omissions (E&O), crime and fidelity bond, general liability and consumer class action claims. He has effectively navigated complex litigation involving business interruption, extra expense, contingent business interruption and first-party property claims, as well as computer data, hardware and software claims, mass tort liabilities, flood, product liability and asbestos claims. 

In addition to his insurance coverage experience inside and outside the courtroom, Scott has significant trial experience on other matters. He served as trial counsel on the issues of whether a complainant established a “domestic industry” and public interest issues in a Section 337 investigation of the Tariff Act of 1930 before the ITC. His trial and appellate experience in court and before arbitrators and administrative law judges have involved federal government contract bid protest, security clearance revocation, prime and subcontractor dispute, discovery, breach of contract and property damage, and negligence.

Moreover, Scott has represented protesters and interveners in bid protests before the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He also has litigated disputes related to teaming agreements between federal contractors in arbitration and contract claims before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA).

Scott edits the BT Policyholder Protection blog.

Prior to joining the firm, Scott served as in-house counsel to an internet company.

Professional and Community Involvement

Co-chair, American Bar Association Cyber Risk & Data Privacy Subcommittee of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee

Co-chair, American Bar Association Computer Technology Subcommittee of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee


Zywave’s Cyber Risk Finalist, 2024

Cybersecurity Docket’s Incident Response 50, 2023

Chambers USA, 2020-2023

The Best Lawyers in America, 2017-2024

Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers, 2019-2020, 2022-2024

Cybersecurity Docket's Incident Response 30 for 2020

BTI Client Service All-Star, 2020, 2023

Acritas Star Independently Rated Lawyer






Insurance Coverage

  • Served as lead insurance counsel to a technology company.  In this matter, the client was seeking coverage for a proposed settlement of a putative class action. The underlying matter arose out of a cyberattack stemming from an issue with a third party application services provider. In the underlying matter, the client faced a court-ordered mediation with a short fuse. The insurance carrier refused to provide settlement authority in advance of the mediation, and the client did not have the ability to fund a settlement without insurance coverage. Scott provided strategic advice to the client that resulted in the insurer quickly agreeing to cover a tentative settlement that had been reached at mediation.
  • Served as lead counsel for an insured in a long-running insurance coverage dispute regarding litigation over a series of failed development projects.  The insurance carrier had denied coverage, and stood on its denial for years.  After multiple mediations, the client settled the underlying litigation, and Scott convinced the carrier to settle the coverage dispute.
  • Served as lead counsel for an insured in an insurance dispute regarding coverage for a series of alleged abuse claims.  The insurance carrier denied coverage on late notice grounds in connection with a claims-made errors and omissions insurance policy.  Scott analyzed the coverage and determined that the defense should fail and that there also was CGL coverage that should apply.  After an exchange of letters on the issue, the insurance carrier agreed that there was coverage for the matter, and covered the settlement of the underlying claims.
  • Served as lead counsel in connection with a client’s COVID-19 business interruption insurance coverage claim. The team presented the claim to the tower of insurance carriers and obtained a quick resolution with one carrier within the insurance tower.  After filing suit against additional insurance carriers, the team reached a favorable resolution after a multi-party mediation.
  • Served as counsel to a food manufacturer, providing advice and counsel in connection with a nearly nine-figure million loss after a catastrophic fire at its factory.  Scott helped the company recover full limits from its primary insurance carrier.  After the excess carriers were slow to pay, the team filed suit, alleging breach of contract and bad faith claim handling against the excess carriers.  The insured reached settlements with all of the excess carriers soon after filing suit.
  • Served as lead insurance coverage counsel for a retail chain and convinced insurance carriers from Lloyds of London to provide full coverage to the retailer for a multi-million-dollar settlement of a putative court class action.  The lawsuit alleged that the retailer used misleading sale prices, running afoul of a consumer protection statute.  Before Scott was involved, the insurance carriers refused to fund a class-wide settlement and suggested that a settlement be made on a basis that they saw as excluded from coverage.  Scott served as coverage counsel at multiple mediations of the underlying suit.  At the end, the carriers agreed to cover a proposed class-wide settlement in full.
  • Served as insurance coverage counsel to a client that obtained full insurance coverage for a ransomware attack.  Prior to Scott’s engagement, the insured paid a ransom to resolve a ransomware attack, with the permission of its cyberinsurance carrier.  Rather than pay right away, the cyberinsurance carrier delayed for months.  The carrier cited internet chatter suggesting that the threat actor was affiliated with a sanctioned entity, and denied coverage.  After being hired, Scott created a strategy to get information from the government to confirm that coverage was permissible.  Other Barnes & Thornburg attorneys worked with the Office of Foreign Asset Control to obtain a “no-action letter” as to the ransomware payment, getting the government to act before the client’s internal financial reporting deadline.  The client took the new information to its carrier, and the carrier quickly agreed to pay the full claim.
  • Scott is and has been the lead insurance coverage counsel for numerous clients facing claims of alleged infringements of copyrights of music played via clients’ social media accounts, in client’s products, and during clients’ events. He has helped clients obtain coverage for numerous alleged copyright infringement claims for clients with household names, including coverage for settlements with multiple music and copyright holding companies. Scott currently is insurance coverage counsel for multiple professional teams across multiple leagues in connection with these matters.
  • Represented United Policyholders as an amicus curiae in this insurance coverage litigation as to whether a crime insurance policy provided coverage for a ransom paid to end a ransomware attack. The Indiana Supreme Court accepted the discretionary appeal and ruled that crime insurance can cover payments made to resolve a ransomware attack. G&G Oil Co. of Ind. v. Cont’l Western Ins. Co, 165 N.E.3d 82 (Ind. 2021).
  • Represented an investment company in this insurance coverage litigation as to whether a crime insurance policy covered a multi-million dollar loss as a result of alleged employee thefts of millions and a forgery resulting in a merger of the owned company. The court denied the insurance carrier’s motion to dismiss and ruled that the insurance policy language was ambiguous. The court later granted a motion to compel regarding claim investigation and handling documents written by a law firm. 
    Served as insurance recovery counsel for a widely-reported health care data breach. After a cyberinsurance excess carrier denied coverage, helped convince D&O and E&O carriers to defend and settle the putative class action and regulatory investigation matter; helped the insured recover under an all risks property policy for its covered losses
  • Served as insurance recovery counsel for financial institution. This client suffered two different cybersecurity events. One was a spoofing event that led to the criminals being able to withdraw sums of money from the account of a customer of the institution.  The second involved a hack and a complicated fraudulent transfer and theft of funds. The insurance carrier took extensive time to purport to investigate the claims through outside counsel, then denied coverage, and dropped the institution as an insured. Scott convinced the insurance carrier to mediate without filing litigation, and reached a confidential settlement for coverage of both matters.
  • Served as an insurance coverage counsel in connection with coverage for cyberattack that impacted franchisor and franchisees, and multiple millions in liabilities to the payment card networks. After cyberinsurance carriers pushed back on covering the proposed settlements, Scott negotiated with carriers for the franchisor and franchisees to reach confidential settlements.
  • In this insurance coverage litigation regarding coverage for a construction accident, the court issued rulings that there was a duty to defend and indemnify the additional insured under a primary CGL policy and an umbrella policy.  
  • Served as insurance recovery counsel for a real estate title company, where the E&O insurance carrier denied coverage for a seven figure alleged loss after an allegedly fraudulent alteration of closing documents. After engagement, the E&O insurer agreed to defend the third party claim and to provide coverage for the settlement.
  • Represented the insured in connection with coverage for a business email compromise and wire fraud.  This case resulted in multiple federal court rulings that a crime insurance policy provided coverage for losses resulting from a business email compromise and wire fraud. The published decision from the 11th Circuit is one of the earliest federal Court of Appeals rulings on funds transfer fraud coverage under a crime insurance policy, and the decision has been cited by multiple courts in favor of insurance coverage for losses due to business email compromises. 
  • Represented a pharmacy benefit manager on insurance coverage issues. One of the liability insurance carriers denied coverage for litigation related to the insured’s businesses. After the denial, filed a lawsuit within days, and quickly reached an interim resolution with the insurance carrier. 
  • Argued an appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in this dispute regarding insurance coverage for liabilities due to a cyberattack, where the CGL insurance carrier denied coverage and then filed suit against the insured. Shortly after oral argument at the Court of Appeals, the parties reached a confidential settlement. 
  • Won ruling that electronic data is tangible property for purposes of a crime insurance policy, a hotly contested insurance coverage issue around the country. The court ruled that the losses, which arose out of a hacker deleting company data and the theft of confidential business data, were covered as a matter of law, and that electronic data is tangible property under the crime insurance policy.  (Decision was later vacated due to settlement.) 
  • Sued cyberinsurance carrier that refused to provide full coverage for losses resulting from a credit card cyberattack and the insured’s liabilities to payment card brands for alleged fraudulent charges and card replacement costs. The case settled, confidentially, not long after the complaint was filed.
  • Served as lead insurance recovery counsel for an international retail chain, where the retailer suffered a data security incident that affected point-of-sale systems at multiple stores, and allegedly impacted millions of payment cards. The cyberinsurance carrier was not willing to provide full coverage for the liabilities to the payment card networks and brands, but achieved a confidential settlement of all coverage disagreements with the cyberinsurance carrier.
  • Achieved confidential settlement of insurance coverage litigation disputing whether a property insurance policy provides coverage for losses resulting from mine subsidence. 
  • Served as insurance coverage co-counsel for a European packaging company, where the insured suffered a ransomware attack that resulted in significant business interruption and extra expense, obtaining significant recoveries from tower of cyberinsurance carriers.
  • Served as insurance coverage counsel for a professional services firm, where the insured was involved with a business email compromise that allegedly resulted in eight figures of losses and obtaining full coverage for settlement of matter from cyberinsurance and professional liability insurance carriers.

Government Contracts and Federal Procurement Law

  • Multiple experiences representing disappointed bidders and intervenors in bid protests before the GAO and Court of Federal Claims.

International Trade Commission § 337 Investigation

  • Successfully represented respondent in ITC § 337 Investigation. Scott was the lead attorney on the domestic industry issues.  He prepared witnesses for deposition and trial, and examined and cross-examined multiple fact and expert witnesses on the domestic industry issue during a live, in-person trial.
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