Jodi Warmbrod Dishman is a trial and appellate lawyer who handles high-stakes litigation matters in federal and state courts across the country, with an emphasis on complex business litigation, insurance bad faith and coverage disputes, group benefits disputes, Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) actions, and class actions. Jodi’s three most recent jury trials in which she served as lead counsel resulted in (1) a jury verdict for an insurer in federal court in a property and casualty action, (2) a jury verdict for an insurer in state court on an uninsured motorist bad faith claim, and (3) a directed verdict for a hospital in state court in an insurance billing practice dispute brought by a patient. Her oral argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit resulted in the court affirming the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion to remand in a putative class action based on complete preemption under ERISA. Her briefing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit resulted in the affirmance of the district court’s grant of a motion to dismiss an ERISA long-term disability action based on contractual limitations.
Jodi’s trial and appellate practice spans numerous industries. Over her career, those industries have included insurance and financial services, energy and oil and gas, hospitals and health care systems, waste management, sports, and retail. Her insurance litigation experience includes claims for bad faith, breach of contract, deceptive trade practices, consumer protection, fraud, negligent underwriting, and coverage issues arising under property and casualty, life, accidental death and dismemberment, employer-sponsored, professional liability, and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policies. Her group benefits litigation experience includes defending insurers in claims for long-term and short-term benefits on ERISA and non-ERISA policies under abuse-of-discretion and de-novo standards of review in courts in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Kansas. Her class action experience includes defending companies and individuals in putative class actions filed in federal and state courts across the country.
Jodi’s achievements have earned her inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (commercial litigation; ERISA litigation; insurance law) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Oklahoma Rising Stars.” She has also been recognized as a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation.
Following law school, Jodi clerked for then-Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King and Judge Edward C. Prado, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before returning home to Oklahoma in 2012 to join McAfee & Taft, Jodi was an associate and then promoted to counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP in San Antonio, Texas, while her husband served in the U.S. Air Force. During her time at Akin Gump, she was named a “Rising Star” Lawyer by Scene in S.A., a San Antonio publication. She also was named Pro Bono Associate of the Year for Akin Gump’s San Antonio office for her work on a successful appeal before the Fifth Circuit on a constitutional issue concerning the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.Download Bio (PDF)
- Successfully tried case as first chair to unanimous jury verdict in federal court for national insurer in a multi-day jury trial over alleged breach of a commercial-building insurance policy where the plaintiff claimed more than a half-million dollars in damages. Prior to jury trial, obtained summary judgment and dismissal of additional claim of bad faith against insurer. Following successful trial result, obtained settlement with plaintiff for a significant portion of the insurer’s incurred attorneys’ fees and costs to resolve insurer’s pending post-trial motions and to resolve plaintiff’s appeal to the Tenth Circuit in insurer’s favor.
- Successfully tried case as lead counsel to jury verdict in state court for national insurer over alleged first-party breach of the uninsured motorist coverage in automobile policy and bad faith where the plaintiff asked the jury for a multi-million dollar award of actual and punitive damages. Following a four-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict (12-0) in favor of the insurer on the plaintiff’s bad faith and punitive damages claims, and a split verdict (10-2) in favor of the plaintiff on his breach of contract claim in the amount of $35,000.
- Successfully defended national insurer in two federal court cases over bad faith, negligent underwriting, and breach of contract claims relating to homeowners’ insurance policies and claimed tornado damages that resulted in plaintiffs voluntarily dismissing their cases on the eve of trial without any payment by the insurer.
- Obtained dismissals of bad faith claims against national insurers at motion-to-dismiss stages in federal courts, resulting in favorable settlements of stand-alone contract claims.
- Obtained dismissal in state court on fraud-based claims against an insurance company relating to the design, marketing, and sale of life insurance policies used to fund employee benefit plans. Affirmed on appeal.
- Obtained summary judgment on fraud claim in federal court relating to accidental death and dismemberment policy; remaining bad faith claim settled before trial.
- Obtained summary judgment on lack of subject matter jurisdiction in federal district court in multi-defendant matter involving dispute over rental property insurance.
- Defeated insured’s attempt to consolidate arbitration proceeding filed by an excess insurer with arbitration proceedings filed by the primary insurer and other excess insurers.
- Advised numerous companies on interpretation and applicability of arbitration or alternative dispute resolution provisions in insurance policies.
- Represented numerous insurers in disputes over commercial, homeowners’, rental, and personal property insurance policies, involving issues of coverage, bad faith, underwriting, sales, and renewal practices, and contractor networks.
- Represented numerous insurers in disputes over life and accidental death and dismemberment policies in state and federal courts, involving issues of coverage, bad faith, and sales practices.
- Represented numerous insurers in disputes over uninsured or underinsured motorists and medical payment benefits in state and federal courts, involving issues of coverage and bad faith.
- Represented insurers in interpleader actions over life insurance and supplemental life insurance benefits, both ERISA and non-ERISA policies; successfully obtained attorneys’ fees awards for interpleader actions.
- Handled claims pre-suit, including advising insurer and working with counsel for the insured to obtain settlement without the expense of litigation.
Group Benefits Litigation:
- Obtained dismissal of ERISA action for national insurer in federal court over insurer’s payment of accidental death policy benefits.
- Obtained dismissal of ERISA action in federal district court based on contractual limitations period. Judgment affirmed on appeal to the Eighth Circuit.
- Represented numerous insurers in group benefits litigation over long- and short-term disability benefits and life insurance or personal accident insurance policies in state and federal court. Representative experience in numerous actions includes briefing on motions to dismiss and for summary judgment or judgment on the record, and early evaluation and resolution efforts, whether by counsel-to-counsel or mediation.
Class Action Litigation:
- Obtained dismissal in federal court of putative class action where the plaintiff brought breach of contract and various tort claims against a major healthcare system relating to employee welfare benefit plans for alleged improper billing practices. Judgment affirmed on appeal to the Tenth Circuit. Salzer v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, Inc., 762 F.3d 1130 (10th Cir. 2014).
- Obtained dismissal in North Dakota federal court for an individual client of a putative class action in which the plaintiffs, owners of mineral interests on tribal lands in the Bakken formation, alleged the defendants aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty by the United States government regarding the sale of oil and gas leases. Judgment affirmed on appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two Shields et al. v. Wilkinson, et al., 790 F.3d 791 (8th Cir. 2015). Petition for writ of certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court denied on December 14, 2015.
- Obtained dismissal for oil and gas operating companies following removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) to federal court in a putative class action where the plaintiffs alleged tort claims relating to the alleged release of toxic substances from disposal facilities. Judgment affirmed on appeal to the Tenth Circuit. Reece et al. v. AES Corp. et al., 638 F. App’x 755 (10th Cir. 2016) (unpublished).
- Obtained dismissal in federal court of putative nationwide class action alleging fraud-based claims against an insurance company relating to the design, marketing, and sale of life insurance policies used to fund employee benefit plans.
- Obtained dismissal in federal court for an insurer of putative class action based on Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) preemption of state law claims alleging misrepresentations in the sale of a covered security.
- Obtained dismissal in federal court on behalf of retailer of putative class action alleging RICO claims based on contractual relationships for consumer financing.
- Represented insurance company in putative class action lawsuit in state court alleging breach of contract, fraud, and bad faith over the payment of overhead and profit under homeowners’ policies.
- Represented financial company in a state court putative class action where plaintiff alleged invasion of privacy claim over use of GPS technology.
- Represented landfill in federal court in a putative class action where plaintiffs alleged odor and dust nuisance, trespass, and negligence claims. Case settled on favorable terms.
- Responsible for removals on numerous class action cases involving issues of first impression under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA).
- Obtained a directed verdict in state court where the plaintiff brought multiple tort and breach of contract claims against a hospital for alleged improper billing practices.
- Obtained dismissal in state court of breach of contract and various tort claims brought against a hospital over alleged improper billing practices upon filing of summary judgment by the hospital.
- Advised hospital on contractual issues and threatened litigation relating to physician.
- Obtained summary judgment for healthcare provider in a state court lawsuit brought by a patient seeking declaratory relief over provider’s medical lien and asserting claims for negligence, fraud, and consumer protection act.
- Represented a major domestic insurance company in a jury trial against bad faith claim by the insured over the denial of defense and indemnity under a lawyers’ professional liability policy; the jury unanimously ruled in favor of the insurer after a two-week trial.
- Represented insurer under lawyers’ professional indemnity policy in a multi million-dollar dispute involving whether the insured had prior knowledge of circumstances giving rise to its claim when it applied for insurance coverage.
- Represented London market insurers relating to fidelity bond coverage issues involving third-party claimants.
- Advised London market insurers regarding coverage under professional liability policy for qui tam claims brought against the insured under the False Claims Act.
- Advised underwriters of professional liability policies of coverage issues relating to a claim brought against the insured for its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities.
Directors’ and Officers’ Liability:
- Represented insurers in federal court relating to coverage issues under a directors’ and officers’ liability policy.
- Advised underwriters on tower of insurance under directors’ and officers’ liability policy of the availability and advisability of an interpleader action for policy proceeds where there were viable coverage defenses for the insurers and foreign claimants were involved.
Honors and Awards
- Named a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation
- Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (commercial litigation; ERISA litigation; insurance law)
- Listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Oklahoma Rising Stars,” which recognizes the state’s up-and-coming attorneys
- Named a “Rising Star” by Scene in S.A.
Professional Organizations and Memberships
- Oklahoma County Bar Association
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Federal Bar Association, Oklahoma City Chapter (President, 2018-2019)
Civic Involvement and Leadership
- University of Oklahoma College of Law Board of Visitors (Member, 2017-present)
- University of Oklahoma College of Law Young Alumni Board
(Inaugural Chair, 2013-2018)
- Southern Methodist University Alumni Board (Member, 2014-2017)