Scott Thomas has roughly four decades of experience advising policyholders regarding insurance coverage matters across a wide range of industries and litigating high-stakes coverage and bad faith matters on their behalf.

He represented insurers for eight years at a highly regarded national firm before getting religion and has represented policyholders and only policyholders ever since. Scott is the founding chair of the Insurance Law Group at Payne & Fears LLP and current Co-Chair. He splits his time between the Irvine and Las Vegas offices.

Scott’s insurance coverage counseling and litigation experience includes casualty insurance (comprehensive and commercial general liability, employment practices liability, directors and officers liability, errors and omissions); property insurance (fire and extended coverages, all-risk, business interruption, boiler and machinery, builder’s risk, difference in conditions); other business insurance (employee dishonesty, fidelity bonds, excess and reinsurance); and construction defect-related coverage issues and litigation.


Scott speaks about insurance coverage every chance he gets and writes on this topic for business and legal publications. Before joining Payne & Fears, he was a partner in the national law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi.

When not crusading on behalf of policyholders, Scott spends his time giving unwanted advice to his four adult children, spoiling his four grandchildren, and playing classic rock and jazz with his band, Six To The Bar.

Representative Matters

  • Recovered more than $50 million from several primary and excess liability insurers on behalf of a contractor for claims arising out of alleged construction defects.
  • Recovered more than $13 million from several liability insurers for a national homebuilder in reimbursement of defense and settlement costs in a high-exposure construction defect lawsuit and, in the process, made new law regarding what constitutes covered “property damage” under a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy, limiting the “fair debatability” doctrine as a bad faith defense, and confirming the admissibility of an insurer’s handling of other claims as evidence of its bad faith.
  • Assisted a commercial construction company in negotiating favorable resolution of a contested multi-million-dollar builders risk claim.
  • Recovered several million dollars on behalf of a homebuilder under policies issued to the builder’s trade partners after the insurers refused to defend the builder in high-stakes construction defect matters.
  • Negotiated favorable resolution of multi-million-dollar claims for hazardous waste cleanup costs on behalf of a manufacturer.