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Pamela A. Palmer litigates complex commercial disputes with an emphasis on insurance coverage and transportation law.

With a roster of clients that includes insurance companies, vessel owners, brokers, trucking companies, and logistics providers, Pam provides representation throughout the litigation life-cycle including a specific focus on appellate matters. In the scope of her insurance practice, Pam advises and represents insurers on the full spectrum of first- and third-party claims including environmental, marine, inland marine, general liability, transportation, aviation, and sex abuse, as well as suspicious claims involving theft, arson, smoke losses, and vessel sinkings. She has worked on coverage matters involving environmental sites around the world with billions of dollars of alleged response costs at issue and has represented insurers in coverage matters involving religious organizations, film studios, trucking industry losses, and product liability.

In her transportation practice, she supports clients with advice and litigation involving casualties, environmental damage, and complex logistics disputes involving the shipment of goods worldwide. A major focus of Pam’s transportation practice is having a deep understanding of her client’s business in order to facilitate early resolution of disputes where possible to avoid prolonged and unnecessary litigation including advising on risk management strategies to avoid future losses. Pam’s experience has included casualties with multi-jurisdictional and foreign proceedings, appeals involving catastrophic losses, as well as marine insurance matters involving significant exposures.

Pam’s appellate practice has included writs and appeals to the state appellate courts of California, New York, and Washington as well as the Second, Third, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. She has handled appeals involving such varied areas as insurance coverage, wrongful death, personal injury, maritime casualties, construction disputes, and environmental damages.

Pam is a Proctor in Admiralty of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She is a Member of the ABA TIPS Council, past Chair of the American Bar Association’s TIPS Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee and the past Editor in Chief of the ABA TIPS Law Journal. A frequent speaker and author on transportation and insurance related issues, her recent presentations include best practices for emergency response to maritime, aviation and trucking casualties for the American Bar Association and the impact of social inflation and the political climate on excessive verdicts for an insurer client.

Pam graduated cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law where she was an Associate Editor of the Gonzaga Law Review, member of the National Moot Court team, member of the Linden Cup Moot Court First Place Team and received the CALI award for legal research and writing.


J.D., cum laude, Gonzaga University School of Law, Spokane, Washington, 1999
B.A., with Honors, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, 1995


Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Named among The Best Lawyers in America® – Admiralty and Maritime, Insurance Law by Best Lawyers (2023-2024)

Named Southern California Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters (2023-2024)

Named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a Leader of Influence: Litigator and Trial Lawyer (2023)

ABA TIPS Diversity Involvement Award, Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Chair, 2015

ACI’s Forum on the Defense of Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation, Co-Chair, 2015


American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section

  • Member, American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice (ABA TIPS) Section Council (2022-2025)
  • Co-Chair, ABA TIPS Section Conference, Hollywood, California (2024)
  • Member, ABA TIPS Continuing Legal Education Board (2016-2024)
  • Chair, ABA TIPS Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Chair (2014-2015); Vice Chair (2011-2024)
  • Editor-in-Chief, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (2014-2016); Associate Editor (2007-2023)

Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Vice Chair, Marine Insurance Committee

Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association

Transportation Lawyers Association

State Bar Licenses

California, Oregon, New York, Washington

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of California
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of California
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of New York
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of New York
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Washington
U.S. District Ct., W.D. of Washington
U.S. District Ct., District of Arizona
U.S. District Court, District of Oregon


  • Lead appellate counsel in reversal of a $30 million wrongful death damages award for failure of the trial court to allow the jury to hear evidence of the comparative fault of settling defendants as well as due to the misconduct of counsel.
  • Successful Petition for Writ of Mandate to California Court of Appeal resulting in published decision that licensed contractor was not barred from asserting a breach of construction contract cause of action where the entity mistakenly listed as the contractor in the contract was not a licensed contractor
  • Prosecution of subrogation claim against seller of land for alleged breach of contract related to failure to indemnify buyer for extensive contaminated groundwater at property.
  • Representation and advice to insurance interests related to the RMS Titanic salvage.
  • Representation of third-party logistics provider in multi-million-dollar cargo and warehousing claim.
  • Prosecution of subrogation claim for casualty involving $100 million in cargo losses including trial and subsequent appeal.
  • Defense of insurance broker in $100 million insurance fraud claim in state and federal actions resulting in successful summary judgment motions on broker liability.
  • Representation and advice on sexual abuse claims in federal and state courts on behalf of churches, schools, and insurers.
  • Representation of insurers in suspicious claims involving vessel sinkings, arson, robbery and theft including coordination with local law enforcement and state regulatory agencies.
  • Defense of insurers in coverage actions in California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington involving extensive long tail liabilities in cases involving environmental liabilities.
  • Drafting and advise with respect to insurance policies, shipping contracts, crewing contracts and other documents for insurers and vessel owners.


  • Co-Presenter, “Impact of Social Inflation and Political Climate on Excessive Verdicts,” 2021 Housing Authority Defense Association Seminar, September 7, 2021
  • Moderator, “Marine Insurance At the Tipping Point”, ABA TIPS Admiralty Disruption, March 12, 2021
  • Presenter, “’You Could Almost See Other Dimensions’: A Post-Pandemic International Transportation Tell-All,” Transportation Lawyers Association 53rd Transportation Law Virtual Institute, November 12, 2020
  • Co-Author, “Marine Insurance — Coverages Available for Maritime Risks,” Damages Recoverable in Maritime Matters, Second Edition, American Bar Association, March 2020
  • Moderator, “Don’t Be the Devil in a White City: Transportation In-House Counsel Roundtable,” Transportation Lawyers Association Regional Seminar and Bootcamp, January 24, 2020
  • Moderator, “Anatomy of an Emergency Response—By Land, Sea, and Air: In-House Counsel, Government and Insurance in the Golden Hour,” ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section 2019 Conference, May 3, 2019
  • Moderator, “Broker, Insurer and Insured Relationships: Successfully Tackling a Natural Disaster Large Loss Event,” Admiralty and Maritime Conference, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, March 22, 2019
  • Moderator, “Discovery and the Extra-Contractual Suit,” ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Conference, April 27, 2017
  • Moderator, “P&I Club and Insurance Roundtable,” American Conference Institute’s 6th Annual Forum on Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation, January 31, 2017
  • Author, “New York District Court Rules on Trigger and Sufficiency of Notice in Long Tail Environmental Claim,” MPP Environmental Law Newsletter (Jan 2017)
  • Author, “New York Appellate Division Rules on Allocation to Insurers When No Insurance Is Available In the Marketplace,” MPP Environmental Law Newsletter (Dec. 2016)
  • Presenter, “Ethics & Insurance Claims Handling” and “The California Fair Claims Practices Act and Regulations,” XL Catlin, March 15, 2016
  • Moderator, “The Business of Shipping: In-House Views on the Migrant Crisis; Cost of Complying with Pollution Regulations; Emerging Issues with respect to Interconnection Between Oil and Gas Exploration and Production and More,” 5th Annual Forum on Admiralty & Maritime Claims and Litigation, American Conference Institute, January 27, 2016
  • Moderator, “View from the Marine Insurance Claims Professional,” Mariners Club of Massachusetts 2015 Educational Seminar, April 2, 2015
  • Co-Chair and speaker: ACI’s Fourth Annual Forum on Admiralty & Maritime Claims and Litigation; Houston, Texas, February 4-5, 2015 (Moderator: “Insider Perspective: In-House Views”)
  • Presenter, “Admiralty Practice in the 21st Century: Navigating Which Circuit Splits Will Lead to a Supreme Court Review”, ABA TIPS Annual Meeting, August 7, 2014
  • Presenter, “Good Faith Claims Handling: Minimizing Bad Faith Claim Exposure,” Defense Research Institute’s Insurance Coverage and Claims Conference, April 2, 2014
  • Presenter, “Procedural Issues and Considerations: Jurisdiction, Venue, Pleadings, Forum Selection Clauses, Removal, Juries and Beyond,” American Conference Institute’s 3rd Annual Forum on Admiralty & Maritime Claims and Litigation, February 28, 2014
  • Presenter, “The Insurance Response to Disasters” ABA Premier CLE, April 15, 2013
  • Author, Washington Supreme Court Ruling Raises Considerations for Carriers Nationwide, MPP email alert (February 2013)
  • Author, California Supreme Court Sides With Policyholder on Allocation of Coverage in Progressive Damage Claim, MPP email alert (August 2012)
  • Panel speaker on maritime industry development, Young Lawyers Committee, Maritime Law Association of the United States, May 3, 2012
  • Author, “Sackett v. The Environmental Protective Agency: Pre-Enforcement Review of an EPA Compliance Order – What If the EPA Got It Wrong?” Defense Research Institute (January 2012)
  • Author, “BP’s $700 Million Excess Insurance Question – Did Pollution Damage Originate Above the Surface of the Water?” ABA Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section Admiralty Special Edition Newsletter (August 2010)
  • Author, “Recent Developments in Insurance Coverage Litigation,” ABA Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section Law Journal (July 2010)
  • Co-Author, “Employment Practices Liability Coverage: Updates and Strategies in Addressing Employment-Based Claims,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation (March 2010)