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Mary Kay Vyskocil

425 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3954
Phone:  (212) 455-3093
Fax:  (212) 455-2502
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Mary Kay Vyskocil is a senior Litigation Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where she handles complex commercial litigation.  She has a diverse practice, and over the years, has handled cases involving among other things, a wide variety of contract and tort issues, major insurance and reinsurance disputes, bankruptcy-related issues, securities and antitrust law.  Her practice is concentrated in insurance and reinsurance coverage litigation, securities cases, and cases involving the financial services industry.


Ms. Vyskocil has been involved in the representation of major domestic and foreign insurers in complex coverage litigations (including numerous jury trials and appellate arguments) throughout the U.S. in a wide variety of contexts, including environmental, asbestos, breast implants and other mass tort claims.  Ms. Vyskocil was one of the lead trial counsel in Shell Oil Company v. Accident & Casualty Insurance Company in California regarding coverage for environmental liabilities at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.  She represented a major insurer in several coverage litigations seeking insurance for Y2K remediation expenses.  Ms. Vyskocil currently represents Swiss Re with respect to coverage issues arising out of the World Trade Center attack, including the Silverstein WTC property insurance dispute, which resulted in a jury verdict in Swiss Re’s favor.


Ms. Vyskocil is also active in reinsurance litigations and arbitrations in the U.S., Great Britain and Bermuda.  She has argued a number of precedentially important reinsurance cases, including: United States Fidelity & Guaranty v. American Reinsurance, (New York Court of Appeals on follow the fortunes); Travelers v. Gerling (2nd Circuit re: “follow the fortunes”); Gulf v. Transatlantic (NY Appellate Court re: “access to records/privilege); Travelers v. Certain Underwriters (New York’s high court on treaty interpretation).


Outside the insurance area, Ms. Vyskocil currently represents UBS in connection with major litigations involving residential mortgage backed securities. She also represented former officers of Washington Mutual Bank in ERISA and securities cases and in litigation with the FDIC. She was involved in the successful representation of JPMorgan Chase resulting in a $350 million verdict in a trial of a breach of guarantee action against Motorola arising out of the Iridium telecommunications transaction.  She was also involved in the representation of Paramount Communications in the Paramount-Viacom-QVC takeover litigation and represented Matsushita Electrical Industries in MCA v. Epstein, which was successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Ms. Vyskocil has also served as outside counsel to the Archdiocese of New York.


Ms. Vyskocil is co-author of the leading treatise, Modern Reinsurance Law & Practice, 2d ed. (Glasser LegalWorks 2000) and is frequent lecturer and author on insurance and reinsurance coverage issues and on litigation and trial skills at continuing legal education seminars and bar association meetings. 


Ms. Vyskocil is very active in professional organizations and community affairs.  She is the immediate past-Chairman and  a member of the Board of Directors of ARIAS-U.S.  She currently chairs its Strategic Planning Committee. Mary Kay is Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the Federal Bar Council and was Chair of its Second Circuit Court Committee.  She is a founding Member and Officer of the New York Inn of Court.  From 1994 to 1997, Ms. Vyskocil served as a co-chair of one of the subcommittees involved in the Second Circuit Study on Racial, Ethnic & Gender Fairness.  She has numerous judicial appointments including Departmental Disciplinary Committee hearing referee, and service on SDNY Judicial Improvement Committee Advisory Group and Judicial Merits Selection Panel. In May 2013, Ms. Vyskocil was invited by the Chief Judge of the State of New York to serve as a member of the Advisory Council on the New York State Commercial Division. In 2014, she was elected to the Board of the Historical Society of the New York Courts, nominated by Chief Judge Lippman.


Ms. Vyskocil  serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Community Trust, and is a trustee of St. Joseph’s Seminary and of Dominican College of Blauvelt.  She is President Emeritus of the Alumni Board of Directors at St. John’s University School of Law and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Law School.  She has also served on the law school’s Dean Search Committee.  Ms. Vyskocil is on the Board of Directors of the Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (“JALBCA”).


Ms. Vyskocil has consistently received numerous first tier national and state rankings in publications such as ChambersLegal 500, and Benchmark Litigation. She was selected by Law360 as a top 15 female litigator in their inaugural 2012 Female Trial Attorneys series and was recognized at Law360’s 2012 MVP Awards.  She was recognized  in Benchmark Litigation “Top 250 Women in Litigation in America” in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, Benchmark Litigation also named her among the Top Ten Women Litigators in the United States. Additionally, The American Lawyer named her “Litigator of the Week” (January 27th, 2012), ranked her as one of the “2013 Top Rated Lawyers in Insurance Law” and gave her an AV Preeminent® peer review rating in 2013.  Most recently, she was selected as the Global Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal, which noted “Mary Kay Vyskocil received unrivalled levels of praise our sources both in private practice and in house across the globe.” Best Lawyers also named Ms. Vyskocil ‘Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law in the New York City Area’ – she was the only lawyer to be selected in this category for the 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in the United States, and was named “Best in Insurance & Reinsurance” at Euromoney’s America’s Women in Business Law Awards in 2012 and 2013. Previously, Ms. Vyskocil was cited in the National Law Journal’s “40 Under 40” (November 1995), and named by Legal Media Group as one of the Top Ten Lawyers in the U.S. in the Insurance/Reinsurance field.   Mary Kay is also ranked Band One in Chambers “Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers” (2004 - 2013), where she has received praise as “an excellent and tenacious lawyer,” “quick to respond and very professional in her approach.” She has also been recognized as a leading lawyer by The Legal 500 (2010-2013); Best Lawyers in America (2006 - 2012); and Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers (2006 - 2013).  Benchmark Litigation also named her a “litigation star” in the category of insurance (2011-2013). The New York Times named her as one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” in the NY Metropolitan area  (2007 - 2010). She was listed in the National Law Journal as one of American’s Top 50 Women Litigators (Dec. 2001) and is also recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in New York by Super Lawyers (2006-2012).

•  New York Community Trust, Board of Directors, 2013-present
•  American Bar Association, Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage Committee: Co-Chair, Annual Meeting, 2003; Co-Chair, Reinsurance Subcommittee, 1997-2000 and 2009-present; Co-Chair Program Subcommittee, 2004-2005; Property Insurance Subcommittee, 2006-2009
•  Defense Research Institute
•  American Law Institute
•  Association of the Bar of the City of New York: Litigation Committee, 2005-2008; Federal Courts Committee, 1997-2000; Chair, Insurance Committee, 1993-1996
•  St. John's University School of Law, President-Emeritus, Alumni Board of Directors; Member of Dean's Advisory Council
•  Second Circuit Task Force on Racial, Ethnic and Gender Fairness, Subcommittee Co-Chair
•  Joint Committee (of Federal Bar Council and City Bar of NY) on Judicial Conduct, 2005-Present
•  New York Inn of Court, Founding Member and Executive Committee
•  Member, Board of Trustees, St. Joseph's Seminary
•  Member, Board of Trustees, Dominican College of Blauvelt
•  David Rockefeller Fellow, Partnership for New York City (2003-2004)
•  Member, mock United States Supreme Court bench at the Office of Appellate Defender's "First Monday in October” program: “NYPD Subway Searches: Are They Constitutional?” (October 2006)
•  SDNY Judicial Merits Selection Panel, 2011-Present
•  SDNY Judicial Improvement Committee Advisory Group, 2011-2012
•  JALBCA, Board of Directors, 2012-Present
•  ARIAS-U.S., Chair, Strategic Planning Committee; Chairman, 2012-2014; President 2011-2012; Director, 2007-Present
•  Federal Bar Council, Executive Committee Member, Treasurer, 2012-present; Vice-chair of Board 2010-12; Director 2006-12; Chair of Second Circuit Courts Committee, 2009-2013; Co-Chair, Fall Bench & Bar Retreat, 2004-2007; Chair of Winter Bench & Bar 2011; Chair of Thanksgiving Luncheon 2012
•  First Recipient of Badami Outstanding Alumni Award, Dominican College, May 1992
•  President's Medal, Dominican College, 2002
•  St. Edmund's Medal of Honor, St. Edmund's Retreat, June 2005
•  Pietas Medal, St. John's University School of Law, June 2008
•  American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Committee on Environmental Litigation, Committee Vice-Chair, 1994-1998; Co-Chair, Midyear Meeting, 1995
•  Disciplinary Committee Hearing Referee, New York Appellate Division First Department, 2009-Present
•  Induction into Alumni Hall of Distinction, Dominican College, June 2008
The Supreme Court Considers Challenge to Key Legal Theory in Class Action Securities Litigations
Contributing Author, Ostrager & Newman, Handbook on Insurance Coverage Disputes, 16th Ed (Aspen Publishers 2011)
“Trigger of Coverage,” in  Insurance Law Practice, 2nd Ed Revised.,  J. Nonna, editor  (New York State Bar Ass’n 2010)
The Supreme Court Holds That Class Certification of Rule 10b-5 Claims Does Not Require Proof of Materiality
Potential Insurance and Reinsurance Implications of Hurricane Sandy
Supreme Court Rejects Argument That Section 16(b) Claims Based on “Short Swing” Trades Are Tolled Until Filing of a Section 16(a) Statement
New York Court of Appeals Rejects Martin Act Preemption of Common Law Claims of Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Gross Negligence
Supreme Court Considers Tolling of Statute of Limitations in Section 16(b) Claims
Global Warming Alert: United States Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Connecticut v. American Electric Power Company, Inc.
Supreme Court Finds the Discover Bank Rule Preempted by FAA
Ostrager & Vyskocil, "Crisis Management - Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts," 4A N.Y. Prac., Com. Litig. In New York State Courts, 59 (Thompson Reuters 3rd Edition 2011)
The Supreme Court Considers Whether the FAA Preempts State Court Decision Holding Class Arbitration Waiver Unenforceable
The Supreme Court Holds That Arbitrators, Not Courts, May Decide Challenges To The Enforceability Of Stand-Alone Arbitration Agreements
The Supreme Court Vacates Arbitrators' Decision Allowing Class Arbitration Based Solely On Arbitrators' Own Policy Views
The Supreme Court Examines Whether Courts Must Decide the Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses Challenged as Unconscionable
The Supreme Court Considers Whether Class Arbitration is Permitted When the Arbitration Clause is Silent on the Issue
Three Federal Courts Issue Back-to-Back Decisions Addressing the Viability of Global Warming Tort Actions
Corban v. USAA: Reinterpreting the Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause
The Supreme Court Allows Non-Signatories to Arbitration Agreements to Seek to Stay Claims under the Federal Arbitration Act
Ostrager & Vyskocil, Modern Reinsurance Law and Practice (2d ed. Glasser LegalWorks 2000).
Speaking Engagements
•  Mary Kay Vyskocil to Speak at New York County Lawyers’ Association CLE, “Advice From More Experts: More Successful Strategies for Winning Commercial Cases in New York State Court”
June 11, 2013
•  Mary Kay Vyskocil to Speak at The Inaugural Women in Insurance Network CLE Workshop
September 28, 2012
•  Andrew Frankel and Mary Kay Vyskocil To Speak at Perrin Conference’s "Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocation Issues in 2012" Program on February 23, 2012
February 1, 2012
•  New York 1984
•  U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York 1984
•  U.S. District Court Northern District of New York 1984
•  U.S. District Court Southern District of New York 1984
•  U.S. District Court District of Connecticut 1988
•  U.S. District Court Northern District of California 1988
•  U.S. Court of International Trade 2009
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit 1984
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit 1985
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit 1992
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit 1993
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit 1993
•  U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit 1996
•  U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit 2010
•  U.S. Supreme Court 1989
•  St. John's University School of Law, 1983 J.D.
National Moot Court Team; St. Thomas More Scholarship
•  Dominican College of Blauvelt, 1980 B.A.
summa cum laude; Valedictorian

•  Litigation
•  Insurance/Reinsurance
•  Asia Litigation
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