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Sharon Coutinho de Souza

Director (Special Risks) Canada - Toronto, Toronto

Sharon is a Specialty Lines adjuster experienced in handling complex professional liability, medical malpractice, product liability, environmental impairment liability, and directors’ and officers’ liability claims. 
Sharon Coutinho-de Souza | DWF


Sharon has over 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, and specialises in handling complex specialty liability claims, including professional liability, medical malpractice, product liability, environmental impairment liability, and directors’ and officers’ liability.  Her experience in professional liability includes managing claims for accountants, architects, engineers, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, environmental consultants, and various medical professionals. 

In addition, Sharon’s practice is largely focused on the analysis and interpretation of insurance policies to determine the availability of coverage to respond to liability claims.

Sharon is keenly focused on cultivating and fostering strong relationships with clients to gain an understanding of their claims handling philosophies and requirements, in order to be able to deliver effective and efficient solutions.  


Recent Cases

Biotechnology product liability claim

This claim involved multiple putative class action lawsuits and individual lawsuits, resulting from alleged packaging deficiencies in several birth control pill products. Sharon was involved in the early investigation of the manufacturing process for the products, as well as the involvement of all stakeholders in the distribution chains, in order to determine the liability exposure of all involved parties. The claims were defended with the involvement of multiple defence lawyers as well as experts, and it was established that the margin for deficiency of the products was so low that claims could not be substantiated without proof of purchase and causation by the putative class plaintiffs as well as individual plaintiffs. All of the claims were eventually resolved by way of nominal economic based settlements and several of the putative class actions were dismissed in their entirety.

Environmental impairment liability

This was a claim involving the discovery of extensive contamination, arising from the escape of dry-cleaning solvents into the soil and groundwater surrounding a dry cleaning plant. Litigation proceedings were initiated against the insured by a neighbouring property owner asserting allegations of property damage, degradation of property value, and bodily injury, with damages sought well in excess of the policy limits. Sharon retained multiple experts, including several environmental consultants and engineers, to delineate the source and extent of the contamination and put measures into place to avoid further spread of the contamination onto neighbouring properties.  She also retained defence counsel to address the proceedings, and co-ordinated the efforts of counsel and our various experts to craft a negotiated resolution.