We do not handle Social Security Disability (SSDI) claims.

Shawn E. McDermott

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Shawn E. McDermott is an insurance law litigator who primarily serves communities of Denver, Boulder, Aurora, Littleton, Ft. Collins, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Durango and the other areas throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. The attorneys and staff at McDermott Law handle a wide variety of disputes with insurance companies involving injury, illness, and disease. He has practiced law in Denver since 1992 and has extensive experience litigating cases involving personal injury, insurance coverage and bad faith, disability law and ERISA.

Shawn E. McDermott is the owner/manager of the firm specializing in the areas of insurance recovery and bad faith, ERISA, Colorado PERA, disability and life insurance, personal injury, and wrongful death.

Shawn is a 1992 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law. Prior to law school, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado.

While in law school, Shawn was a member of the Rothgerber Moot Court winning team and received the Austin W. Scott, Jr. Award for Excellence in Oral Argument.

Prior to forming McDermott Law in 1996, Shawn was an associate attorney at the law firm of Breit, Best Richman and Bosch representing individuals and insurance companies and their insureds in a variety of claims, including insurance coverage and bad faith, aviation cases, automobile crashworthiness, railroad crossing injury, professional (medical and legal) liability, products liability, skier and ski area liability, catastrophic injury and wrongful death. He now dedicates the bulk of his time and this firm’s resources to representing individuals against insurance companies in the areas of disability, life, health and accidental death & dismemberment claims, ERISA-governed claims for employee benefits, PERA disability retirement claims, and serious personal injury matters.

Shawn has litigated hundreds of ERISA and non-ERISA disability and life insurance claims in the Colorado state courts, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and courts in other states. Shawn’s federal court experience is significant in the ERISA arena, likely having handled more of these claims than any other attorney in Colorado. He has also argued cases before the Colorado Court of Appeals and the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Shawn is a member of the Denver Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association. He is active in the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and has served on its Board of Directors as well as a two-year stint as the original Co-Chairperson of the Young Lawyers Committee (many years ago). He is also a member of the American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America). Shawn is licensed to practice in all Colorado State and Federal courts, including the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

When not in the office, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife and two teenage sons. He is an avid golfer, fly fisherman and motorcyclist in the summer (when there is time). The winter months in Colorado are, of course, meant for skiing with family and friends.


  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado
    • J.D – 1992
    • Honors: Rothgerber Moot Court Competition, Winning Team Member
    • Honors: Austin W. Scott, Jr. Award for Excellence In Oral Argument
  • University of Colorado, Engineering School
    • B.S., Bachelor of Science – 1988
    • Major: Architectural Engineering

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

Professional Associations

  • Denver Bar Association, Member
  • Colorado Bar Association, Member
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member

Published Works

  • C.R.S. § 10-3-1116, ERISA Preemption, and the Standard of Review, Colorado Lawyer, July 2010, Vol. 39, No. 7
  • Group Long-Term Disability Coverage and ERISA, Colorado Lawyer, May 2004, Vol.33, No.5
  • McDermott, S., Employer-Provided Disability Coverage and Offsets for Other Income Benefits: The Necessary Coordination of Benefits, Trial Talk CTLA Magazine, June 2013, Vol.62, Issue 4

Classes & Seminars

  • Reimbursement & Disability Insurance, presented at ERISA Subrogation Seminar, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, April 18, 2017
  • ERISA Claims: The Top Ten Things to Know About Claims, Appeals and Litigation, presented at Insurance Bad Faith Seminar, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, May 15, 2015
  • The Impact of HB 1407 on ERISA Health, Life and Disability Claims, presented at HB 1407: Insurance Accountability Act Seminar, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Unreasonable Failure of the Liability Insurer to Defend or Settle: The Consequences, Colorado Insurance Bad Faith Law & Practice Seminar, Professional Education Systems, Inc., 1996
  • Damages in Insurance Bad Faith, Lorman Education Services, 1994
  • Understanding ERISA: A Trail Through the Thorny Woods of Pre-Emption, Exemptions and Exceptions, Lorman Education Services, 1994
  • Work Product Immunity, Attorney-Client Privilege & Peer Review and Quality Assurance Confidentiality, Colorado Healthcare Associated Risk Managers, 1994

Representative Cases

  • Rivera v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, No. 11-cv-02585-WYD-KLM, 2012 WL 2709138 (D.Colo. July 09, 2012)
  • Croll v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. (CIGNA), and Lockheed Martin Group Universal Life Plan, an ERISA Welfare Benefit Plan, 863 F.Supp.2d 1093, 2012 WL 1439172, No. 2010-cv-0735-CMA-MEH (D. Colo. April 26, 2012)
  • Bray v. Sun Life and Health Ins. Co. (U.S.), No. 08-cv-02335-RBJ-CBS, 2012 WL 628611 (D.Colo. Feb. 27, 2012)
  • Bottoms v. Liberty Life Assurance of Boston, No. 11–cv–01606–PAB–CBS, 2011 WL 6181423 (D.Colo. Dec. 13, 2011)
  • Bray v. Sun Life and Health Insurance, No. 08-cv-02335-WYD-CBS, 2010 WL 3341521 (D.Colo. Aug. 23, 2010)
  • Kohut v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 08-cv-00669-CMA-MJW, 2008 WL 5246163 (D.Colo. Dec. 16, 2008)
  • State Farm v. American Family and American Standard Ins. Co. and Eliberto Meza, Amelia Meza, Sofi Meza, Irene Meza, Rosalinda Chaparro, Flora Quintana, and Angelita Cordera,Colorado Court of Appeals No.: 06CA2667 (July 3, 2008) (Not Selected for Official Publication)
  • Hoyt v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., No. 07-cv-02210-LTB-KLM, 2008 WL 686922 (D.Colo. Mar. 12, 2008)
  • Jeffryes v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co.,No. 05-cv-01770-EWN-CBS, 2006 WL 1186493 (D.Colo. May 4, 2006)
  • McCord v. Affinity Ins. Group,13 P.3d 1224 (Colo. App. 2000) (NO. 99CA2118)
  • Progressive Specialty Ins. Co. v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co.,148 P.3d 470 (Colo.App. 2006) October 19, 2006 (No. 05CA1161)
  • Kaferly v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 189 F. Supp.3d 1085, 2016 WL 3197375 (D.Colo. May 31, 2016)

Past Positions

  • Breit, Best Richman and Bosch

Shawn E. McDermott

Founding Attorney/Manager

4600 S Ulster St Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237

practice areas

  • Group Disability and Life Insurance
  • Individual Disability Insurance
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Claims
  • Doctor and Dentist Disability Claims
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Colorado PERA Disability
  • ERISA-governed Claims
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Personal Injury


  • Superlawyer 2011 – Present

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