Melissa is Special Counsel and Head of Cyber Insurance, specialising in insurance law, with a focus on cyber, financial lines and professional indemnity.
She has extensive experience advising both local and international insurers on a wide range of coverage and liability issues in both litigated and non-litigated matters.
Melissa has experience advising on cyber insurance claims in relation to incident response, coverage issues, privacy issues and third party claims.
Melissa has defended claims brought against insurers in coverage disputes as well as acted in defence of insureds, including directors and officers, lawyers, brokers, engineers, architects, accountants, and financial planners.
Additionally, Melissa has experience in class actions both as defence counsel and coverage counsel.
She has also acted for commercial clients in general commercial litigation matters.
Melissa's areas of expertise include:
- cyber insurance
- directors' & officers' liability
- professional indemnity
- financial services
- class actions
Between 2017 and 2018, Melissa completed an eleven-month secondment with QBE386 where she managed the financial and specialty market claims, including professional indemnity, directors, officers and financial institutions' liability claims.
Melissa's litigation expertise was recently recognised by Lawyerly as she was named one of Lawyerly's Litigation Rising Stars of 2021. She was also named a young gun in the Australian insurance industry by the Insurance Business Australia Young Guns 2019. In 2014, Melissa was also named by Australasian Lawyer as one of 50 rising stars in the Australian legal industry as an up-and-coming litigation and dispute resolution lawyer.
Melissa's experience includes:
- defending an international communications company in proceedings commenced by a multinational information technology company in relation to internet capacity services and DDoS attack
- acting as breach response counsel for various SMEs in relation to cryptolocker attacks or business email compromise attacks
- providing cyber reinsurance coverage advice to a state government insurer involving healthcare services
- advising a multi-national company in relation to a data breach incident and undertaking contract review work in relation to the cyber incident so as to advise on recovery prospects
- acting as privacy counsel in relation to a data breach incident involving a healthcare service provider
- acting as breach response and privacy counsel for a workforce management company in relation to a Netwalker attack
- successfully defending insurers in a special leave application to the High Court of Australia in relation to complex coverage issues of non-disclosure, and the conduct exclusion and advancement of defence costs
- successfully defending professional indemnity insurers in the Supreme Court of New South Wales involving notification issues and the application of section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth)
- defending structural engineers in relation to a high-profile class action proceeding and related proceeding in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in relation to allegations of design defects
- defending the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to a class action
- defending an international communications company in proceedings commenced by a multinational information technology company in relation to internet capacity services and DDoS protection
- defending a director of a construction company in a multi-million dollar insolvent trading proceeding
- acting as coverage and monitoring counsel in relation to shareholders’ class action in which directors and officers were sued
- defending a roofing company specialising in roof installation in relation to extensive water damage to a building with a potential quantum in excess of AUD10 million.