Charles A. Hafner

blank image Charles A. Hafner
10 S. Wacker Drive
21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60606, US

T: 312.585.1420 F: 312.585.1401
Charles focuses his practice in the areas of insurance coverage counseling, litigation, and appeals, representing insurers in state and federal courts nationwide.

For over 15 years, Charles has counseled clients on complex insurance disputes arising from a variety of subject areas, including: 

  • Appellate
  • Bad Faith
  • Commercial Transportation
  • Construction Defect
  • Environmental/Toxic Tort
  • Managed Care & Health Care
  • Primary & Excess General Liability
  • Professional/Management Liability

Charles also has significant experience with coverage issues arising under public and non-profit entity, healthcare and managed care, and financial lines policies.


  • Chicago Bar Association

Before Nicolaides

Before joining the firm, Charles was first an associate and then a partner at a Chicago insurance coverage firm, focusing his practice in insurance coverage counseling, litigation, and appeals. Charles began his legal career as a clerk to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District.

Outside Nicolaides

Charles is an accomplished amateur cook and has a particular knack for finding excellent restaurants in any city in America. Charles is a permanent volunteer at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, and enjoys hiking, skiing, and fly-fishing.

  • Obtained partial summary judgment for insurer finding that Illinois law applied to policies issued to Illinois-based insured even though accident occurred at insured's facility in Mississippi.
  • Secured summary judgment for insurer finding that insured's $150 million settlement of claims arising under Louisiana PPO statute, including attorneys' fees award, were "penalties" not covered under healthcare E&O policy on the basis that the statutory awards were not connected to actual damages suffered by claimants.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of excess insurer on grounds that insured's notice of lawsuit three days before trial breached the policy's timely notice condition.
  • Obtained favorable, unanimous decision from arbitral panel finding no coverage for $25 million claim for alleged "property damage" to coke oven batteries.
  • Obtained judgment for insurer in declaratory judgment action on basis that insured's subsidiaries, formed after policy expiration, could not retroactively be deemed insureds.
  • Obtained summary judgment, affirmed by the Third Circuit, that insurance policy owed no obligation to reimburse insured $16.8 million in attorneys' fees incurred to defend litigation against tobacco company.
  • Obtained judgment for insurer in declaratory judgment action involving issues of first impression under Delaware law with respect to scope and limits of coverage available to an additional insured.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of excess insurer that late notice of catastrophic bodily-injury lawsuit precluded coverage.
  • Advised domestic insurer covering worldwide activities of secretive religious organization on widely publicized, high-exposure sexual abuse claims brought by multiple victims in the UK and Argentina, and assisted insurer with development of a protocol for handling anticipated future claims.
  • Advised domestic insurer client and Japanese attorneys on strategy for coverage dispute litigated in Japan under policies with non-specific "U.S. law" choice of law provisions. The insured supplier of component parts for water heaters faced multi-million-dollar exposure as a result of product defect claims by both the water heater manufacturer and consumer end users.
  • Advised domestic insurer and counsel based in the United Kingdom on coverage issues arising out of defamation lawsuit filed against labor union by a well-known owner and operator of casinos.
  • Represented excess insurer in coverage litigation relating to correct policy attachment point for lawsuit in Wyoming against the insured coal company's supervisory employees; underlying Wyoming lawsuit resulted in first impression decision by the Wyoming Supreme Court finding conduct falling short of intent to injure satisfied the state's statutory "intentional act" exceptions to worker's compensation exclusivity.
  • Advised excess insurers on coverage obligations and restatement of limits issues arising out of a) Sago Mine disaster in 2006 that resulted in the death of 12 miners, and b) Upper Big Branch explosion incident that resulted in deaths of 29 coal miners in April 2010. The Upper Big Branch incident remains the worst mining accident in the U.S. since 1970 in terms of fatalities, and was preceded for that distinction by the Sago Mine disaster.