Photo of Catherine Fornias Giarrusso

Catherine Fornias Giarrusso



  • Law Clerk to Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Louisiana Supreme Court


Tulane University Law School, J.D., Summa Cum Laude, 2002

University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Plan II Honors Program, Highest Honors, 1998


New Orleans CityBusiness, 
Leadership in Law Award, 2018

Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2017-2018

New Orleans Magazine, Top Lawyers, 2018

Tulane Law Review, Member and Editor

Tulane University Law School Faculty Medal

Order of the Coif

Phi Beta Kappa, University of Texas

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • Texas

Catherine (“Cassie”) Fornias Giarrusso represents insurers in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana in coverage and bad faith litigation.  Her insurance coverage expertise includes first-party and third-party claims involving both commercial and personal lines.  In addition, she has advised clients on possible appeals and briefed matters in the Louisiana appellate courts and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Since 2017, Louisiana Super Lawyers has recognized Cassie as a leading lawyer in the state.  

Cassie is licensed in Louisiana and Texas and practiced for two years with an international law firm in Houston before moving home to Louisiana in 2004. 

Before beginning her practice in Louisiana, Cassie served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Pascal Calogero, Jr. of the Louisiana Supreme Court.  Cassie graduated first in her class at Tulane Law School, for which she received the Faculty Medal.  She received her B.A., with highest honors, from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Notable Representations
  • Successful defense of primary insurer, through trial and appeal to Fifth Circuit, against excess insurer’s claim to recover $2 million excess judgment based on primary insurer’s alleged bad faith failure to defend underlying suit.
  • Successful defense of commercial general liability insurer, through two trials and appeal to Fifth Circuit, in a multi-million dollar coverage dispute arising out of FEMA trailer explosion.
  • Summary dismissal of insureds’ claims against homeowners insurers in MDL for damage caused by defective Chinese Drywall.
  • Defense of excess insurer against multi-million dollar coverage and bad faith claims under Texas law in MDL arising out of a large oil spill.
  • Defense of excess insurers in coverage dispute arising from insured’s claim for hundreds of millions for alleged lost business opportunities following Hurricane Katrina.
  • Defense of homeowners insurers against hundreds of claims involving wind and flood damage and bad faith allegations following Hurricane Katrina.
  • Summary dismissal of claims against CGL insurer based on professional services exclusion, affirmed by Fifth Circuit.
Professional and Civic Activities
  • In a pro bono representation for Catholic Charities, Cassie assisted a fifteen-year-old Honduran girl in obtaining a declaration of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status from juvenile court in Jefferson Parish (2017)
  • First Assistant Examiner for Code I, Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions
  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Louisiana
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, and American Bar Associations
  • Edward Hynes Charter School Parent Teacher Organization
  • Lakeview Civic Improvement Association
Publications and Presentations


  • “The Fifth Circuit Reconsiders Application of the Work Product Doctrine and the Privilege of Self-Evaluation: In Re Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co.,” 76 Tulane Law Review 247 (2001)


  • “Recognizing an Unreasonable Third Party Demand,” National Business Institute’s Seminar on Insurance Bad Faith "Set-Up" in Louisiana (December 2017)
  • “Recognizing an Unreasonable Third Party Demand,” National Business Institute’s Seminar on Insurance Bad Faith "Set-Up" in Louisiana (December 2015)

  • "Case Law and Legislative Update," Speaker, National Business Institute's Handling Complex Auto Insurance Coverage Disputes Seminar (2012)
  • “Federal Civil Procedure—Navigating the Mine Fields and Avoiding the Pitfalls,” Speaker, Loyola University College of Law (2010)
  • "Legal Tips for Today's Workplace," Panelist, J.P. Morgan Chase Human Resources Conference (2004)
Past Experience
  • Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P., Houston, Texas