McDermott Law, LLC
4600 S. Ulster Street,
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237

(303) 964-1800

About Us

About McDermott Law —

Insurance Benefits and ERISA Attorneys

Serving Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, and all other Colorado Communities

Shawn E. McDermott | Denver Disability & ERISA Attorney

Shawn E. McDermott is an insurance law litigator and personal injury attorney, 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

Founding Attorney/Manager

Shawn E. McDermott | Denver Disability & ERISA LawyerEducation

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. He also received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado. His first year of law school was spent at the University of San Francisco.

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 spent approximately five years 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 and in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Shawn’s federal court experience is significant in the ERISA arena, likely having handled more of these claims than any other Colorado attorney.  Shawn has appeared before virtually all of the United States District Court Judges and Magistrate Judges.  He has also argued in front of 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 Chairperson for the Young Lawyers Committee. 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.


  • C.R.S. § 10-3-1116, ERISA Preemption, and the Standard of Review, Colorado Lawyer, July 2010, Vol. 39, No. 7
  • 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
  • Group Long-Term Disability Coverage and ERISA, Colorado Lawyer, May 2004, Vol.33, No.5
  • 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
  • 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


Published/Recognized 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)
  • Rivera v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, No. 11-cv-02585-WYD-KLM, 2012 WL 2709138 (D. Colo. July 09, 2012)


When not in the office, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife and two 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.

Timothy M. Garvey

Associate Attorney
Timothy M. Garvey | Denver Disability & ERISA LawyerTimothy M. Garvey is a litigation attorney with the Denver law firm of McDermott Law, LLC, specializing in the areas of ERISA disability insurance, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, insurance recovery, and personal injury. Tim is licensed to practice in all courts in the State of Colorado and has represented clients in matters before the Colorado Court of Appeals, Colorado District Courts, and the United States District Courts in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Utah. Over his career, Tim has assisted individuals and corporations in successfully litigating and mediating their disputes against insurance companies and other defendants, helping his clients recover millions of dollars.

In 2015, Tim co-authored a chapter for the third edition of the Colorado Auto-Litigators Handbook (published by CTLA) entitled “Searching for Insurance Coverage. Tim has been repeatedly recognized by numerous professional organizations, including Colorado Super Lawyers (Rising Star 2016); the American Society of Legal Advocates (Top 40 under 40 litigation attorney 2015); the Colorado Bar Foundation (Fellow 2014); the Colorado Bar Association (Pro Bono Award 2014); the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Pro Bono Award 2014); and the Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training program (Graduate 2013).


Tim is a 2010 graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. While attending law school, he worked as a research assistant for three professors and completed a number of prestigious internships including one with the Office of Legal Counsel of Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., and another with Judge Ed Bronfin of the Denver District Court. He also won a scholarship to attend The Hague Academy of International Law and had his winning paper published in the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy. Upon graduation, Tim clerked for Judge A. Bruce Jones of the Denver District Court, serving on both civil and domestic relations dockets.


Tim is actively involved in both the legal community and the community at large. He currently serves as co-chair of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s New Lawyers Committee, and as a board member for the Denver-based music/education nonprofit Youth on Record. He previously served as President of the Colorado Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society (2013–15), and as a Council Member of the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (2012–14). Other professional memberships include: the American, Colorado, and Denver Bar Associations; the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association; the American Association for Justice; the Faculty of Federal Advocates; and the Civil Rights Committee of the CBA.


  • Timothy Garvey, Opinion, Colorado Senators Should Work To Swiftly Protect Our Federal Trial Court, Denver Post (July 16, 2015),
  • Michael J. Rosenberg and Timothy M. Garvey, Searching for Insurance Coverage in Colorado Auto-Litigators Handbook (William Babich ed., 3d ed. 2015)
  • CLE Presenter, FFA Panel on Representing Prisoners Through Federal Pro Bono Program (Dec. 2015)
  • Timothy M. Garvey, Lawyers, Liars, and the Art of Storytelling: Using Stories to Advocate, Influence, and Persuade, 44 Colo. Lawyer No. 2, 80–81 (February 2015) (book review)
  • Tim Garvey, Esq., Flood Insurance Primer, Colorado Bar Association 2013 (used as training materials for Volunteer Attorneys assisting with the Colorado Flood Relief effort)
  • Timothy M. Garvey, Let Them Help, 90 Denv. U. L. Rev. Online 13 (2013), available at
  • Timothy M. Garvey, Typography for Lawyers: Essential Tools for Polished and Persuasive Documents, 41 Colo. Lawyer No. 12, 81–83 (Dec. 2012) (book review)
  • CLE Presenter, Do’s and Don’ts of Courtroom Etiquette, CBA-YLD annual CLE program (2012)
  • Guest Lecturer, Practice of Law in the Nonprofit Sector, Sturm College of Law (2012)
  • Timothy Garvey, God v. Gays? The Rights of Sexual Minorities in International Law as Seen Through the Doomed Existence of the Brazilian Resolution, 38 J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 659 (2010)


A native of New Jersey, but a proud Colorado resident for nearly 30 years, Tim enjoys all that living in the Mile High City has to offer, including a thriving arts scene and easy access to the Rocky Mountains. Tim also enjoys traveling with his wife to new destinations and exploring new cultures. Prior to attending law school, Tim spent nearly a decade managing one of the country’s best independent record stores (Twist & Shout Records), while simultaneously running a small Denver-based record label (Public Service Records), DJ’ing at several weekly events, and owning a cheesesteak restaurant (Taste of Philly) with his twin brother.

Heather L. Petitmermet

Of Counsel

Heather L. Petitmermet | Denver Disability & ERISA Lawyer, Of CounselHeather Petitmermet originally joined the firm in 2005, immediately following graduation from law school.  After taking a brief family leave beginning in 2014, she returned in 2016 to resume her practice. Heather’s entire legal career has been dedicated exclusively to representing individuals whose claims for disability benefits have been wrongfully denied. She is well-versed in ERISA, non-ERISA, and PERA disability claims. Heather acknowledges that battling an insurance company for income replacement benefits, while also dealing with a debilitating medical condition, is incredibly stressful. She strives to make this process as easy as possible for her clients, keeping them well informed, and explaining the process, so they know what to expect. With her vast experience dealing with virtually every disability insurer in the country, Heather is adept at developing an individualized plan for each claim that provides the best chance of success. She has successfully submitted countless appeals to insurers disputing improper denials of disability benefits, and has litigated numerous claims in federal and state court.

Heather attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Wyoming for her undergraduate education, graduating magna cum laude in 2002 with a degree in Business Administration. Thereafter, she began law school at the University of Colorado’s School of Law.  During law school, Heather was an associate editor of the Colorado Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. She also held valuable internships for two judges in the Jefferson County court. Her studies also included a summer participating in a legal study abroad program in Valetta, Malta.

Heather is a member of the Denver Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and is licensed to practice in all Colorado state and federal courts, including the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

When not in the office, Heather is busy juggling the schedules of her three active children.  She also enjoys spending as much time as possible in the mountains with her husband and kids, skiing in the winter, and hiking in the summer.

MarySusan L. Kern, MSLA, JD

Associate Attorney
MarySusan L. Kern | Senior Legal Assistant, AdministratorMarySue is the longest tenured employee of McDermott Law, LLC.  She has worked as a Legal Assistant and Legal Administrator for the firm for over ten years.  MarySue has extensive experience in handling ERISA, PERA, and private disability insurance claims, including internal insurance appeals and litigation.  As the main point of contact for many of our clients over the years, she is adept at answering client questions and explaining the procedures of these claims to alleviate client concerns with regard to the appeals and litigation processes.  MarySue strives to keep clients well informed and up to date with all pertinent claim issues.  She has implemented firm-wide practices to ensure all client matters are managed in an organized and effective way to ensure clients achieve relief as efficiently as possible.

MarySue graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. After joining McDermott Law, LLC, MarySue began her post-graduate education at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She worked at the firm through graduate school and law school. She achieved a Master of Science in Legal Administration in 2011 and a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Constitutional Law in 2017. She ranked third in her law school graduating class.

Mary Sue is admitted to practice law in the State of Colorado and in her home State of Iowa. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association, Iowa Bar Association, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, the Iowa Association for Justice, Colorado Women’s Bar Association and Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys, among others.

Outside of the office, MarySue dedicates her time to many outdoor activities including skiing, camping, hiking, fishing and trail riding in her Jeep. She and her husband enjoy traveling with their dogs to different historical points of interest and national parks throughout the country. She also loves working with her family on their farm in Kossuth County, Iowa.

Lisa Blaylock

Lisa Blaylock | Paralegal Lisa joined the firm as a Paralegal in May of 2014. Her primary responsibilities include prospective client communications, and the appeal aspect of our employee benefit and insurance coverage cases. She is the person who obtains and organizes the necessary documentation to support your claim in the appeal process, including claim files, medical records, employment records, insurance documents, treating physicians’ support letters, and any other important evidence needed to support our clients’ claim for disability benefits. Once all the evidence is obtained, she will work with the attorneys to draft the client’s appeal. Lisa works directly with clients to compile all relevant documentation and to ensure that the clients are informed of the status of their appeals.

Lisa obtained an Associates of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Penn Foster College, and has been working in the field of ERISA disability and life insurance claims since 2003. Lisa enjoys traveling, spending time with her family and riding with her husband on their Harley Davidson.

Emily F. Smith

Legal Assistant

Emily F. Smith | Legal AssistantEmily is a legal assistant with the firm.  She assists the attorneys with various tasks and helps the clients through the legal process.  Emily requests and organizes various documentation regarding cases, including medical records, claim files, insurance documents, employment records, and any other evidence that may be useful.  She drafts correspondence and helps gather information for the attorneys to put together a strong case.

Emily graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s degree in French and a minor in Business Administration.  Prior to graduating, she spent a year in Annecy, France, taking classes and enjoying the French Alps.  In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, being outside, and spending time with friends and family.

Contact Shawn E. McDermott

Shawn McDermott and his staff are dedicated insurance dispute attorneys, who work with clients from all areas of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain, and beyond.  The attorneys at McDermott Law handle cases related to long term disability denials, life insurance claim denials, accidental death and dismemberment insurance denials, PERA disability claims, long term care insurance, homeowners insurance denials, and many other insurance related matters.  For a free assessment of your case, please contact one of our staff today or complete the form provided on this page.


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