CMN U-5 Article Published in Practical Compliance & Risk Management Magazine

By Publications Archives

CMN attorneys Elizabeth Doolin and Joe Jeffery’s article “Steering Around Defamation Liability When Completing a U-5” was recently published in the Practical Compliance & Risk Management for the Securities Industry magazine’s July-August 2010 edition.  See attached article.

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Related Members                            

Elizabeth G. Doolin
Joseph R. Jeffery

CMN Lawyers Win Jury Verdict For Life Insurer Client

By Publications Archives

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind to go to verdict, Sean P. MacCarthy and Craig M. Bargher of Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC in Chicago obtained a full defense jury verdict for CMN client American Family Life Insurance Company in a wrongful death case brought against American Family for alleged negligent issuance of a life insurance policy. In Bryant v. American Family Life Insurance Company, No. 09 L 006659, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Law Division (May 20, 2010), the plaintiff alleged that American Family negligently issued a $500,000 universal life insurance policy, insuring the life of Lorenzo Hamilton, after an imposter applied for the policy in January 2001 at the office of an American Family agent.  The imposter represented to the agent that he was Hamilton, provided income information, presented an employee identification card with Hamilton’s name on it, and signed the application. Another person represented herself as Hamilton’s fiancée, and was the named beneficiary. Approximately two months after American Family issued the policy, the imposter and another person murdered Hamilton. The imposter fiancée then made a claim for the death benefits. American Family conducted a contestable investigation, quickly learned that the imposter applied for the policy, and denied the claim. The murderers were convicted and sentenced to prison, and the impostor fiancée was convicted of insurance fraud and sentenced to prison as well.

At trial, American Family’s underwriting expert, who had been employed as a home office underwriter for over 20 years, testified that the insurer properly followed all of its policies and procedures and complied with the applicable standard of care. The plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,700,000 in damages but the jury returned a full defense verdict.
This was the first case to be tried in Illinois against an insurance company for the alleged negligent issuance of an insurance policy to an imposter since the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Bajwa v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 208 Ill. 2d 414, 804 N.E.2d 519 (Ill. 2004), which recognized such a cause of action.

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Related Member                            

Sean P. MacCarthy

Related Associate

Craig M. Bargher

CMN Publishes 2009 Life, Health, Disability Law Survey

By Publications Archives

Chittenden, Murday & Novotny’s article “Recent Developments in Health Insurance, Life Insurance, and Disability Insurance Case Law” was recently published in the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal at 44-2 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 473 (Winter 2009).


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Related Members

William A. Chittenden, III
Elizabeth G. Doolin
Michael B. Galibois
David F. Schmidt
Joseph J. Hasman
Jennifer S. Stegmaier
Joseph R. Jeffery
Julie F. Wall

Related Associates

Craig M. Bargher
Georgia J. Joyce
Stuart F. Primack
Vittorio F. Terrizzi

CMN Wins Summary Judgment in ERISA Class Action Suit

By Publications Archives

District Court Judge Elaine Bucklo of the Northern District of Illinois entered summary judgment in favor of CMN client, First Commonwealth Insurance Company, in a class action brought on behalf of a putative class of dental HMO members under Section 1132(a)(1)(b) of ERISA and the federal common law of promissory estoppel.  The class plaintiff contended that First Commonwealth’s marketing brochure and use of market data from outside sources to establish the fee schedule of dental charges in defined geographic areas to determine plan participants’ copayments was misleading.

In ruling for First Commonwealth, the Court adopted CMN’s primary arguments that the named class representative failed to exhaust administrative remedies under ERISA and that he failed to show there were any knowing misrepresentations in the plan documents.  The Court also held that it was unreasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the brochure alone since it referred plan participants to other plan documents which provided a more complete description of plan benefits.  Upon entry of summary judgment for First Commonwealth, Judge Bucklo then denied the motion for class certification as moot.

The decision in Kaden v. First Commonwealth, No. 05 C 2212, clarifies the law with respect to the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine and the requirement that any ERISA estoppel claim must be supported by a knowing misrepresentation.  The winning briefs were written by CMN member, David Schmidt, with the assistance of associate, Joseph Jeffery.  See attached Memorandum Opinion and Order.

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Related Members                            

David F. Schmidt
Joseph J. Hasman
Joseph R. Jeffery

CMN Publishes 2008 Life, Health, Disability Law Survey

By Publications Archives

Chittenden, Murday & Novotny’s article “Recent Developments in Health Insurance, Life Insurance, and Disability Insurance Case Law” was recently published in the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal at 43-3 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 473 (Spring 2008).


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   Recent Developments Article

 

Related Members                            

William A. Chittenden, III
Elizabeth G. Doolin
Michael B. Galibois
David F. Schmidt
Joseph J. Hasman
Jennifer S. Stegmaier
Joseph R. Jeffery
Julie F. Wall

Related Associates

Craig M. Bargher
Georgia J. Joyce
Stuart F. Primack
Vittorio F. Terrizzi

CMN Publishes 2007 Life, Health, Disability Law Survey

By Publications Archives

Chittenden, Murday & Novotny’s article “Recent Developments in Health Insurance, Life Insurance, and Disability Insurance Case Law” was recently published in the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal at 42:2 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 511 (Winter 2007).  See attached article.

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Related Members                            

William A. Chittenden, III
Elizabeth G. Doolin
Michael B. Galibois
David F. Schmidt
Joseph J. Hasman
Jennifer S. Stegmaier
Joseph R. Jeffery
Julie F. Wall

Related Associates

Craig M. Bargher
Georgia J. Joyce
Vittorio F. Terrizzi

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment In ERISA Disability Case

By Publications Archives

In a significant decision affecting the Firm’s group disability insurance clients, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a suit for ERISA disability benefits. The claimant argued she was totally disabled by virtue of her chronic migraine headaches but failed to produce any objective documentation of her condition. The Court of Appeals rejected her contention that it was wrong for the administrator to require objective proof of a disability that was primarily subjective in nature and held that the decision to deny benefits was not arbitrary or capricious as a matter of law. The case was handled in the trial court and on appeal by Firm member, David Schmidt. (2006 WL 2220822; 11th Cir., August 4, 2006.)

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Related Member                            

David F. Schmidt