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Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA Litigation

CMN is nationally-renowned for its extensive and long-standing representation of the life, health, and disability insurance industry. The firm is a recognized leader in this field and consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top life, health, and disability insurance law firms in industry surveys.

CMN is known for its exceptional and efficient representation of companies in the life, health, and disability insurance industries. Our clients are insurers, third-party administrators, and plan fiduciaries. They turn to us to represent them in a wide variety of disputes and our record is one of highly-successful representation in all manner of litigation and regulatory proceedings requiring expertise in ERISA, state and federal fiduciary liability laws, insurance coverage matters, agent-broker disputes, managed healthcare litigation, market-conduct examinations, and insurance tax challenges.

CMN’s attorneys are leaders in the field of life, health, and disability insurance litigation, and three of the firm’s members have been elected to the prestigious Association of Life Insurance Counsel. Our attorneys are prolific writers who frequently publish works discussing issues important to the industry. And for years the firm’s attorneys have authored the well-known survey of case law affecting the industry, “Recent Developments in Life, Health, and Disability Insurance Law,” which is published annually in the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. In addition, CMN’s attorneys are active leaders and participants in industry organizations and are called on regularly to speak at professional conferences, continuing legal education seminars, and in-house client training events.

Representative Matters:

  • Successfully represented life insurance company in prosecution of business tort and RICO claims involving $650 million corporate-owned life insurance program which resulted in multi-million dollar recovery for insurer.
  • Successfully defended multi-million dollar nationwide market conduct class action against major life insurer.
  • Represented major managed care organization in defense of nationwide class action alleging claims of breach of contract based on group plan modifications.
  • Recovered in excess of $6 million in suit filed on behalf of some of nation’s largest managed care organizations seeking repayment of state guaranty fund assessments based on Medicare premiums.
  • Acted as lead counsel for major life and health insurer in tax litigation seeking recovery of more than $18 million in capital stock tax assessments.
  • Serves as national counsel for major disability carriers handling ERISA and disability claims litigation across the country.
  • Successfully defended stop-loss carrier against breach of contract claims based on misrepresentations at renewal.
  • Successfully resisted appeal of summary judgment in favor of disability insurance carrier on large dollar group disability claim.
  • Successfully tried to verdict breach of contract claim by stop-loss insurer against former group policyholder.
  • Successfully appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of life insurance client in lawsuit involving the relationship between the contestability period in policy and conditional receipt.
  • Secured summary judgment on de novo review of denial long-term disability benefits (paid for 17 years), with judgment affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented life insurance companies in defense of nationwide STOLI litigation.

Financial Services Litigation

CMN is a recognized leader in representation of the financial services industry and has earned a reputation among clients as a knowledgeable, agile and innovative firm that gets results. We recognize our clients’ need for intelligent lawyering in this often complicated area of law and have the depth of experience necessary to find effective solutions to securities-related disputes.

Our lawyers regularly handle securities-related litigation in federal and state courts throughout the nation and in arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the American Arbitration Association and other arbitration forums. We have defended clients in numerous securities fraud cases involving a wide range of issues from “suitability” cases to fraud claims under state and federal securities laws. Our financial services attorneys are also called upon to provide skilled counsel on the complex issues that often arise from the departure of registered representatives and registered principals.

We have:

  • Successfully defended large broker-dealer against multi-million dollar suitability and negligent supervision claims brought by multiple investors in FINRA arbitration.
  • Counseled major broker-dealer in connection with business tort claims brought by competitor arising out of employment of regional office manager.
  • Serve as national counsel to major financial services company in multi-jurisdictional lawsuits arising out of marketing of “tax strategies.”
  • Represented large broker-dealer in connection with the sale of unauthorized investments in concurrent FINRA arbitrations across the country.
  • Successfully defended broker-dealer in defamation action brought by former registered representative.
  • Counseled large broker-dealer in connection with FINRA requests for information about former registered representatives.

Employment Litigation and Consulting

CMN regularly counsels and represents clients in employment matters arising in the financial services, insurance, manufacturing, and technology industries and in every employment case, CMN calls upon its knowledge of its client’s industry and specific operations to devise an effective litigation strategy to protect or enforce its client’s interests.

From Title VII and state discrimination claims to enforcement of employment contracts and disputes over restrictive covenants, CMN has litigated or arbitrated employment matters in forums such as the state Human Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, both federal and state courts, the American Arbitration Association, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Outside the courtroom, CMN offers employment counseling — designing programs and strategies specifically tailored to enhance workplace compliance without compromising performance or a client’s particular business model.

CMN assists clients with the creation and updating of employee handbooks and procedures, and counsels clients on implementing best employment practices.

Representative matters:

  • Successful defense of numerous cases alleging violations of Title VII, Section 1983, the Illinois Human Rights Act, and similar state and local laws.
  • Summary judgment in multi-million suit against national broker-dealer for alleged discrimination in failure to hire.
  • Dismissal of state and federal race and sex discrimination claims brought by employees of large life insurance company.
  • Successful defense of nationwide class action suit against life and disability insurer based on alleged discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Successful defense of sexual harassment and discrimination claims brought by employee against heavy equipment manufacturer.
  • Successful defense and prosecution of alleged claims of trade secret misappropriation, disclosure of confidential information, and breach of employment contracts and restrictive covenants.
  • Prevailed in opposing petition for temporary restraining order seeking to enjoin media production client for alleged violation of non-compete and non-solicitation restriction
  • Secured dismissal of non-compete claim against industrial manufacturer.
  • Jointly prepared and revised newly instituted employee handbook and compliance procedures for subsidiary of Fortune 500 industrial manufacturer.

Class Action Litigation

CMN’s class action experience is extensive. From devising strategies to defeat class certification through limiting class discovery, prevailing in dispositive motion practice, and negotiating favorable class-wide settlements, CMN lawyers have protected clients faced with significant exposure in all phases of class action litigation.  And CMN has done so in a wide range of disputes defending clients against class-wide coverage claims, market-conduct, fraud and RICO claims, agent misconduct and negligent supervision claims, and product suitability. CMN has also worked with state regulators to assist clients with resolving putative securities class actions.

Representative matters:

  • Successful defense of nationwide vanishing premium class action alleging fraudulent market conduct.
  • Summary judgment in favor of civil aerospace organization and its insurance program underwriter in class action alleging consumer fraud and wrongful denial of benefits, which later was affirmed on appeal.
  • Secured dismissal of class representative’s challenge to health plan’s subrogation provision.
  • Successfully defeated putative securities class action through negotiated resolution with state regulators.
  • Defeated class certification and prevailed on summary judgment of putative ERISA class action representative’s wrongful denial of benefits and misrepresentation claim.
  • Dismissal of insurance trust beneficiary’s putative class action alleging business torts from sale of alleged unsuitable investments.
  • Successful defense on behalf of six property casualty insurers in class action challenging constitutionality of state-mandated workers’ compensation surcharge.
  • Defeated class certification in medical malpractice action against hospital, indicted executives, and physicians alleging the performance of unnecessary medical procedures to generate billings.
  • Prevailed in opposition to class certification of putative class action against major American car manufacturer alleging faulty brake system.
  • Served as national counsel for financial advising company, defending suits in federal and state courts throughout the country arising from sale and alleged conspiracy involving tax shelter strategy.
  • Successful defense of putative e-commerce fraud class action.
  • Represented auto insurance company in putative nationwide RICO class action alleging market fraud.

Business Litigation

CMN’s clients operate in a competitive business environment. When business disputes arise, CMN works closely with clients to advise them of their options, formulate a strategy, and — when necessary — vigorously press or defend clients’ rights in court or in arbitration.

The cornerstone of our business litigation practice is knowledge of clients’ business operations and marketplace. Our lawyers work together with clients — from large institutions to closely-held companies and partnerships — to identify and deploy the necessary litigation resources while minimizing any potential disruptions to our clients’ business operations.

CMN’s business litigation experience is diverse, ranging from contract disputes to traditional business torts, fraud, and state and federal RICO claims. In every instance, CMN is a zealous advocate for our clients’ rights.

Representative matters:

  • Successfully represented life insurance company in prosecution of business tort and RICO claims involving $650 million corporate-owned life insurance program which resulted in multi-million dollar recovery for insurer.
  • Prosecuted business interference claims for clients in corporate media production, retail brokering, and insurance industries.
  • Regularly defend clients in class actions alleging violations of Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Successfully represented corporate client in multi-million dollar litigation involving fraudulent check conversion under UCC Article 3.
  • Defended financial services client against class action alleging e-commerce fraud and violations of Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
  • Regularly represent clients in the enforcement or defense of non-compete or non-solicitation agreements.
  • Prosecuted trademark infringement claim for major life insurer.

Medical Negligence and Healthcare Litigation

Our seasoned attorneys represent managed care companies, hospitals and other healthcare organizations in defense of medical malpractice and related claims in both state and federal courts. The firm’s track record of successful results, through trial to verdict or by summary judgment, is testament to our attorneys’ depth of expertise in handling these often significant and volatile cases.

In the managed care context, CMN lawyers have always been at the leading edge of this rapidly developing area of law having authored the leading treatise on the subject — Liability of Managed Health Care Organizations contained in Matthew-Bender’s Medical Malpractice (1995). Additionally, our attorneys have published numerous law journal articles and given presentations on a variety of issues concerning malpractice liability of managed care entities.

Representative matters:

  • Represented Chicago area community hospitals through litigation, arbitration, mediation and trial in numerous catastrophic injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Represented Chicago community hospital in connection with numerous alleged “unnecessary surgery” lawsuits, including purported class action lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, arising out of alleged Medicare fraud.
  • Successfully guided hospitals, managed care companies, and domestic and international insurers through complex loss prevention, risk management and quality assurance issues.
  • Obtained dismissal of numerous medical malpractice claims through aggressive litigation and motion practice, especially in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
  • Successfully represented hospitals, physicians and nurses in employment litigation matters, premises liability lawsuits, and corporate and disciplinary matters, including matters before the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (“IDPR”).
  • Successfully defended managed care organization against multi-million dollar medical malpractice claim involving alleged misdiagnosis of cancer by participating physician network.

Financial Institution Bond and Professional Liability

CMN represents clients who underwrite Fortune 200 large financial institutions and those insuring local community banks. CMN is experienced in the nuanced coverages provided by financial institution bonds and routinely counsels and successfully defends clients in coverage disputes involving both traditional risks of employee dishonesty, forgery, defective securities, and fraudulent mortgages, as well as newer risks associated with electronic transfers, internet banking services, and ATMs.

CMN’s professional liability practice focuses on carriers and carriers’ agents in matters involving directors and officers liability and errors and omissions insurance. From broad form company liability to individual claims, we represent carriers’ interests in coverage disputes implicating a duty to defend or duty to indemnify against professional risks.

Representative matters:

  • Successful defense of London syndicate against a $25 million bond claim resulting from alleged forged and counterfeit letters of credit.
    Summary judgment in favor of carrier on bank’s counterfeit certificate claim later affirmed on appeal.
  • Successful defense of numerous employee dishonesty claims involving millions in alleged losses resulting from various complex bank embezzlement schemes.
  • Representation of carriers in multiple suits involving unauthorized electronic wire transfers and mortgage fraud.
  • Prevailed in dismissal of $3 million directors and officers liability claim alleging bank president’s negligent supervision.
  • Author pre-suit coverage analyses and opinions supporting carriers’ claim positions.
  • Successful defense of errors and omissions claims arising from alleged breach of fiduciary duty in ERISA pension plan development.
  • Secured errors and omissions coverage in matters involving alleged unsuitable investments, unregistered securities, and fraudulent tax strategies.

Family Law

CMN has successfully represented individuals throughout the Chicagoland area in a wide array of family law matters including dissolution, paternity, custody, and post-decree matters.

From divorce, visitation, custody, and parentage matters to post-decree child support, maintenance, and drafting and enforcement of pre or post-nuptial agreements, our family law attorneys zealously represent our clients throughout the entire process.

CMN’s family law attorneys recognize that most clients will face significant emotional issues throughout these difficult proceedings. We always focus our initial efforts on making sure our clients understand and are comfortable with the process and know both the potential costs and the general timetable expected to reach our clients’ goals.

When possible, we make every effort to resolve matters without having to go to trial or engage in expensive and sometimes needless document production and motion practice. CMN is equipped to handle collaborative family law matters and has successfully done so on behalf of clients, including collaborative divorce matters involving child custody issues and significant asset distribution issues.

Success in resolving such disputes short of trial results largely from our strengths in the courtroom. From our extensive experience in trial of complex family law issues involving custody, business valuations, maintenance, and property allocations, our opponents know we are ready for trial and will be zealous and effective advocates for our clients in the courtroom.

CMN’s approach with respect to all family law matters is simple: we are aggressive when we have to be; but we also recognize that family law matters are expensive and emotional proceedings and we make every effort to facilitate a final agreement that serves the best interests of our clients.

Appellate Practice

CMN’s litigation experience does not end when the trial is over. We believe clients are best-served by lawyers that handle their cases both at trial and on appeal. CMN’s lawyers are better trial lawyers because they know what is needed for a successful appeal. We are the most effective appellate advocates because we know exactly what happened in the trial court. Boasting several lawyers recognized as Leading Lawyers in Appellate Advocacy, CMN regularly handles appeals in both federal and state courts throughout the country. Whether briefing a matter before the United States Supreme Court, petitioning or arguing a case in the Illinois Supreme Court, or handling federal or state appeals locally or in another jurisdiction, CMN lawyers continually achieve positive results for their clients.

Representative matters:

  • Argued appeals in a wide variety of commercial contract disputes, ERISA, financial institution bond, and employment claims, and putative class action rulings in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Argued appeals of insurance coverage and other commercial matters in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and the D.C. Circuits.
  • Drafted/Spearheaded a Amicus briefs supporting insurance industry organization’s petitions for United States Supreme Court review.
  • Successfully represented clients in appeals before Illinois Supreme Court and in connection with procedural matters, including petitions for interlocutory review and oral arguments.
  • Represented numerous clients — including a broker-dealer, a foreign software company, and several financial services companies — in state appeals in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Colorado.

Manufacturing and Product Liability

CMN’s manufacturing clients produce a variety of products ranging from machine tools to automobiles. Our philosophy, which places a high priority on understanding the nature of our clients’ businesses and products, is the key to our ability to assist our manufacturing clients meet the broad array of legal challenges they face.

We have tried or arbitrated multi-million dollar commercial disputes involving a wide range of legal issues including breach of contract claims, business torts such as interference with contract claims, franchise litigation, breach of warranty suits, product liability suits, and many others. CMN’s lawyers also represent our manufacturing clients in disputes involving employee relations and employee benefits issues, including defense of wrongful discharge and discrimination suits, ERISA benefit and pension disputes and retiree benefit litigation. And we maintain an active practice counseling our manufacturing clients on product liability issues and defending their products against both individual and class action lawsuits throughout the country.

Representative matters:

  • Successfully defended major equipment manufacturer against multi-million dollar claims brought by distributor based on alleged Franchise Act violations and breach of contract claims.
  • Obtained summary judgment for manufacturer of mechanical towel dispenser in wrongful death claim seeking damages in excess of $3.5 million.
  • Counseled safety equipment manufacturer/distributor on use of warning labels on products.
  • Obtained defense verdict for manufacturer on $2.5 million breach of warranty claim.
  • Defended automobile manufacturer against statewide class action case alleging consumer fraud and breach of warranty claims.
  • Successfully defended excavator manufacturer by obtaining dismissal of claims for breach of implied warranties of merchantability and fitness.
  • Obtained pretrial disposition of multi-million dollar lost-profits claim leading to favorable disposition of warranty claims against heavy industrial manufacturer.