MH Prevails on Summary Judgment for Life Insurer Client

January 23, 2020

Case Studies

MH California lawyers obtained complete summary judgment on behalf of our client, a life insurance company, in a case involving claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and conspiracy. Plaintiff’s claims were based on the allegation that our client’s former agent obtained a beneficiary change removing Plaintiff as a beneficiary of her late aunt’s life insurance policy by means of fraud and undue influence, leaving the agent’s wife (Plaintiff’s sister) as the sole beneficiary of the policy. Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages. The court granted MH’s summary judgment motion, finding that our client had established that there was no agency relationship between the agent and our client at the time of the allegedly fraudulent beneficiary change. The court also agreed that Plaintiff failed to establish any specific misrepresentation on our client’s part. Accordingly, the court ruled that Plaintiff’s claims failed on both vicarious and direct liability theories and granted summary judgment in our client’s favor. At the hearing on the motion, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Crandall commented that while he “rarely” grants summary judgment motions, in this instance Plaintiff had clearly failed to meet her burden to show the existence of a triable issue of material fact on any of her claims and that Plaintiff never should have sued our client.

MH attorneys Jodi Swick and Allison Fernandez litigated the case.