MH Wins 8-Week, $10 Million Trial In California

May 19, 2022

Case Studies

A California jury found in favor of McDowell Hetherington’s life insurer client following an eight-week trial in San Bernardino, California.

The Plaintiff alleged that two insurance brokers orally promised him that they would rebate and/or refund 50% of their commissions on a $10,000,000 life insurance policy, if he purchased a policy with their assistance. Plaintiff then applied for and obtained a $10M life insurance policy from MH’s client. Plaintiff later brought suit against the two brokers and the life insurance carrier, claiming that the brokers refused to pay him his share of the commission as allegedly promised. Plaintiff’s lawsuit asserted claims for breach of oral contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and financial elder abuse against the life insurance carrier.

After dismissing Plaintiff’s bad faith claim on summary adjudication, the Court presided over a trial on Plaintiff’s breach of oral contract and elder abuse claims in April and May 2022. At trial, MH argued that the agents had no authority to bind the insurance company to the alleged oral contract.

After weeks of testimony and viewing hundreds of exhibits, the jury agreed, rejecting plaintiff’s allegation that the life insurer breached an oral contract with the plaintiff and engaged in any sort of financial elder abuse. Plaintiff had requested almost $10 million in damages, including punitive damages. The twelve-member jury returned a verdict in favor of MH’s client on the third day of deliberations.