Maynard continues to grow with the recent addition of five attorneys in several areas of practice across its footprint. The Firm is pleased to welcome the following attorneys as Associates in their respective practice areas: Destinee C. Small, Securities and Financial Services Litigation, Birmingham, AL Matthew Chipman, Insurance and Financial...Read More
Insurance and Financial Services Litigation
All successful teams have an overarching philosophy that drive their success. For Coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, it’s about “the Process” – a consistent dedication to getting the small things right. For Bruce Springsteen (The Boss) and the E Street Band, it’s about “heart” - a collective with a professional code of honor. The 31st U.S. Marine Corps Commandant, General Charles C. Krulak says, “Excellence doesn’t just happen. It must be forged, tested, and used. It must be passed down and woven into the very fabric of our soul until it becomes our nature.” At Maynard, we have built a premier national team representing insurance companies in a variety of contexts throughout the country with a philosophy that is simply summarized, but difficult to duplicate.
Begin each case with a plan for its end and know every inch of terrain between the two: removal, legal theories, case law, judge, jury instructions, appellate climate. Focus on the details while maintaining momentum and insist on excellence as our touchstone at every turn. Outwork your opponent and remember the case is yours to drive.
This philosophy has propelled Maynard’s Insurance Practice from an Alabama only practice in the 1980s and early 1990s, to a primarily southeastern focused practice in the late 1990s and early 2000s, to a truly national practice today. Over the last five years, our Insurance Litigation attorneys have appeared in state and federal courts in 45 states and U.S. territories, and handled appeals in nine federal circuits, routinely winning dispositive motions, trials, and appeals for clients in the most business-hostile venues. All the while, focusing on our process.
Driven considerably by this work, Maynard opened its first out-of-state office in 2014 (San Francisco). This was followed by office openings in New York in 2016, D.C. in 2017, L.A. in 2018, Dallas and Nashville in 2019, Miami in 2020, and Des Moines, Iowa in 2021.
They have an incredible eye for technical detail and are a real partner in navigating your governance.
— Life Insurance Client interviewed by Chambers USA
Our clients include life, health, disability fidelity, property, and casualty, as well as issuers of annuities and other non-traditional insurance products. We regularly counsel our clients on all aspects of their businesses, from regulatory compliance to product development to all types of litigation, including claims, coverage, bad faith, and class action.
While that description tells you what we do, it doesn’t tell you how we do it and what to expect from Maynard. Our attorneys have deep ties to the insurance industry. We have current members who have served in executive management at insurance companies in the past, and former members of our firm who currently serve in such roles. We are heavily invested in the leading insurance industry groups, including the Association of Life Insurers Counsel (ALIC), the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the American Bar Association’s Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee (ICLC), and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Our involvement in these industry groups includes multiple lawyers in positions of leadership allowing us to stay in front of industry trends and regulatory changes.
More importantly, we believe in providing clients with the same high-level service with every engagement. At the center of who we are is our collaborative relationships with our clients and providing proactive options in an environment where – like Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band - everyone brings their best.
When it’s a good match along the way your heart is thrown in too. There is a love and respect at the center of everything we do together. It’s not just business, it’s personal. When you came to work with me, I had to be assured you would bring your heart. Heart sealed the deal. That’s why the E Street Band plays steamroller strong and undiminished 40 years in night after night.
— Bruce Springsteen
We appreciate the achievements to this point, but we are focused on our philosophy. Day in and day out, we’re steamroller strong.
Insurance and Financial Services Litigation
The passion and commitment the 35 lawyers in Maynard's Insurance and Financial Services Litigation Practice Group bring to matters translates to excellence, which has been recognized by several market leading rankings over the last five years:
- BTI Industry Power Rankings lists Maynard as a “core, go-to firm” for the insurance industry, among the top 2% of all law firms, BTI Industry Power Rankings: The Law Firms with the Best Client Relationships
- BTI Client Service A-Team: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance – BTI describes recipients as “the firms delivering the absolute best client service rely on clearly stated Standards, measure performance, and are relentless in improving—no matter how good they are.”
- Benchmark Litigation ranks Maynard as a Highly Recommended firm for Litigation, including attorneys identified as Litigation Stars
- BTI Consulting Group recognizes Maynard as a Litigation Powerhouse - top legal decision makers identify the firms best suited to meet their most pressing litigation needs
- Ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® among the Best Law Firms and distinguished as a National Top Tier firm in numerous litigation areas of practice, including Insurance Law
- BTI Consulting Group includes Maynard among the 37 Law Firms Most Feared in Litigation
- Maynard attorneys recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, including insurance litigators
Our Team’s rankings and recognition are the result of over 30 years of hard work and success representing insurance carriers throughout the United States.
We serve as primary outside litigation counsel for Protective Life Insurance Company and as national trial counsel and class action counsel for AIG/American General. Our attorneys have served as lead counsel in defending insurance and annuity-related class actions and multi-district litigation in state and federal courts in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We have also served as trial counsel in bad faith and punitive damages cases pending throughout the United States, including notorious “tort hell” venues in Alabama, California, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi South Florida, Texas, and West Virginia. We have defended banks, finance companies and mortgage loan servicing companies in hundreds of cases in state and federal courts related to loan originations, loan servicing, collection practices, credit reporting, underwriting, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, forced-placed hazard insurance, foreclosures and redemptions, and virtually every other issue that arises in a financing transaction.
The insurance coverage/bad faith arena is one where we excel. Our depth of knowledge goes beyond coverage advice. In keeping with our philosophy of high-level service for every engagement and working with clients to see the whole picture, we approach this work by asking what will this look like at trial? We are known for our abilities in this area and are frequently asked to jump in and take bad faith cases to trial even if the work did not originate with our firm. We bring a multi-faceted group of professionals to the table to look at every angle of a case, including analysis of coverage to prevent litigation in the future. If a company needs a shift in momentum or a fresh outlook on the narrative of their case, we look at it holistically and tell the client’s story effectively. We also have a world-class appellate group that understands the insurance world and the varied issues faced by clients.
We could not have asked for a stronger team. They fulfilled all of our needs.
— Client interviewed by Chambers USA
Businesses that operate on a national level need a national appellate strategy. In any given appeal, Maynard’s appellate team will include not only appellate generalists who are trained to think about appeals in the same way generalist appellate judges do, but also specialists in whatever subject-matter is at issue—whether insurance related or some other area. As a matter of fact, over one-third of our insurance attorneys have held clerkships at the district, federal and Supreme Court level bringing their specialized knowledge and experience to bear on questions before the appellate court. Our appellate team is chaired by John Neiman, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk and Solicitor General of Alabama whom Chambers USA Litigation has rated a Tier 1 appellate attorney. Other members of our group have successfully briefed and argued important appeals in high-stakes class actions and other complex cases throughout the country.
In addition to our litigation expertise, the Firm provides many of its clients with representation in all forms of corporate and regulatory matters. These activities typically include assistance in both the design and approval of insurance products, obtaining authorizations from state departments of insurance to transact insurance, and responding to regulatory enforcement actions and investigative requests. While our geographic location has served the group well in responding to clients’ needs in diverse venues, at substantial cost savings, we primarily attribute our success to adherence to our process and one of the Firm’s founding principles: To provide our clients with the best and most professional service of which we are capable, remembering that service to clients is the principal reason for a law firm’s existence.
- Class Action, Complex and MDL Litigation
- ERISA and Group Insurance Litigation
- Managed Care Litigation
- Coverage Disputes/Bad Faith Litigation
- Appellate Litigation
- Annuity Litigation
- Sales Practice Litigation
- Consumer/Commercial Financial Services Litigation
- Corporate Practice and Governmental Affairs
- Regulatory Compliance and Investigations
Clients of Insurance and Financial Services Litigation Services
- AIG Annuity Insurance Company
- AIG SunAmerica
- American General Assurance Company
- American General Life and Accident Insurance Company
- American General Life Insurance Company
- American International Group, Inc
- American International Life Insurance Company
- American Investors Life Insurance Company
- American United Life Insurance Company
- Ameriprise Financial
- Aviva Life Insurance Company
- AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
- First Acceptance Corporation
- Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company
- Hartford Life Insurance Company
- Life of the South
- Principal Life Insurance Company
- Protective Life Corp.
- Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company
- Southland National Insurance Company
- Trustmark Insurance Company
- U.S. Life Ins. Co.
- Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company
Class Action, Complex and MDL Litigation
Currently, Maynard is defending a purported nationwide class action against New York Life Insurance Company venued in the Southern District of New York arising out of so-called Retained Asset Account (“RAA”) claims alleging breach of contract and bad faith. Patel v. New York Life Ins. Co., No. 11-cv-04895-JPO (S.D.N.Y.).
Recently, Maynard obtained key victories resulting in the complete dismissal of purported nationwide class actions, venued in the Southern District of New York and:
In addition, Maynard was successful at the federal appellate level in upholding a trial court's denial of class certification in a nationwide insurance class action alleging the use of race-based life insurance premiums (Hunter v. American General Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 05-1249 (4th Cir. 2006)). The Firm also obtained dismissals of purported class actions in the following nationwide insurance and annuity class actions:
Individually assessing the litigation and business needs of each of its clients, Maynard also has extensive experience in negotiating innovative nationwide class settlements for a variety of clients in a variety of venues. Recent settlements include allegations arising from the alleged failure to refund unearned premiums for single premium products including credit life and disability insurance, as well as GAP and IUI coverage:
These claims-made settlements were approved by the respective courts in 2007 and 2008.
In addition to its extensive class action experience, Maynard served as lead counsel for the Defendant in In re American General Life Insurance Co. Industrial Life Insurance Litigation in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, which was a multidistrict litigation (“MDL“) created to provide a single forum for discovery and pre-trial proceedings in the numerous cases filed in the wake of the nationwide class action settlement in McNeil v. American General Life and Accident Insurance Company. Most of the cases were filed as individual or multiple plaintiff cases and all included allegations similar to those alleged by the plaintiff class in McNeil - namely, allegations arising out of the alleged race-based pricing of insurance policies by American General Life and Accident Insurance Company or companies it acquired.
In addition to the individual or multiple plaintiff cases, however, several of the cases filed and transferred to this MDL included class allegations. Mack v. Independent Life sought certification of a class of individuals who owned policies that would have been included in the McNeil settlement except for the fact that the policies terminated before January 1, 1982, which was the beginning date for the McNeil class period (the Mack class has sometimes been referred to as the “Pre-82 Class“). On December 2, 2004 the District Court entered an Order denying certification as to the Mack class (the “Pre-82 Class“) and that Order was affirmed by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on November 13, 2006. Hunter, et al. v. American General sought certification of a class of individuals who owned or were insured by certain groups of policies that were not part of the McNeil settlement. Judge Currie denied class certification of the proposed Hunter class on March 9, 2007.
- Following a CAFA removal, obtained strategically critical transfer of venue between federal circuits and then a complete dismissal with prejudice of a purported nationwide class action involving claim handling and interpretation of “incurred medical expenses“ in catastrophic major medical coverage. Maynard then won the appeal in the Second Circuit affirming the district court’s order granting defendant's motion to dismiss. Metz v. United States Life Ins. Co. in the City of New York, 662 F.3d 600 (2d Cir. 2011).
- Obtained complete dismissal with prejudice of a purported nationwide class action involving bad faith, sales practices and claims handling in catastrophic major medical coverage. Schandler v. New York Life Ins.Co. et al., No. 09 Civ. 10463, 2011 WL 1642574 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 26, 2011).
- Defeated plaintiff's motion for certification of nationwide class seeking refunds of credit life insurance/credit disability insurance premium payments following early loan payoffs, which was the first outright defeat of class certification in unearned premium litigation nationwide. Bishop v. Protective Life Ins. Co., 255 F.R.D. 619 (M.D. Ga. 2009).
- Maynard handled two extremely dangerous national class actions for American General Assurance Company and North Central Life Insurance Company in 2008: Desportes v. American General Assurance Company and Carter v North Central Life Insurance Company. The cases were in state court in Columbus, Georgia and were not removable. The class allegations related to the failure of these companies to refund unearned premiums on credit life policies. The potential exposure in these cases were well over $100 million. A similar insurer, with identical facts but much less exposure, was ordered by the same court to pay over $75 million in damages and fees. After aggressive and skillful litigation, Maynard was remarkably able to negotiate “claims made” settlements that resulted in payouts by the Companies of less than $5 million. This was not achieved by any other insured under similar circumstances.
- Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of class actions alleging improper pricing and disclosures relating to bonus annuity sales. Phillips v. American Int'l Group, Inc., 498 F. Supp. 2d 690 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); Delaney v. American Express Co., 2007 WL 1420766 (D. N.J. May 11, 2007)
- summary judgment in favor of insurer in purported nationwide class actions alleging improper use of smoker-based premium rates for juvenile insureds Thompson v. American General Life & Accident Ins. Co., 448 F. Supp. 2d 885 (M.D. Tenn. 2006)
- summary judgment in favor of insurer in class action alleging imporoper cancellation of war risk insurance coverage after September 11, 2001 Burkhalter Transport v. AIG Aviation, 1:02 CV 109-M-D (N.D. Miss. 2003)
- Deportes, et al. v. American General Assur. Co., SU-04-CV-3637 and Carter, et al. v. North Central Life Insurance Co., SU-2006-CV-3764
- Neal v. XL Life Insurance and Annuity Co., C.A. 04-C-834 (NH 2008)
Section 412 and 419 Litigation
ERISA and Group Insurance Litigation
Maynard's ERISA litigation advantage is its ability to obtain the desired outcome at a lower cost. Our nationally-recognized expertise and substantial experience allow us to delve into the problems at hand and bring practical considerations to bear for our clients. The attorneys practicing in this group regularly appear in federal courts in jurisdictions across the country and have accumulated extensive experience in discovery, summary judgment and appellate motion practice and argument. In addition to our established record in achieving summary judgment, we also have successfully fashioned innovative and bottom-line settlements, both informally and through alternative dispute resolution, yielding significant cost savings for our clients. Our clients know that Maynard's ERISA litigation attorneys will listen to their needs and objectives and will collaborate with them to reach the desired result.
- Recently obtained summary judgment in putative nationwide class action alleging claims related to the design and administration of “bonus” annuities.
- Obtained dismissal of bonus annuity class actions in federal courts in New York and New Jersey.
- Currently representing annuity issuers in cases alleging claims related to senior sales.
- Successfully defeated three separate variable annuity class actions in Alabama.
- Recently obtained summary judgment in a variable annuity fraud action pending in one of the most plaintiff friendly venues in Alabama.
Sales Practice Litigation
- Served as lead counsel for a life insurance company in numerous individual opt-out cases pending in federal and state courts in Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia alleging market conduct claims. After winning dismissal of the Mississippi cases on summary judgment, the remainder of the cases settled on very favorable terms to the insurer.
- Defended a life insurer against thousands of individual opt-out cases alleging market conduct claims. After obtaining dismissal of several of these cases on motions to dismiss, the remainder of the cases settled on terms favorable to the insurer.
- Defended a life insurance company in numerous multi-plaintiff cases pending in Madison County, Illinois alleging market conduct claims. After receiving favorable pre-trial rulings in the first case to go to trial, the firm obtained a favorable settlement of all of the remaining cases.
- Served as lead counsel for a life insurer defending thousands of individual opt-out cases alleging race-based premium claims. After intense litigation of these cases pending in state and federal courts in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, including the successful removal from a dangerous state court venue to federal court of the first case going to trial, the firm obtained a favorable settlement of these cases.
Consumer/Commercial Financial Services Litigation
Single Premium Insurance Litigation
Coverage Disputes / Bad Faith Litigation
The firm has extensive experience representing insurers pursuing and defending declaratory judgment actions, subrogation claims, and bad faith suits in the context of property and casualty and related lines of insurance.
- Recently represented a national insurer who issued excess insurance policies to companies now seeking defense and indemnity for alleged environmental contamination. The cases involved the litigation of the duties of an excess insurance carrier, interpretation of both “sudden and accidental“ and “absolute“ pollution exclusions found in many commercial general liability policies and other such coverage issues that frequently arise in environmental coverage litigation
- Tried an arson case to defense verdict in "tort hell" Greenville, Mississippi
- Hired to try a multi-million dollar bad faith case in Oklahoma state court over GAP coverage on behalf of national insurer, ended in favorable settlement after motions in limine rulings and one day of trial testimony
- Hired to defend national insurer against multi-million dollar Fidelity/Crime coverage claims; won summary judgment and was affirmed on appeal to United States Court of Appeals
- Recently hired to try multi-million dollar software theft/destruction case in Indiana on behalf of national insurer set for trial late 2012
- Recently hired to try multi-million dollar property and business interruption case on behalf of national insurer set for trial in summer 2012
- Routinely handles UIM/Bad-Faith claims against national insurers
- Served as counsel for adjuster corporation working in conjunction with national insurer in defense of mass tort claims involving Katrina litigation
Corporate Practice and Governmental Affairs
- Assistance in the design and approval of insurance and rate filings;
- Assistance in obtaining authorizations from state departments of insurance to transact insurance;
- Assistance in drafting legislation;
- Assistance in mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations of insurers and insurance holding company systems; and
- Representation in a variety of matters pending before or involving state departments of insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC")
Regulatory Compliance and Investigations
- Advice regarding the establishment, implementation and testing of corporate compliance and ethics programs;
- Assistance with investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by regulatory agencies such as the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and numerous state insurance departments and other regulatory bodies;
- Assistance with responding to grand jury subpoenas, investigative demands, search warrants, and other investigative requests; and
- Assistance with internal investigations of potential regulatory or criminal violations perpetrated by employees, agents, competitors, or other third parties.
Attorneys and Other Professionals in Insurance and Financial Services Litigation
- Lee E. Bains, Jr.
- Josh B. Baker
- John N. Bolus
- Nicholas J. Boos
- Emily C. Burke
- Thomas Julian Butler
- Matthew Chipman
- C. William Courtney
- Matthew S. Edinger
- Alexander B. Feinberg
- Christopher C. Frost
- J. Marshall Gardner
- Jeff Grantham
- Lorrie L. Hargrove
- Mya M. Hatchette
- Josh Hess
- Robert E. Hess
- Edward M. Holt
- Richard B. Hopkins II
- Stephen C. Jackson
- J. Walton Jackson
- Jeannine C. Jacobson
- Ophir Johna
- C. Andrew Kitchen
- Judy M. Lam
- Norman Lau
- John A. Little, Jr.
- J. Ethan McDaniel
- Michael D. Mulvaney
- Grace Robinson Murphy
- Misty A. Murray
- John Neiman
- Vivian I. Orlando
- T. Brannon Parker
- Latanae L. Parker
- Elizabeth Pilcher
- Ashlee D. Riopka
- Cindy Mekari Rucker
- Alison J. Shilling
- R. Harrison Smith III
- Karen T. Tsui
- William B. Wahlheim, Jr.
- Katharine A. Weber
- Angel West
- Caleb C. Wolanek
- Mary Caroline Wynn
Insurance and Financial Services Litigation News
Maynard Cooper & Gale (Maynard) continues to grow with the recent addition of experienced lawyers in several areas of practice across its footprint. The Firm is pleased to welcome Angela Playle to its Real Estate practice in Nashville, Christopher Lee and Jordan LaPorta to its Litigation practice in Huntsville and...Read More
Maynard Cooper & Gale (Maynard) is excited to announce that C. William "Will" Courtney has been selected for a clerkship with Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court. He will serve as one of Justice Thomas's four clerks for the 2023 Term. Will is a member of the...Read More