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Steven G. Sklaver

Overview

Mr. Sklaver has had tremendous success handling a wide variety of complicated, high-stakes commercial disputes and class actions for plaintiffs and defendants. Mr. Sklaver is experienced in life settlement litigation, wage and hour litigation, antitrust litigation, contract disputes, intellectual property cases, insurance coverage litigation, accounting malpractice disputes, securities fraud litigation, and many other types of cases. Mr. Sklaver has tried complex commercial and class action disputes — including jury trials and bench trials in federal and state court, as well as arbitrations. Mr. Sklaver graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from Northwestern University School of Law, and clerked for Judge David Ebel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Education

Dartmouth College (B.A., cum laude)
Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude and Order of the Coif)

Judicial Clerkship

Law Clerk to the Honorable David M. Ebel, United States Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit

Honors and Distinctions

  • Northwestern Law Review member and editor
  • National Debate Tournament (NDT) collegiate championship winner
  • 2010-2013 listings of Southern California "Super Lawyers” awarded to no more than the top 5% of the lawyers in the state of California

Articles and Speeches

"Federal Power to Commandeer State Courts: Implications for the Theory of Judicial Federalism," 32 Ind. L. Rev. 71 (1998) (with Martin H. Redish, Professor, Northwestern University School of Law).

Speaking Engagements

  • Litigation Update: Will the Arthur Kramer Insurable-Interest Decision Lift the Cloud Over Much of the Litigation in the Market?.   The 2011 International Life Settlements Conference (London, England)
  • Seeking Interlocutory Appellate Review of Class-Certification Rulings:  Tactics, Strategies, and Selected Issues.     Bridgeport 10th Annual Class Action Litigation Conference (Los Angeles, CA)
  • PwC 2010 Securities Litigation Study Luncheon.   (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Life Settlement Litigation Update.  2010 Life Settlement Compliance Conference and Legal Round Table (Atlanta, GA)
  • Litigation: What are the Legal Trends Affecting the Market?     The Life Settlements Conference 2010 (Las Vegas, NV)
 

Audio files

Steven Sklaver — Court of Appeal

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the Central, Southern, Northern, and Eastern Districts of California and District of Colorado
  • Admitted to state bars of Illinois, Colorado, and California
  • Los Angeles Advisory Board of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

Notable Representation

LIFE SETTLEMENTS

  • Represented Jonathan Berck, as Trustee of the Rosamond Janis Insurance Trust in a $5 million rescission claim brought by the Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York for alleged violations of New York's insurable interest laws and other "STOLI" (stranger originated life insurance) related claims. RESULT: Summary judgment granted in favor of my client. A copy of the summary judgment order is available here.
  • Won reversal in a $20 million life settlement rescission lawsuit against Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York. Lincoln's lawsuit was based on allegations that the insurance policies lacked an insurable interest because they were procured by third-parties for investment purposes and because there were net worth and other misrepresentations in the applications. The appellate court ordered that the trial court enter judgment in favor of the trust. The appellate court also affirmed our trial court victory that Lincoln's fraud claim was time barred because the policies were incontestable. The case is Lincoln Life & Annuity Co. of New York v. Jonathan Berck, as Trustee of the Jack Teren Insurance Trust, Court of Appeal Case No. D056373 (Cal. Ct. App. May 17, 2011). A copy of the appellate court decision is available here. To listen to Mr. Sklaver's appellate oral argument, click here.  The Teren case was the feature, cover story of the April 2012 California Lawyer
  • Represents investors, trusts, trustees, brokers, and insureds in life settlement and STOLI litigation across the country against insurance companies seeking to rescind policies with face values worth more than $125 million. Mr. Sklaver is also a frequent speaker and commentator on life settlement and STOLI litigation, in both trade publications and conferences.


FINANCIAL FRAUD

  • Represented Royal Standard Minerals, which was the plaintiff in a federal securities lawsuit against a "group" of more than ten dissident shareholders for failing to file Schedule 13-D disclosures. RESULT: Preliminary injunction granted and final judgment entered that, among other things, required for three years the votes of all shares owned by any of the defendants to be voted as directed by the Board of Directors of my client.
  • Represented plaintiff who held millions of WorldCom shares as an opt-out to the class in In re WorldCom Securities Litig. RESULT: Settled on confidential terms.
  • Represented plaintiff Accredited Home Lenders in a TRO and breach of contract action over a wrongful default declared by Wachovia in a credit re-purchase agreement. RESULT: The case was resolved favorably, following the entry of a TRO.
  • Represented Walter Hewlett in his challenge to the Hewlett-Packard/Compaq merger. In preparation for that trial, Mr. Sklaver deposed Compaq's former CEO Michael Capellas about his famous handwritten journal note which, describing the merger, stated "at our course and speed we will fail." Mr. Capellas was right.


EMPLOYMENT

Represented one of the world's largest retailers in the defense of a four month long jury trial, wage and hour class action pending in California. One of the world's largest retailers appointed Susman Godfrey L.L.P. to be its national trial counsel for wage and hour litigation.

ANTITRUST

Lead day-to-day lawyer for the class in White, et al. v. NCAA, a certified, antitrust class action alleging that the NCAA violated the federal antitrust laws by restricting amounts of athletic based financial aid. ESPN Magazine coverage of the lawsuit may be found here. RESULT: The NCAA settled and paid an additional $218 million for use by current student-athletes to cover the costs of attending college, paid $10 million to cover educational and professional development expenses for former student-athletes, and enacted new legislation to permit Division I institutions to provide year-round comprehensive health insurance to student-athletes.

ENTERTAINMENT

Represented NAACP image award winner Morris Taylor "Buddy" Sheffield in his breach of contract lawsuit against ABC Cable Networks Group regarding the creation of Hannah Montana. RESULT: Defendant settled less than four weeks before trial.

PRO BONO

Appointed to represent Carl Petersen, who was charged by the United States Attorney's Office with being a felon in possession of a firearm — a charge that carries a five-year prison sentence and an 89% conviction rate. RESULT: Acquittal. Jury deliberation lasted less than four hours. 


Appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as appellate counsel in five cases, including: United States v. Petersen; United States v. Blaze (specifically noting Mr. Sklaver's "good workmanship"); and Sorrentino v. IRS (appointed as amicus curiae by and for the Court)

Wins

Lincoln Life & Annuity Co. of New York v. Jonathan Berck, as Trustee of the Rosamond Janis Insurance Trust - Steven Sklaver wins complete reinstatement of $20 million worth of life insurance coverage for life settlement investor. The California Court of Appeals holds that two insurance policies issued by the Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York were supported by an insurable interest at their inception.

Video

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