In 2012, in The Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York v. Jonathan S. Berck and BerckThe Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York, Susman Godfrey was trial and appellate counsel for investors who 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 was 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 the trial court victory that Lincoln’s fraud claim was time barred because the policies were incontestable. The $20 million policy matured before the trial court entered judgment in favor of the policy owner. Susman Godfrey then sued the insurance carrier to effectuate payment of the $20 million policy, which occurred in full (net of catch-up premiums owed) in 2014. The case was the feature cover story in the publication, California Lawyer, at the time of this decision.
In 2010, in The Lincoln Life and Annuity Company of New York v. Rosamond Janis and Jonathan S. Berck, Susman Godfrey 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. In this matter summary judgment was granted in favor Susman Godfrey’s client.
Susman Godfrey represented investors, trusts, trustees, brokers, and insureds in life settlement and STOLI litigation across the country against insurance companies seeking to avoid coverage on over $100 million in life insurance policies.