June 5, 2019

Fishkin Lucks Wins Summary Judgment in New York Life Insurance Litigation

Fishkin Lucks won a complete victory today for its client, a life insurance company, in a litigation concerning two lapsed $5 million life insurance policies that had been owned by a trust. The lawsuit, brought in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, was actually the second litigation between the parties concerning the same policies. In the first litigation, the court had ordered that the trust did not need to pay premiums that came due while that action was pending. Once that first lawsuit was resolved,however, the trust never paid the hundreds of thousands of back premiums that it owed. After giving the trust every opportunity to cure its failure to pay, the life insurance company canceled the policies for non-payment.The trust then brought an action for declaratory judgment, arguing that it was not obligated to pay those back premiums but should still be entitled to keep the policies in effect. It also sought a setoff for amounts it paid to a different life insurance company to obtain replacement coverage during the pendency of the first action. On behalf of its client, the Firm counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that the policies had lapsed due to non-payment. The parties submitted competing motions for summary judgment. Adopting in full the arguments the Firm had advanced, the court denied the trust’s motion and granted the life insurance company’s motion,finding that the policies had lapsed for non-payment and that the trust was not entitled to any setoff for its replacement coverage. As a result, the action was dismissed in its entirety and the Firm’s client is no longer obligated to provide coverage under the lapsed policies.