Insurance litigation, Drafting, Insolvency and Regulations
Holocaust Insurance Litigation and Reparations Treaties
Mr. Palmer wrote the “Fifteenth Annual International Law Symposium Nazi Gold and Other Assets of the Holocaust: What Happens Next?,” 20 Whittier Law Review 122 (1998). This law review article provides a detailed plan for the resolution of the life and property casualty insurance benefits owed to victims of the Holocaust atrocities and genocide.
Mr. Palmer then wrote the Budget Change Proposal (or BCP) for the State of California that created the funding mechanism for the plan, which was folded into Senator Tom Hayden’s Senate Bill (SB 1530) that allowed California to create the International Holocaust Commission. This piece of legislation, carried by Senator Hayden (D), was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson (R). Amazingly, Sen. Hayden, who was known as a Vietnam War activist, and Governor Wilson, a United States Marine who served in Vietnam, had not spoken with one another during Governor Wilson’s entire term in office, but both supported this piece of legislation. Mr. Palmer was presented with the Governor’s signing pen and the original legislation as a gift recognizing his work on creating the law.
The Holocaust Insurance reparations law, prepared by Mr. Palmer, was later endorsed by Presidents Clinton and Bush, and the law was reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, and found to be constitutional in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539U.S. 396 (2003). Mr. Palmer worked in the United States and overseas in Europe, pro bono(at his cost), to implement SB 1530, and was later called as one of the lead witnesses in the AIA v. Garamendi case, as discussed above. Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Mr. Palmer in a personal letter (dated May 2, 1999) for his “determined efforts to achieve justice on the issue of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.”
In December 2014, Mr. Palmer prevailed in a large life insurance case involving a woman who was murdered by an accomplice of her estranged husband in Mexico. The insurer, Transamerica Corp., was set to pay the $2.3 million dollar life insurance policy opened up by the husband, Mr. Palmer was able to present the California’s “Slayer Statutes” to the court, which prohibits murderers from profiting from their crime. The judge then struck the husband out as a beneficiary of the insurance policy and placed the son as sole heir. The case played out in Sacramento Superior (Probate) Court as well as the United States Eastern District Federal Court. Using California’s “Slayer Statutes,” Mr. Palmer prevailed in both venues and settled the case for $2.3 million.
Executive Life Insurance Company
Mr. Palmer testified on behalf of the California Department of Insurance in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (2003) discussed below), and in Commissioner John Garamendi’s case involving the Executive Life Insurance Company (ELIC) and a French investment consortium. The case resulted in roughly a $1 billion judgment following a jury trial on behalf of the ELIC policy holders and claimants.
Mr. Palmer was lead counsel for the restructuring of Golden Eagle Insurance Company that, at $1.2 billion, was one of the largest insurance insolvencies (bankruptcies) in the last decade. Mr. Palmer successfully preserved the current business within a “New” Golden Eagle Insurance Company that was purchased for $1.2 billion by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, while creating a massive liquidating trust. The Golden Eagle insolvency is now used as a model for the efficient handling and resuscitation of an insurance company.
Additional work performed in complex insurance insolvencies may be found in published and unpublished decisions in which Mr. Palmer appeared as counsel, for example, see Quackenbush v. Mission Ins. Co. (1998) 62 Cal. App. 4th 797 (Held: Liquidation plan submitted by California Insurance Commissioner was approved even though objections were made that the plan required estimated payments prior to claims being established when plan provided for process to establish claims).
Restructuring Lloyd's of London
Mr. Palmer was the attorney responsible for coordinating the litigation and restructuring of Lloyd’s of London ($24 billion, approx.) that protected consumers and policyholders in California and the United States. See, for example, Mr. Palmer’s appearance in the published decision of Allen v. Lloyd’s of London, 94 F.3d 923 (4th Cir. 1996) (Held: The policies of the United States securities laws did not override the parties’ choice of forum and law for resolving disputes; thus,the contractual provisions selecting the law of and a forum in the United Kingdom were enforced).
Mr. Palmer was the attorney responsible for coordinating the litigation and restructuring of Lloyd’s of London ($24 billion, approx.) that protected consumers and policyholders in California and the United States. See, for example, Mr. Palmer’s appearance in the published decision of Allen v. Lloyd’s of London, 94 F.3d 923(4th Cir. 1996) (Held:The policies of the United States securities laws did not override the parties’ choice of forum and law for resolving disputes; thus, the contractual provisions selecting the law of and a forum in the United Kingdom were enforced).