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March 2018

Gordon & Rees San Francisco Team Prevails with Motion to Dismiss Claims of Breach of Insurance Contract, Misrepresentation and Fraud

The Northern District of California granted the motion to dismiss filed by San Francisco partner David Capell and associate Quyen Thi Le regarding a complaint that sought damages for breach of an insurance contract, misrepresentation, and fraud from their client, a provider of individual supplemental accident and health, disability, and life insurance products. 

The plaintiff’s son, who died from a gunshot wound, was covered under two accident and health insurance policies purchased by the plaintiff at his place of employment from one of the insurer’s sales agents.  The plaintiff’s cause of action for breach of contract alleged that Gordon & Rees’s client failed to pay death benefits that were allegedly owed under the two accident and health insurance policies he purchased for his son. Gordon & Rees filed a motion to dismiss the claim for breach of contract on the grounds that the two policies at issue did not provide any benefits for death, accidental or otherwise, as a matter of law.  Gordon & Rees explained that the misrepresentation and fraud claims were time-barred under the three-year statute of limitations. The court agreed, dismissing all causes of action.

The court also denied the plaintiff’s request, made in his opposition, for leave to amend to add a new defendant, the plaintiff’s employer.  The plaintiff asserted that his employer permitted Gordon & Rees’s client to sell insurance policies at his place of employment and thereby “tacitly endorsed” the client’s business practices in selling insurance policies. The court denied leave to amend because the plaintiff’s claims against the employer sounded in fraud to which the three-year statute of limitations applied. 

David C. Capell
Quyen Thi Le



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