Robert J. McKennon Named Corporate LiveWire’s Global Awards 2015 Insurance & Risk Management Lawyer of The YearMay 12, 2015 Robert McKennon
McKennon Law Group PC is proud and honored to announce that Robert J. McKennon, founding shareholder of McKennon Law Group PC, has been named as Corporate LiveWire’s Global Awards 2015 Orange County, California Insurance & Risk Management Lawyer of the Year. The annual Global Awards Lawyer of the Year recognition honors the achievements of those individuals that have consistently shown best practice and demonstrated general excellence in every endeavor on a global and national level.
The Corporate LiveWire Global Awards 2014 Lawyer of the Year winner’s guide is available here.
Robert J. McKennon and Joseph McMillen Publish Article in Los Angeles Daily Journal: “When Insurers Rescind, They Must Act Fast”April 02, 2015 Iris Chou
The April 1, 2015 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal features an article written by Robert McKennon and Joseph McMillen of the McKennon Law Group entitled: “When Insurers Rescind, They Must Act Fast.” In the article, Mr. McKennon and Mr. McMillen discuss the California Court of Appeal’s decision in DuBeck v. California Physicians’ Service, 2015 DJDAR 2629 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 5, 2015), which held that Blue Shield of California (“Blue Shield”), waived its right to rescind her health insurance policy and, therefore, her claim was covered. While Ms. DuBeck had allegedly willfully misrepresented material facts about her medical condition on her application, the appellate court found that even if she had done so, Blue Shield waived its right to rescind.
The McKennon Law Group is proud to announce that prominent insurance attorney Joe S. McMillen has joined the Firm. Like the other attorneys of the Firm, Mr. McMillen has a stellar academic background, graduating in the top 1% of his class at University of California at Los Angeles, before earning his juris doctorate at the University of San Diego, School of Law. He is admitted to all federal and state courts in California, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.
In addition to his academic credentials, Mr. McMillen brings two decades of experience litigating insurance coverage and bad faith claims, as well as complex business disputes, representing plaintiffs/insureds. Mr. McMillen has significant experience in every aspect of the litigation process, and over the course of his twenty-year career, he has taken hundreds of depositions, participated in numerous mediations, arbitrations and trials.
We are excited to welcome Mr. McMillen to the firm, and he is enthusiastic to use his vast experience and knowledge to assist the firm’s clients in obtaining the benefits/damages to which
they are rightfully entitled.
The January 8, 2015 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon and Scott Calvert’s article entitled: “Expanding Equitable Remedies in ERISA Cases.” In it, Mr. McKennon and Mr. Calvert discuss a new case, Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, 2014 DJDAR 16590 (9th Cir. 2014), which discusses equitable remedies in ERISA cases and in particular how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has joined other circuits in allowing various equitable remedies, most especially the surcharge remedy which may allow ERISA claimants to obtain monetary relief.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that during the 2014 legislative session that Governor Jerry Brown signed nine bills sponsored by the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”). A bill that adds protections for small businesses that took effect in 2014 and five other consumer protection bills that were implemented January 1, 2015. Here is a list of them (taken from a CDI bulletin):
McKennon Law Group PC founding partner Robert J. McKennon will speak on an MCLE panel for the Orange County Bar Association Insurance Law Section on August 27, 2014 discussing “Recent Developments and Interesting Issues in Life Insurance Law.” Mr. McKennon, an attorney who currently represents insurance claimants after over two decades representing insurers, and Laura K. Kim, an attorney who currently represents insurance companies, agents and brokers in insurance litigation will provide information to help litigators assess the issues associated with life insurance litigation to ensure that counsel for both parties are able to properly represent their clients. The MCLE event is scheduled to take place at the OCBA headquarters from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM and registered attendees will receive 1.0 hour of MCLE credits
New California Law Requires that Short-Term Disability Policies Provide Coverage for Severe Mental IllnessAugust 05, 2014 Scott Calvert
In a victory for insurance consumers and mental health advocates, a recent change to the California Insurance Code mandates that short-term disability insurance policies provide coverage for “severe mental illnesses” as that term is defined in the Insurance Code.
Passed in 2013, and signed in to law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 4, 2013, Assembly Bill No. 402 (“AB 402”) added Section 10144.55 to the Insurance Code, effective July 1, 2014. Section 10144.55 requires that every disability insurance policy with “a short-term limited duration of two years or less,” provide coverage for disabilities caused by severe mental illnesses. Section 10144.55(b) defines “severe mental illnesses” as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depressive disorders (including postpartum depression), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), pervasive developmental disorder (autism), anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
A disturbing trend that has developed across the country in recent years is that, while the number of workers/employees suffering from long-term illnesses or injuries has increased, the number of employers who provide long-term disability insurance has dropped dramatically. As of May 2014, the total number of Social Security disability beneficiaries in the United States hit an all-time high of about 11 million beneficiaries. However, fewer employees are covered with long term disability coverage. The number of U.S. workers with long-term disability coverage decreased 6% from 2009-2013. Below are just a few of the worrying statistics. From 2009-2013 nationwide:
- The number of employers offering long-term disability coverage decreased from 220,000 to 213,000;
- The number of employees who have long-term disability coverage decreased from 34 million to 32.1 million (6% decline); but,
- The number of employees in the U.S. workforce has increased by 6.6 million.
More and more employers are opting to drop their standard disability insurance plans for optional employee-paid plans. Additionally, more companies are implementing “defined benefit plans,” which allocate a certain amount of funds for each worker to use for all insurance coverage. This often has the effect of forcing workers to forgo some types of coverage, such as long-term disability insurance, because the funds provided are not sufficient to cover all types of insurance.
Policyholder Wins Handed Down in Insurance Decisions. Daily Journal Publishes McKennon Law Group PC Article.February 12, 2014 Scott Calvert
The February 10, 2014 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled: “Policyholder Wins Handed Down in Insurance Decisions.” In it, Mr. McKennon discusses six insurance decisions handed down in California and federal courts in 2013 that were favorable to policyholders.
The November 21, 2013 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled: “Equitable remedies gain favor in ERISA cases.” In it, Mr. McKennon discusses a significant development in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) in the last couple of years. This significant development is due to the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cigna Corp. v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011). In that case, the Supreme Court indicated a shift away from the federal courts aversion to the granting of equitable remedies in ERISA cases, especially equitable estoppel. The Seventh and Fourth Circuit Courts have started a trend in applying equitable estoppel claims by both plan participants and beneficiaries. The article is posted here with the permission of the Daily Journal.