Two Executive Life of New York (ELNY) legal actions are currently in process:
- ELNY Appeal - Oral arguments occurred on November 15, 2012 in Brooklyn before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Department challenging the Executive Life of New York (ELNY) Order of Liquidation and Approval of the ELNY Restructuring Agreement signed by New York State Supreme Court Judge John M. Galasso on April 16, 2012.
- ELNY Class Action - Attorney Edward Stone and representatives of the Christensen & Jensen law firm filed a class action lawsuit November 8, 2012 on behalf of ELNY shortfall victims in the United States District Court Southern District of New York against defendants Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services of the State of New York, in his non-regulatory capacity as ELNY's Receiver, including predecessor ELNY Receivers (Superintendent/Rehabilitator), Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) and Credit Suisse Group, AG (Credit Suisse).
The appeal, filed May 30, 2012 on behalf of 18 ELNY structured settlement shortfall victims as objectors:
- Alleges Judge Galasso "erroneously denied objectors' request to reject the proposed agreement of restructuring in connection with the [ELNY] liquidation";
- Further alleges Judge Galasso's order:
- "[I]mproperly grants and/or continues certain injunctions and immunities and discriminates against the objectors";
- "[C]reates impermissible sub-classes of claimants"; and
- "[R]eflects the courts erroneous denial of objectors' requests to adjourn the hearing ... due to a lack of proper notice of such hearing."
- Seeks to compel:
- The Superintendent, as ELNY's Rehabilitator, "to provide certain discovery necessary to, among other things, allow objectors to demonstrate why the plan should not be approved and submit a viable competing restructuring plan";
- Judge Galasso "to unseal certain documents submitted to the court by the rehabilitator"; and
- Further seeks to allow the objectors "to present evidence (in the form of live testimony by certain witnesses) rebutting the receiver's experts and otherwise showing that the proposed-liquidation plan should not have been approved."
S2KM previously summarized:
- Objectors' appellate brief
- Arguments in the objectors' preliminary brief:
- Arguments in the Superintendent's brief and the objectors' reply brief:
S2KM did not attend the ELNY oral arguments in Brooklyn, N.Y. The following reporting notes were provided to S2KM by structured settlement shortfall payees, and their attorney Edward Stone, who did attend the oral arguments and includes their opinions and observations.
The four appellate judges who heard the oral arguments appeared to understand the complexity of the issues on appeal:
- Associate Justice Mark C. Dillon
- Associate Justice Sandra L. Sgroi
- Associate Justice Cheryl E. Chambers
- Associate Justice Robert J. Miller
Each briefing attorney summarized his/her arguments then responded to questions from the judges:
- Karra J. Porter - for the ELNY shortfall payees.
- Steven M. Bierman - for the Superintendent.
- Kevin P. Griffith - for NOLHGA.
At least a dozen attorneys supporting the ELNY liquidation plan approved by Judge Galasso attended the oral arguments, many at the expense of the ELNY victims.These attorneys included several each representing the Superintendent and NOLHGA.
Appearing on behalf of the ELNY shortfall payees, attorney Porter focused her comments on lower court proceedings that denied ELNY shortfall payees their basic due process rights including the right to verify information the Superintendent and NOLHGA relied upon in formulating their restructuring plan.
Porter also addressed the scope of immunity, if any, to be accorded the Superintendent under New York law. She asked the panel to hold the Superintendent's ELNY conduct to the same standard applicable to all private receivers: good faith and appropriate care and prudence. She argued there is no basis in either New York or common law for the immunity and injunctive relief Judge Galasso granted to the Superintendent and his agents.
Appearing on behalf of the Superintendent, attorney Bierman claimed the ELNY shortfall payees had been afforded a fair hearing and noted Judge Galasso had determined the ELNY liquidation and restructuring plan were appropriate under the circumstances. Bierman insisted the Superintendent represented all of the ELNY shortfall victims and acted in their best interest.
Bierman never referenced or attempted to refute evidence that the Superintendent and his agents mismanaged the ELNY estate. Instead, he characterized as "galling" that ELNY shortfall payees would challenge the results of the ELNY liquidation hearing and added "no good deed goes unpunished".
Understandably, the ELNY shortfall victims who attended the oral arguments strongly disagree with attorney Bierman as to what is "galling" about the ELNY rehabilitation, liquidation hearing and restructuring plan. What is "galling" to ELNY shortfall victims:
- The Superintendent's claim that he acted in their best interests.
- The Superintendent's gross mismanagement of the ELNY estate.
- Judge Galasso's denial of their basic due process rights.
- Judge Galasso's grant of immunity and injunction to:
- Protect the Superintendent and his agents from lawsuits; and
- Prevent meaningful verification of the Superintendent's assertions.
The judges seemed disinterested in the due process arguments presented by attorney Griffith on behalf of NOLHGA, according to the ELNY shortfall payees who attended the oral arguments. The only question asked: "Wasn't it always the obligation of NOLHGA's state guarantee association members to pay their coverage amounts to the ELNY shortfall payees?"
A decision in the ELNY appeal is expected by year end 2012.
For additional notes about the ELNY oral arguments, see attorney Edward Stone's website.