Responding to injustices they attribute to Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services for the State of New York (Superintendent), in his capacity as Receiver of Executive Life Insurance Company of New York (ELNY), and his predecessors and their agents, a group of ELNY structured settlement shortfall payees and their attorneys held a press conference today at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.
Added January 9, 2013: Among several news organizations that attended the press conference, the New York Daily News has now published its first ELNY article.
Added January 13, 2013: See also this ELNY article from the Courthouse News Service.
The alleged injustices include a recent Motion filed by the Superintendent's attorneys with the Nassau County New York State Supreme Court to:
- Enjoin three ELNY structured settlement shortfall payees and their legal counsel from proceeding with a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court Southern District of New York;
- Hold in contempt of court the shortfall payees' legal counsel; and
- Require their payment of the related costs and attorney's fees incurred by the Superintendent.
The stated purpose of the Superintendent's motion is "to punish the accused for a contempt of court, and such punishment may consist of fine or imprisonment, or both, according to the law."
- For the structured settlement shortfall payees' legal response to the Superintendents' contempt motion, see this prior blog post.
- For ELNY class action allegations of post-1991 ELNY mismanagement and non-disclosure set forth in the ELNY class action, see this prior blog post.
- For 2012 ELNY retrospective summary, see this prior blog post.
Press Conference Comments
“What is most shocking to victims", Stone stated, "is that the structured settlement funds set aside for future medical expenses and care were wasted by folks charged with protecting their interests. When New York State took over ELNY in 1991, the company was financially in the black, but decades of neglect and fiscal mismanagement by the NYLB led to this horrible scenario for victims. For the state to give these suffering victims a legal ultimatum and then sue them for asking for justice is unconscionable in my view. Billion dollar deficits are not created overnight.”
Christensen, whose law firm Christensen & Jensen has previously secured major victories against insurance companies, added: “The wasting of ELNY assets that has been perpetrated here in New York State against these victims and the legal intimidation the superintendent is now seeking to impose upon them must not be tolerated in a democratic and supposedly moral society. If we must, we will take this fight to the highest levels of our nation’s legal systems to obtain justice for nearly 1,500 ELNY victims scattered across all 50 states and three foreign nations. The superintendent is now asking us to be held in contempt for what he and his predecessors should have been doing all along, protecting these good people. They put their trust in the leadership of New York State and were betrayed.”
There are a total of 1,457 ELNY shortfall victims across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three countries. The largest proportion of victims hail from: California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Illinois, Georgia and Connecticut.
Complete ELNY Coverage