During the second day of the Executive Life of New York (ELNY) Liquidation Hearing, presiding Judge John M. Galasso stated: "I have a gun to my head; if the annuitants don't get the Restructuring Agreement, they get a straight liquidation."
That gun discharged metaphorically yesterday in Room 35 of the Nassau County New York State Supreme Court Building. The target, however, was not Judge Galasso. Instead, Judge Galasso took full aim at attorney Edward Stone and the ELNY structured settlement shortfall payees. Some of the key developments:
- No Additional Witnesses - After allowing Stone's expert witness Douglas Hartz to testify and be cross-examined on March 26, Judge Galasso refused to allow Stone to introduce additional witnesses on behalf of the shortfall victims stating "they wouldn't help". Among the witnesses Stone had listed in addition to Hartz:
- Ronald Kehrli - former Chief Executive Officer of ELNY prior to ELNY entering Rehabilitation.
- Corwin K. Zass - an expert actuary.
- Marshall Sterman - a forensic accountant.
- Thomas Gober - a forensic accountant and insurance fraud investigator.
- Laird Zacheis - a consulting actuary.
- Objections Under Seal - Denying previous requests by attorneys for ELNY shortfall victims to review the compendium of objections submitted by all Objectors to the proposed ELNY Restructuring Agreement, Judge Galasso decided "sua sponte" to place all objections "under seal" thereby preventing those objections from becoming a matter of public record and restricting access by attorneys for the structured settlement shortfall payees.
- Source Materials - Judge Galasso continued to deny attorneys for the shortfall payees access to critical source materials (including the MetLife ELNY database) relied upon by the agents and experts for the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (Superintendent), as Receiver for ELNY, in formulating the Superintendent's proposed Restructuring Agreement for ELNY.
- Closing Arguments - Judge Galasso scheduled closing arguments to begin today, March 28, 2012, with attorneys for the ELNY shortfall victims presenting first.
In their prior cross-examination of witnesses called on behalf of the Superintendent, attorneys representing ELNY structured settlement shortfall payees had attempted to convince Judge Galasso that the proposed ELNY Restructuring Agreement was neither "fair and equitable" nor the "best possible plan". In presenting their clients' case, those attorneys indicated they planned to suggest improvements and/or alternatives.
By denying attorneys for the ELNY structured settlement shortfall payees the right: 1) to present all of their expert witnesses and 2) to review all objections plus critical source documents previously shared by the Superintendent and NOLHGA with their agents and experts, Judge Galasso appears to have added insult to injury by prematurely putting to rest what was supposed to be a fair and open hearing.
S2KM's complete reporting about the ELNY Liquidation Hearing is accessible on the structured settlement wiki.