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WSH Achieves Major Defense Victory for Settlement Provider

On October 8, Michael S. Popok, John J. Quick, and Eric P. Hockman achieved a major victory in defending against a motion for partial summary judgment in a breach of contract case involving a damages claim for $10.1 million. Judge Meenu T. Sasser, in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court, adopted the proposed order written and submitted by Michael, John and Eric almost verbatim.

The case concerns the sale of eight life insurance policies, or, as they are called in the industry, “viatical settlements,” with a face value of $50 million. The sale price was $10.1 million, but the transaction did not close because of the market crash in 2008.

WSH represented Life Settlements International, Inc. (part of Cantor Fitzgerald),  a licensed “viatical settlement provider” that never buys viatical settlements for its own account. Our client acted as the middle man, which is required by Florida law to create a buffer between a buyer and seller. The ultimate buyer in this case (another entity also involved in the lawsuit) did not close on the deal, and the plaintiffs instead claimed that our client was the buyer and was in breach for not closing.

The plaintiffs’ unsuccessful motion for partial summary judgment attempted to establish a binding agreement between the provider and the plaintiffs, and then apply the parol evidence rule to exclude evidence of the real transaction involving the true buyer. The Court’s rejection of the parol evidence rule not only wiped out the plaintiffs’ motion, but also greatly assisted the provider, who can now bring in additional evidence showing the real intent of the deal as well as the true buyer.

Chaired by Matthew H. Mandel, WSH’s Litigation Division routinely represents private businesses at every level of the justice system. Our attorneys have extensive experience prosecuting and defending a wide variety of general commercial and business dispute issues in both individual and class action settings. The Division works closely with our Appellate Practice Group to handle dozens of appeals generated each year by our trial practice.

 

Categories: LitigationContracts
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesEric P. HockmanMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation LawyersMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation AttorneyJohn J. Quick
Author(s): Matthew H. Mandel & Brooke P. Dolara