Negrete v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. of N. Am.
Plaintiffs Reach Settlement in Nationwide RICO Case Against Life Insurer
On March 17, 2015, District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder granted final approval of a settlement providing for over $250 million in cash payments and other benefits to a class of senior citizens. The settlement was reached on the eve of trial and after more than nine years of hard-fought litigation.
Plaintiffs initiated the action in September 2005, alleging that Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America had failed to disclose to senior consumers material facts concerning the costs associated with its fixed and equity indexed deferred annuities and enticed seniors to buy the annuities by promising them illusory up-front bonuses. Allianz is one of the top issuers of deferred annuities in the United States.
One year later, plaintiffs obtained certification of a nationwide RICO class consisting of over 200,000 senior citizens who had purchased deferred annuities from Allianz. Plaintiffs also obtained certification of a California statewide class predicated on the same allegations.
Robbins Geller, along with its co-lead counsel, embarked on merits discovery over the next three years. Plaintiffs’ counsel left no stone uncovered, obtaining millions of pages of relevant documents from Allianz, issuing more than 50 subpoenas to non-parties located across the United States, and conducting and/or defending more than 85 depositions of fact and expert witnesses. Based on this discovery, plaintiffs’ counsel was able to successfully overcome numerous challenges by Allianz to the legal and factual merits of plaintiffs’ claims, including three motions for summary judgment, motions for decertification of the class, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, and several appeals before the Eighth and Ninth Circuits.
Trial was set to commence in March 2014. However, the parties reached a settlement as they were preparing for trial. Judge Snyder approved the settlement in March 2015, finding it fair, adequate and reasonable, and noting that the settlement was an excellent result for the class.
“This settlement provides valuable benefits to those senior consumers who were sold complex financial products without clear, accurate and complete disclosures,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Theodore J. Pintar. The Robbins Geller attorneys responsible for the recovery included Theodore J. Pintar, Patrick J. Coughlin and Steven M. Jodlowski, and a team of highly skilled and dedicated support staff.
Negrete v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., No. CV-05-6838 (C.D. Cal.).