Andersen, Tate & Carr attorneys Tom Tate, Tyler Dillard, and Jaletta Smith recently scored a victory at the Georgia Court of Appeals in a case involving facts dating back a decade.

The firm’s client was a life insurance company that issued certain annuity policies at the request of a family trust in 2011.  In 2015, a beneficiary of the annuity policies sued the life insurance company individually and purportedly as an assignee of the family trust and certain other of her siblings who were also annuity beneficiaries.  The plaintiff asserted claims for fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, respondeat superior liability, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.

After extensive discovery was completed, Mr. Tate and Mr. Dillard argued in a lengthy summary judgment hearing on behalf of the client.

Among other things, the evidence had shown that the insurance “agent” whom had submitted the applications to the life insurance company was serving as an agent for the trust, not the insurance company, and thus, his alleged actions could not be imputed to the insurance company.  Additionally, the plaintiff had failed to prove any negligence on behalf of the life insurance company or any damages specifically attributable to the same.

After thoughtfully considering the arguments, the Gwinnett County Superior Court eventually granted summary judgment to the life insurance company on all claims.

The plaintiff appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals.  Ms. Smith assisted the client with briefing to the Court of Appeals, and on March 4, 2021, the Court of Appeals issued a 12-page opinion affirming the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in all respects.  The plaintiff did not appeal further, and the long-running saga finally came to an end.

Andersen, Tate & Carr is proud to have obtained a complete victory on behalf of their client.