Attorney Bagnell Defeats AIG Motion for Summary Judgment in Unfair Insurance Practices Case

Court orders jury trial on AIG claims handling practices

April 6, 2016 In a case that has spanned almost eight years, the United States District Court for the District Connecticut yesterday denied motions by AIG and its wholly-owned subsidiary National Union Fire Insurance Company for summary judgment against the firm’s client, Teri Tucker.  Ms. Tucker obtained a $4.2 million jury verdict in July 2008 and thereafter was forced to sue her former employer’s insurers, AIG and National Union Fire Insurance Company, for unfair trade practices among other claims.

In a 46-page decision, the Court wrote that it is for a jury to decide “whether Defendants engaged in unfair business practices” in violation of Connecticut’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act, which sets no limit on punitive damages for violations.  The Court noted that Tucker had advanced at least four other adjudicated cases of claims mishandling by AIG entities, including Acacia Research Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., Anderson v. American International Group, Inc., United Technologies Corp. v. American Home Assurance, and Victaulic v. American Homes Assurance Co., permitting a reasonable jury to find in her favor.

Jeff Bagnell, counsel for Ms.Tucker in both the underlying case and the present action against AIG, stated that he is extremely pleased that, after such an extraordinary delay, a jury will finally be able to hear evidence of AIG’s claims handling practices in this case.  “A delay of this extreme nature is exactly what many insurance companies hope for when defending against claims, knowing full well its deterrent effect against policyholders and third parties from ever bringing claims in the first place.  I look forward to having a jury decide the facts of this case and securing justice for Teri.”

PRNewswire


Court of Appeals Remands Firm’s Steiner v. Lewmar Inc. Unfair Trade Practices Case to Trial Court

March 8, 2016.   The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has remanded the firm’s Steiner v. Lewmar Inc. Unfair Trade Practices Case to the U.S. District Court for a determination of more than $600,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in prosecuting the intellectual property action over more than six years. The firm prevailed on all seven causes of action in the District Court.  Writing for a unanimous Court, Judge Dennis Chin wrote that it would be an abuse of discretion for the district court to refrain from awarding fees if based on defendants’ capitulation to judgment before trial.  Co-counsel for Mr. Steiner, Scott Lucas and Jeff Bagnell, said that they were very pleased with the Court of Appeals’ decision, and look forward to having the district court decide the issue of reasonable fees after six years of litigation including an appeal.


Firm Defeats ADA Summary Judgment Motion Against Terminated Executive With Cancer, September 2015

Court denies summary judgment motion as to all counts of ADA Complaint

September 10, 2015.   Court finds that a jury could find on all counts for an executive with over $1.7 million in economic losses who was terminated after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Jeff Bagnell, lead counsel for the plaintiff, stated that he was pleased with the Court’s prompt ruling and correct application of Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. “The Court’s ruling indirectly shows the extent to which abuse of Rule 56, with its typically enormous delays and costs, has become institutionalized in the federal civil system. Years ago federal Judge Patricia Wald once warned of summary judgment transforming into ‘a juggernaut which, if not carefully monitored, could threaten the relatively small residue of civil trials that remain.’ So we look forward to having a jury hear the case in keeping with the Seventh Amendment,” he stated.


Attorney Bagnell Named Top 50 Lawyer in Connecticut

 

September 10, 2015.  We are proud to announce that Attorney Bagnell was named one of the top 50 attorneys practicing in Connecticut by Superlawyers Magazine, October 2014.

TOP 50: 2014 CONNECTICUT SUPER LAWYERS LIST


Firm Defeats ADA Summary Judgment Motion Against Terminated Westport Computer Teacher

 

March 14, 2014.  “Rather, when the record is reviewed as a whole, the Court finds sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue for trial as to whether Defendant’s reason was a pretext for discrimination. There is substantial evidence of Landon’s animosity concerning teacher absences. Plaintiff had significantly more computer experience than her replacement. Plaintiff was tenured, her replacement was not. Plaintiff had far less classroom experience than her replacement, thus raising a question as to why Defendant would prefer to have Plaintiff in the classroom. Plaintiff worked with each of the students once a week and, thus, if she were absent for medical reasons, her absence would have far less impact on the students than as a classroom teacher, who was responsible for the same 20 to 25 students all day, every day. Moreover, for over three years, Defendant had been willing to split the computer teacher position between Plaintiff at. 8 FTE and another .2 FTE teacher. Additionally, although Defendant was very accommodating about Plaintiff’s requests for extended leave, it never engaged in an interactive process with her to determine what accommodations she would need to return to her former job. Finally, when Plaintiff was cleared by her doctor in 2010 to return to her computer teaching job, Defendant refused to allow her to return to this position.”

Accordingly, after a careful review of the record, the Court concludes that there are genuine issues of material fact as to Plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims set forth in Count III and denies Defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to Count III.


U.S. District Court Denies Three Summary Judgment Motions of Marine Manufacturer

Firm successfully defends three summary judgment motions in trademark infringement and unfair trade practices case

PR Newswire.  Dax Labs LLC today announced that the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut has denied three summary judgment motions of marine manufacturer Lewmar, Inc. in a trademark infringement and unfair trade practices case.  Lewmar claimed in its motions that it did not breach the covenant of good faith and fair dealing when it manufactured an imitation of a patented sailboat winch handle known as the “OneTouch®,” and took other actions designed to deprive Dax Labs LLC of the benefits of a 2006 licensing agreement with Lewmar to manufacture and sell Dax’s award-winning winch handle.  In rejecting all three of Lewmar’s motions, the Court cited evidence supporting Dax’s claims that Lewmar engaged in intentional bad faith conduct, including the manufacture of a competing winch handle known as “LiteTouch.”

Trial on the remaining issues in the case is currently scheduled to begin later this year.  Donald J. Steiner et al. v. Lewmar, Inc. et al., 3:09CV1976(DJS).

Dax Labs LLC and Donald J. Steiner are represented by Lucas Bagnell Varga LLC in Southport, Connecticut.


Attorney Bagnell named top 50 litigation star in Connecticut

Euromoney/Institutional Investor's Benchmark Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Plaintiff Firms & Attorneys.

August 6, 2013. Jeff Bagnell has been named named a top 50 litigation star in Connecticut in Euromoney / Institutional Investor’s Benchmark Litigation.

Benchmark Litigation identifies the leading US trial attorneys and firms at the local and national levels. Focused exclusively on the US litigation market, the publication’s rankings and editorials are the result of extensive interviews with private practice lawyers and in-house counsel. Supplementary firm information is also submitted in the form of a questionnaire. The guide’s “local litigation stars” reflect lawyers who are recommended by peers and clients to have established consistent reputations as trial attorneys, while “future stars” are those litigators who are highlighted as likely to be become “local litigation stars” in coming editions. Benchmark’s independent research is conducted annually between February and June.


Lucas Bagnell Varga LLC Secures $17.4 Million Award For Former Applied Biosystems Executives

New York Times

December 6, 2012.  A three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association today awarded former executives of Applied Biosystems, Inc., f/k/a Perkin Elmer Corporation, $17.4 million in unpaid change in control benefits from Life Technologies Corporation, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies (NASDAQ: LIFE). The case was presented to a former federal judge, former state judge and a senior member of the Connecticut Bar over a period of two years.

According to the claim of the executives, the incentive compensation became due from Life Technologies Corporation when it assumed the obligations of the executives’ employment agreements after acquiring Applied Biosystems, Inc. in November 2008. Life Technologies argued the executives were misreading their agreements and were not entitled to continued stock-based benefit awards.

In finding for the executives, the arbitration Panel held the agreements were breached as “the Company made no effort to provide [the claimed benefits], and the Claimants are entitled to them.”

“We are very pleased with the outcome, and are happy our clients will finally receive these sums which they earned and are long overdue,” said Scott Lucas, lead trial counsel for the executives. “Consultants from Citrin Cooperman were instrumental in helping us present our clients’ complex damages claim to the Panel,” added Jeff Bagnell, who handled the damages aspect of the case at trial.

The executives were represented by Lucas Bagnell Varga LLC in Southport, Connecticut. Life Technologies was represented by DLA Piper.

This item has been reprinted in many major news sources, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, Bloomberg, and others.


U.S. District Court denies Town of Westport’s motion to dismiss pregnant teacher’s FMLA claims

November 12, 2012.   In this widely reported case handled by Lucas Bagnell Varga LLC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut denied the Westport Board of Education’s motion to dismiss the FMLA claims of a tenured teacher who was dismissed shortly after informing her principal that she might need limited time off to recuperate from a spinal injury incurred during childbirth.  The Court emphasized that employees who take maternity leave are entitled to return to their position upon termination of leave, or an equivalent position.  An “equivalent position” under the FMLA must be “virtually identical” to the original position in several different ways analyzed in the opinion.


Attorney Bagnell Obtains E-discovery Sanctions

 

August 7, 2012.  Attorney Bagnell represented the plaintiff in the e-discovery case discussed in an the recent article, “Case Where IT Tech’s Fast-Talk Had Zero Persuasive Value with Judge.”

E-discoveryteam.com


Firm Prevails on Issue of First Impression Before Connecticut Supreme Court

 

August 1, 2012.  Attorney Bagnell successfully argues case for wage law plaintiffs.

Ctemploymentlawblog.com


Attorney Bagnell Speaking at Boston NELA Conference

MELA, NELA

March 18, 2011.  Attorneys Lucas and Bagnell will each be speaking in Boston at the 7th Annual New England Regional Conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association on May 13-14, 2011. Attorneys Lucas and Bagnell will be speaking on trial practice and developing emotional distress and punitive damages evidence. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy S. Gertner will be serving as keynote speaker at the conference at the Colonnade Hotel.

Massnela.org


Employment Law 360: Sharing Focus Group Results

 

November 17, 2008.   Attorney Bagnell quoted on the value of focus groups in conducting pre-trial research.

Sharing Focus Group Results


Jury Awards Over $4 Million to Employee in Retaliation Case

 

July 28, 2008.  Attorney Bagnell represented the prevailing party in this case, which was recently tried in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. As reported in the Connecticut Employment Law Blog (July 2008) and elsewhere, his client brought claims of retaliation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as Connecticut law prohibiting retaliation against employees who speak out in the workplace on matters of public concern. The jury unanimously found in her favor on all counts, awarding her over $4 million in damages.

Jury Awards $4MM+ to Employee in Retaliation Case by Daniel Schwartz.

What's a Four Million Dollar Jury Verdict Look Like? by Daniel Schwartz.


Attorney Bagnell Successfully Defends Wage Claim; Establishes New Precedent in the Area of Wage and Hour Law

 

July 10, 2008.  As recently reported in the Connecticut Employment Law Blog (July 2008) and the Employee Benefits Institute of America (August 2008), Attorney Bagnell successfully defended a substantial ($600,000) wage claim in Tamborino v. Velocity Express, Inc., 2008 WL 2582529 (Conn. Super. Ct. 2008) in which a new precedent was established regarding the status of COBRA, signing bonus, and accrued vacation.

Sign On Bonus, Accrued Valuation and COBRA Insurance and not "Wages", Says Superior Court by Daniel Schwartz.

Employer Did Not Violate State Law or Employment Agreement When it Withheld COBRA Premiums From Severance Pay, EIBA Weekly, 14 Aug. 2008 (requires login).