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Insurer Files Reply Brief In PacifiCare Appeal To Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Nov. 29, 2018 — Attorneys for Pacificare Life and Health Insurance Company have filed a reply brief in the California Supreme Court, urging the Court to grant its Petition for Review and reject arguments by attorneys for California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to let an appellate court decision stand.

At issue in PacifiCare v Jones is the Commissioner’s attempt to radically rewrite California’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA).  IIABCal and other industry organizations have submitted amicus letters to the Supreme Court, urging it to review and overturn a decision of the 4th District Court of Appeals that largely endorsed the Commissioner’s actions.

“We are gravely concerned by the decision of the Court of Appeal,” wrote Steve Young, IIABCal general counsel, in the Asociation’s amicus letter, “because we believe it disregards the plain meaning of the statutory language in issue, the available legislative history back of the statute, this Court’s clear and unambiguous interpretation of these laws, and the dire consequences this decision could engender, which we respectfully submit the appellate court either didn’t perceive or chose to disregard.”

In Pacificare Life and Health Insurance Co v. Jones, the 4th District Court of Appeals in September reversed a trial court decision, which had concluded that the Commissioner’s actions in the PacifiCare case and his interpretation of his statutory powers were contrary to law.

In its reply brief, the insurer stressed that the appellate court erred in concluding that the Unfair Insurance Practices Act permits the Commissioner to invoke its extreme remedies for single violations; that it contradicts prior decisions on what constitutes a “willful act,” and that it flies in the face of past Supreme Court decisions on the UIPA.

The Supreme Court routinely rejects all but a handful of appeals in civil cases, but Young said lawyers for PacifiCare are cautiously optimistic the Court will accept this case—because the decision of the appellate court differs from decisions other appellate courts have rendered on the same legal issues, as well as the Supreme Court’s own opinions.

To review the Reply Brief filed by PacifiCare, click here.

To review the IIABCal amicus letter, click here.

To review the appellate court’s opinion,click here.