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Court Rejects Life Insurance Class Action

November 19, 2003

ATLANTA (November 19, 2003) – On October 24, 2003, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment on the pleadings for Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP client Inter-State Assurance Company, an affiliate of Protective Life, in a putative nationwide class action asserting so-called "gap coverage" claims about a life insurance policy.  (The case, Bogard  v. Inter-State Assurance Co., is reported at 2002 WL 22417210.)

Specifically, the plaintiff's theory was that the client improperly charged premiums during an alleged "risk-free" period after the policy issued but before coverage became effective, which the plaintiff alleged was a breach of contract, a deceptive trade practice and a ground for restitution.  An estimated 30 such cases are pending nationwide against life insurers.  The court of appeals rejected these claims, finding that Inter-State's policy was not ambiguous as to the coverage terms.  Sutherland's lawyers involved for the client were Tom Byrne and Joe White.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a national law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies.  Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 350 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington.  For further information about the firm, please visit

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