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Sutherland Client Bankers Life Wins in Georgia Supreme Court

July 2, 2003

ATLANTA (July 2, 2003) – The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld the dismissal of a class action against Bankers Life Insurance Company, represented by Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Plaintiff Felicia Printis originally filed suit in the Superior Court of Fulton County alleging that Bankers Life committed a RICO violation by conspiring with its agents and auto dealers to sell Ms. Printis unnecessary credit life and disability insurance.  At issue was whether OCGA 33-32-4 (a) authorizes the insurer to issue a credit life insurance policy which covers the total amount payable over the term of the loan or limits the policy's coverage to the principal amount financed by the insured.

The Superior Court's dismissal of Ms. Printis's lawsuit was appealed by her to the Supreme Court of Georgia.  In an unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that because the Georgia General Assembly has not enacted a statute limiting the amount of credit life insurance that could be sold to the pay-off balance, Ms. Printis's case was properly dismissed.

This ruling validates the practices of most credit life insurers operating in Georgia and is consistent with the law of 30 or more states.  A similar case brought before the Alabama Supreme Court in 1996 resulted in a victory for the insured and a wave of consequent litigation over refunds.

Tom Byrne and Tom Curvin, partners at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, served as the lead attorneys for Bankers Life.  Mr. Byrne practices primarily in commercial litigation, consumer finance and bankruptcy.  He is an authority in consumer and policyholder class action litigation.  Mr. Curvin focuses his practice on business litigation, with emphasis on franchise disputes, professional liability defense and insurance litigation.

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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