Publication

OFFIT KURMAN ATTORNEYS FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN THIRD CIRCUIT ON BEHALF OF F & G LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY IN ANABEL ZAHNER, ET AL. V. SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WELFARE

Philadelphia, June 18, 2014  Offit Kurman attorney Eric Pelletier  filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of F & G Life Insurance Company, Inc. in Anabel Zahner, et al v. Secretary of Public Welfare, case no. 14-1328, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  The brief is filed in support of the Appellant, Anabel Zahner.  The case involves the interpretation of 42 U.S.C. § 1396p in the context of purchases of actuarially sound annuities by Medicaid applicants’ spouses.  A key issue in the case is whether an annuity is a “trust-like device” for purposes of the statute; a characteristic which could create fiduciary duties for annuity issuers in this context.  Another key issue in Zahner is whether §1396p disqualifies Medicaid applicants from benefits if their spouses purchase actuarially sound annuities with payment streams of less than two years. The brief argues that annuities are not trust-like devices, but are mere contractual obligations which, unlike trusts, always require consideration.  The brief also asserts that except in limited circumstances that are inapplicable to the facts of Zahner, insurers and annuity issuers are not fiduciaries, and a vast body of law both in Pennsylvania and across the country invariably supports this position.  The brief also argues that 42 U.S.C. § 1396p specifies several clear requirements which establish when purchase of an annuity by a community spouse is not a disqualifying transfer for less than fair value, but that none of these requirements establish a minimal period for a payment stream.  The brief is noteworthy because its arguments against treating annuities as trust-like devices urge reversal of the district court’s establishment of unprecedented fiduciary obligations for issuers, and because it advocates for a proper, literal application of 42 U.S.C. § 1396p so that annuity issuers have clear guidance for issuing these types of annuities in the future. Click here to view the brief: Zahner Brief If you have any questions or have further questions please contact one of the attorney’s below: epelletier@offitkurman.com | 240.507.1739 Mr. Pelletier is a commercial litigation attorney who successfully defends clients in complex, high value commercial disputes, often resolving claims through pretrial motions. In addition to his work in commercial litigation, Mr. Pelletier regularly defends companies in various types of labor and employment claims. Mr. Pelletier also handles estate litigation and insurance defense, coverage, and recovery matters.   skaufman@offitkurman.com | 443.738.1511 As a health care attorney, Mr. Kaufman represents small businesses in a wide variety of business and commercial litigation matters. These matters include leasing and real estate purchases, the purchase and sale of businesses, contracts, employment issues, employment litigation, insurance, and commercial disputes. Mr. Kaufman has also appeared before numerous state and federal courts, arbitration panels and administrative forums.   You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn