Publication

Offit Kurman Attorneys Set Legal Precedent with Virginia Supreme Court Win

Join Them For a Free Webinar on the Decision.

March 18th | 4:00 pm

In late 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down a precedent-setting decision, in Cheryl H. Wood, et al. v. Tracey L. Martin, that secured for Ms. Martin a favorable $750,000 summary judgment.  Offit Kurman attorneys Thomas W. Repczynski, Alison Noll and Alyssa Davies successfully argued this case that, in Virginia, now recognizes an ex-spouse’s “equitable assignment” rights to life insurance proceeds agreed to under a consensual property settlement agreement incorporated in a divorce decree.

The team’s pursuit of the case spanned several years and culminated with Mr. Repczynski appearing virtually before the High Court at the height of the pandemic.

Join Mr. Repczynski and Ms. Davies for a free one-hour webinar (in partnership with the South Fairfax Chamber of Commerce), to learn why the surviving ex-wife, and her children, were not as protected as she had believed, along with their tips to avoiding similar risks and costly, time-consuming legal battles.

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2020 | Tysons Corner, VA

The United States Supreme Court Building.Offit Kurman is proud to congratulate Thomas W. Repczynski, Alison Noll, and Alyssa Davies for their recently announced Virginia Supreme Court victory in the case of Cheryl H. Wood, et al. v. Tracey L. Martin, in which the team successfully secured for Ms. Martin affirmation of a favorable $750,000 summary judgment decision in Fairfax Circuit Court and established new law in the process.

With the Supreme Court’s precedent-setting decision, Virginia now recognizes an ex-spouse’s “equitable assignment” rights to life insurance proceeds agreed to under a consensual property settlement agreement incorporated in a divorce decree.  You can read the opinion here.

The team’s pursuit of the case spanned several years, and culminated with Mr. Repczynski appearing virtually before the High Court at the height of the pandemic. He recounts that news of the win brought tears of joy and relief to Ms. Martin for whom the legal ordeal had been overwhelming at times.  “As a litigator,” admits Mr. Repczynski, “I generally hate to lose.  But this win and being able to make such a positive difference in a client’s life, at this time when the world seems utterly upside down, feels pretty amazing right now!”  Ms. Noll’s name does not appear on the briefs but she played a key supporting role throughout the process on behalf of her client.  “From the outset of the case, I advised Tracey that I was confident that the equities favored her and that we absolutely should win,” Ms. Noll shares.  “That said, as we kept peeling away the layers of this case, the novel theories offered by opposing counsel caused me some consternation, but were ultimately thwarted by keeping our focus on the ex-spouse’s direct violation of a court decree coupled with the balance of the equities being so strongly in Tracey’s favor.”  This was Ms. Davies’ first appellate work and first time “on brief,” so for now she is undefeated.  After acknowledging her perfect 1-0 appellate record, Ms. Davies said:

“As a second year associate I never dreamed I would be working on a Virginia Supreme Court case, in the middle of a global pandemic no less! It was an honor working alongside such talented attorneys and I could not be more thrilled for our client.”

Mr. Repczynski, Ms Noll, and Ms. Davies are available for consultation in situations of potentially competing life insurance policy claims or, at the drafting stage, to assist those trying to avoid such situations from arising.

ABOUT THOMAS REPCZYNSKI

Headshot of Thomas Repczynski, Principal at Offit Kurman's Tysons Corner office.

Mr. Repczynski is a Principal and Shareholder with Offit Kurman’s Commercial Litigation (South) Practice Group, focused on developing and expanding the firm’s Estates and Trusts Litigation practice area.  Tom’s practice emphasizes inheritance-related matters involving will/trust/insurance beneficiaries, executors, trustees, guardians, and attorneys-in-fact under Powers of Attorney and includes creditors’ rights enforcement, real estate litigation, and general commercial business disputes.  Tom routinely pursues, defends, and negotiates the broadest range of fiduciary proceedings pre- and post-judgment actions and workouts, and real-estate related disputes of all types (e.g. commercial leasing, title, inheritance, etc.).

ABOUT ALISON NOLL

Alison Noll headshot 1

Alison K. Noll primarily focuses her practice on tax and estate planning, trust and estate administration, real estate matters, and premarital and postmarital agreements. She assists individuals and families, including many small business owners, with the preparation of comprehensive estate plans, including all types of revocable and irrevocable trusts, each specifically tailored to her client’s individual needs. Ms. Noll regularly counsels executors, trustees, and beneficiaries with navigating the complex maze of probate, trust administration, and fiduciary litigation matters. She also advises business owners, from formation and corporate governance to business succession planning. In conjunction with her representation of businesses and individuals, she frequently counsels clients on real estate matters, her expertise having developed in conjunction with her background as counsel to title companies.

ABOUT ALYSSA DAVIES

Alyssa Davies Headshot 2

Alyssa Davies is an attorney in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Davies maintains a general civil practice where she handles a wide variety of litigation matters.

Ms. Davies has experience representing both individuals and large corporations in litigating complex business and civil disputes, representing clients in breach of contract, fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we focus on furthering our clients’ objectives and provide timely services and within budget, all while focusing on the clients’ interests and goals.

Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States. With over 230 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well-positioned to meet dynamic businesses' needs, as well as the needs of the people who own and operate them. We also provide representation of individuals and families in diverse matters ranging from estate planning and asset protection to intellectual property structuring and entrepreneurial start-ups. Our International Group provides clients with a broad range of services for transactions and dispute representation for clients worldwide, including Europe, Canada, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

At Offit Kurman, we distinguish ourselves by the quality, breadth, and global reach of our legal services — as well as our unique operational structure, which encourages a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The same approach that makes our firm attractive to legal practitioners interested in representing clients in the middle market, also gives clients access to experienced counsel in almost every area of the law and in many jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad

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