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    The Lawletter Blog

    Amy Gore

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    INSURANCE: Automatic Revocation of Beneficiary upon Divorce

    Posted by Amy Gore on Mon, Nov 12, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 43 No 6

    Amy Gore—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The area of presumed intent in the designation of life insurance policies has long been a source of dispute and litigation. When a state legislature enacts statutes that address an automatic revocation of insurance beneficiary status under particular circumstances, additional litigation is likely to result. Such was the case in Sveen v. Melin, 138 S. Ct. 1815, 1817 (2018). There, a couple were married in 1997 and the following year the named insured designated his wife as the primary beneficiary under his life insurance policy, and his two children from a prior marriage as contingent beneficiaries. The couple divorced in 2007, and the divorce decree never addressed the disposition of the life insurance policy or the rights of the contingent beneficiaries. Upon the named insured's death in 2011, both the wife and the two children made competing claims for the entire proceeds.

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    Topics: insurance policy, designation of beneficiary, revocation after divorce, right to contract, legislative presumption, presumed intent

    TORTS:  Expanding Virginia's Anti-SLAPP Legislation

    Posted by Amy Gore on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 @ 15:04 PM

    The Lawletter Vol. 43 No. 2

    Amy Gore, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         The Virginia General Assembly has extended a grant of immunity from liability for certain otherwise defamatory statements in an amendment to Va. Code § 8.01-223.2 (Westlaw 2018).  Previously, the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute extended immunity to claims for tortious interference with contract and similar theories when brought over a statement made at a public hearing or similar proceeding.  Such statements were subject to an immunity defense unless uttered with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of falsity.  The amendment makes two significant changes.

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    Topics: tort law, Anti-SLAPP legislation, tortious interference with contract, statutory immunity, defamation

    ATTORNEY AND CLIENT: Attorneys Must Preserve Confidential Information While Executing Judgment for Fees

    Posted by Amy Gore on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 4

    Amy Gore, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

              Most attorneys encounter situations in which a client does not pay the legal fees due and owing. There may, or may not, be a dispute over services rendered. Every state bar association has some form of fee dispute resolution program, yet some clients do not participate, leaving the attorney few options. At some point it becomes evident that the attorney-client relationship has terminated and the relationship with the prior client becomes adversarial in nature. The question thus arises: If the attorney pursues an action against the client to recover the fee, and obtains a judgement against a former client, may the attorney disclose confidential information obtained during the course of the representation while seeking to execute on that judgment?

              Model Rule 1.6(b) allows an attorney to disclose information to "establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client; to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved; or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer's representation of the client."

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    Topics: attorney-client, executing judgment for fees, preserving confidential information

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