Jason Walters is a life, health and disability insurance litigator, serving as lead counsel for multiple Fortune 500 insurance and financial services companies in class actions, individual litigation, and arbitration. Jason’s experience runs the gamut. He has defended cases involving all types of life insurance, annuities, long-term disability, cancer, critical illness, long-term care, and major medical insurance policies, including actions involving group policies governed by ERISA. He regularly defends cases with claims of bad faith, fraud, agent theft, violation of consumer protection statutes, annuity suitability, breach of fiduciary duty, ERISA violations, rescission, and, of course, breach of contract. In addition, Jason regularly represents clients in matters involving STOLI and other insurable interest issues. He has also litigated disputes with agents and insurance marketing organizations, many of which involve claims of significant damages for lost profits. When his life insurance clients have been denied professional liability coverage, he has brought claims for breach of contract and bad faith against the carriers, achieving significant victories and creating new law in his clients’ favor. Having litigated in some 30 states, the depth and breadth of Jason’s unique experience permits him to economically represent life and health insurance companies in any type of case in any jurisdiction.
Jason is also actively involved in insurance industry organizations. He currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC). Jason also belongs to the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and the DRI Life, Health and Disability Committee. Jason regularly attends meetings of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and has been a frequent speaker at such events.
Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Insurance Coverage, 2016-2018 Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers "Rising Star," 2011 "Rising Star," Insurance Coverage, 2012 Insurance Coverage, 2014-2015 Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® Commercial Litigation, 2015-2022 Insurance Law, 2015-2022 Listed in Birmingham Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40," 2015 Obtained dismissal of putative nationwide ERISA class action filed in Kentucky on motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) pertaining to our client’s alleged improper calculation of long-term disability benefits. The court adopted our client’s interpretation of the policy pertaining to offsetting income from any occupation against plaintiff’s own occupation benefits. The court also agreed with our client’s argument that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to additional claims he asserted. The dismissal was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Obtained an early resolution in a high-profile dispute in Montana that garnered national attention and was featured prominently in a report by the New York Times. The case involved a sympathetic elderly plaintiff who filed a bad faith action against the company for the alleged failure to pay benefits under her long-term care policy. With copious attention in recent years to the long- term care industry, this early resolution allowed our client to avoid any further negative press. Obtained a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act and unjust enrichment in a nationwide class action stemming from the company’s alleged failure to comply with the provisions of its long-term care policies. With no evidence to support plaintiff’s remaining claim for breach of contract, the case was dismissed in its entirety within six months of filing. Four policyholders and an agent brought a nationwide class action in Arkansas federal court alleging that the company endorsed and required agents to use false and misleading sales scripts. Defeated plaintiffs’ attempt to obtain documents in an ongoing Department of Insurance investigation and succeeded in having the matter transferred to Illinois. As a result of the transfer and our aggressive pursuit of discovery, the class representatives ultimately agreed to dismiss the matter. Successfully reached a settlement in a nationwide class action in which plaintiffs alleged our client offered replacement life insurance policies with fewer benefits and at a greater cost. The settlement enabled the class of more than 28,000 policyholders to revert to their original policies but did not provide monetary damages. In addition, we were able to reach a global settlement with plaintiffs’ counsel in more than 75 opt-out cases brought in Alabama, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Defended an annuity suitability case filed in El Paso by a member of a Texas family who won approximately $145 million in the Texas lottery. Plaintiff alleged various misrepresentations in connection with the sale of several large annuities. Obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in Austin, Texas, arising out of the alleged wrongful termination of a $2.4 million life insurance policy owned by a life settlement company. Plaintiff sought both contractual and extra-contractual damages stemming from our client’s alleged failure to issue a grace notice. After deliberating for 20 minutes, the jury returned a defense verdict. Obtained affirmance from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals of summary judgment entered by the district court on plaintiff’s ERISA claims for long-term disability benefits. The notable holdings in the case included the court’s finding that its review should be constrained to the administrator’s final decision (as opposed to intermediate determinations), that the insurer’s reliance on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles was reasonable, and that the insurer’s structural conflict of interest did not render its decision arbitrary and capricious. Represented life insurer before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a Louisiana trial court entered an adverse summary judgment ruling involving coverage under a $2 million life insurance policy. The dispute concerned the interpretation of a century-old Louisiana statute addressing the notice requirements for the lapsation of life insurance policies. The district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiff. Following oral argument, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment and rendered judgment in favor of our client. Due to the importance of the issues involved, the ACLI submitted an amicus brief. Successfully represented life insurer in an action filed in Indiana against an E&O carrier arising out of the denial of vicarious liability coverage for a series of claims made by policyholders regarding the sale of policies by an agent in North Carolina. After the liability carrier filed an answer, we moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The court granted the motion in favor of our client, ruling as a matter of law that the policy provided coverage. Following the trial courts’ denial of our client’s motions to compel arbitration in several fraud cases filed across the State of Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed, rejecting a laundry list of arguments against arbitration and adopting our client’s arguments in full for why arbitration must be compelled. Obtained affirmance of summary judgment by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case filed in Maryland by a chiropractor arising out of the termination of long-term disability benefits under an individual disability policy. The district court had ruled that the plaintiff¹s claims were barred, in part, by the statute of limitations. The trial court had further held that the plaintiff¹s refusal to attend an independent medical examination relieved the insurer of the obligation to continue paying benefits. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment, adopting our client’s argument that the plaintiff’s entire claim was time-barred. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of life insurer in an Arkansas case where plaintiffs alleged breach of multiple insurance contracts by treating payments as loans, thereby allegedly miscalculating the values of the policies. In addition to breach of contract claims, the case involved allegations of fraud, bad faith, and deceptive trade practices. Obtained an affirmance of the district court ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Won summary judgment on all claims, including promissory fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent suppression, negligence, wantonness and quantum meruit, in a case in which several agents alleged, among other things, that our client had made various misrepresentations in connection with the rollout of a new universal life insurance product. Won summary judgment for life insurer in Palm Beach County, Florida, in a case involving claims that insurer wrongfully rescinded a whole life insurance policy issued on the plaintiff’s mother. Obtained summary judgment in Alabama state court in bad faith case involving the payment of annuity benefits. Won summary judgment in the Northern District of Georgia in a case involving allegations of bad faith against our life insurance client for the failure to pay benefits upon the death of the plaintiff’s mother. Obtained the dismissal of all claims asserted by the plaintiff, including breach of contract, fraud, bad faith and negligent misrepresentation, relating to the administration of a long-term care policy. The case was litigated in the Southern District of Georgia.