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John C. Holmes

Mr. Holmes is a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Barger & Wolen. His practice focuses on complex litigation involving all aspects of the business of insurance, including sales, trade and business practices, claims handling practices, reinsurance, trade secrets, insolvency, and inter-company disputes. He has litigated these matters in a variety of contexts, such as federal and state class actions, federal multidistrict litigation, arbitrations, administrative hearings, and market conduct examinations. His clients include life, health, property-casualty, and mortgage guaranty insurers, as well as securities broker-dealers and registered investment advisors. 

Mr. Holmes’ insurance and financial industry experience includes:

  • Class action, individual, and FINRA litigation alleging lack of suitability and deceptive sales practices, including failures to disclose, misrepresentations, and pretense interviews and other regulatory violations in the sale of life insurance, annuity, and long term care products.
  • Class action litigation concerning insurer’s premium charges, including vanishing premium, DAC Tax, gap premium, reinstatement charge, cost of insurance charge, and experience rating claims.
  • Litigation in court and before FINRA arising from outside business activities and selling away by agents and registered representatives, including unauthorized sales of annuities, securities, and pension plans.
  • Insurance regulatory investigations and litigation with the California Department of Insurance and California Attorney General’s Office concerning alleged claims handling, premium setting, underwriting and licensing violations. 
  • Class action and FINRA litigation brought by agents and registered representatives over commissions, production requirements, and other aspects of their relationships with their principals.

Representative Cases

  • Represented Knox-Keene Act health plan and affiliated health insurer in a California Attorney General investigation into their claim handling, premium setting, and plan transfer policies and practices. 
  • Represented health insurer in California Department of Insurance market conduct examination into claims handling and rescission practices, including defending the Department’s ensuing administrative enforcement action. 
  • Represented the charitable foundation in the Bernard Madoff liquidation proceedings (SIPC v. Bernard L Madoff Investor Services) to establish “customer” status and entitlement to SIPC for each participant in the foundation’s investment pool.
  • Defended workers’ compensation insurer in class action alleging failure to warn of effects of anniversary rating date changes on experience modification factors and premiums. 
  • Defended health insurer in class action challenging different copay amounts applicable to brand and generic drugs.
  • Defended life insurer in class action alleging that, upon reinstating lapsed insurance certificates under group policies, it improperly collects and retains premiums attributable to the period of lapse during which no coverage was provided. 
  • Defended life insurer in class actions alleging failure to pay death benefits in connection with the Armenian Genocide and Pontic Greek Genocide in the Turkish Ottoman Empire. 
  • Defended life insurer in private attorney general proceeding challenging its sales, rating and underwriting practices in its long term care insurance business. 
  • Defended life insurer in a class action brought by its senior agents/registered representatives challenging changes in production requirements and compensation. 
  • Defended several life insurers in private attorney general proceedings challenging their underwriting restrictions on, and rates charged to, individuals who travel to countries on the U.S State Department’s list of unsafe countries. 
  • Defended workers’ compensation insurers in separate Section 17200/bad faith reserving and experience modifier inflation cases. 
  • Defended life insurer in class action alleging misleading marketing of and failure to pay benefits under spousal benefit riders. 
  • Defended several life insurer’s in separate class actions alleging unlawful “gap premium” charges. 
  • Defended life insurer in FINRA arbitration proceedings brought by agents contesting the control of, and commissions flowing from, county governmental deferred compensation plan. 
  • Defended liability insurer against over $40 million in claims in the Puerto Rico federal court multidistrict litigation that resulted from the 1986 New Year’s Eve fire at the San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel. Case settled for $75,000.00 on remand after appellate review of summary judgment in client’s favor. 
  • Defended liability insurer in federal multidistrict litigation arising out of the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.  American National and Great American insured Lincoln Savings and its parent, American Continental Corporation, as well as their officers and directors.  We obtained judgments finding no coverage against all insureds. 

Education

  • University of Southern California School of Law, J.D., 1985
    Hale Moot Court Honors Program (1983-1984)
  • University of California, San Diego, B.A., Political Science, with minors in Biology and History, 1981

Articles & Publications

  • Identifying and Using Insurance Coverage in Business Litigation, California Continuing Education of the Bar (1998)
  • Insurer Insolvency, California Insurance Law and Practice (Matthew Bender 1990)
  • Delinquency Proceedings, California Law of Life Insurance (Assoc. of Life Insurance Counsel 1990)
  • Issuance of Insurance Policies, California Insurance Law and Practice (Matthew Bender 1986)

Professional Memberships

  • The State Bar of California
    Business Law and Litigation Sections
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
    Healthcare Law Section
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