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Procedural Posture

Appellant corporation sought review of a decision of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which sustained respondent agency’s demurrer without leave to amend, on appellant’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims, and granted respondent agency’s motion for summary judgment on appellant’s fraud claim arguing preemption pursuant to ERISA, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001, et seq.

California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. is a California Labor Attorney

Overview

Appellant corporation purchased insurance from respondent agency that allegedly made material misrepresentations to respondent insurer that in the application process. Respondent insurer cancelled coverage and filed a claim against appellant. Appellant filed cross-complaints against respondents. The claims between appellant and respondent insurer were disposed of via motions for summary judgment. Respondent agency’s demurrer to appellant’s claims was granted, except for as to fraud, and respondent agency’s subsequent motion for summary judgment on appellant’s fraud claim was granted. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded, with directions to sustain appellant agency’s demurrer with leave to amend and to deny the motion for summary judgment. Appellant’s claims for negligence and negligent misrepresentation were sufficiently specific to apprise respondent agency of the issues and thus stated causes of actions. Further, respondent agency was not entitled to summary judgment on appellant’s fraud claim because the effect of appellant’s claim was too tenuous, peripheral, and remote to invoke the preemption provisions of ERISA, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001, et seq.

Outcome

The court reversed and remanded with directions to sustain appellant agency’s demurrer with leave to amend and to deny the motion for summary judgment, because appellant’s negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims were sufficiently specific to state causes of action, and the effect of appellant’s fraud claim was too tenuous, peripheral, and remote to invoke ERISA preemption.


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