Partners Bob Bragalone and Soña Garcia secured a complete dismissal of all claims for the firm's client, a national insurance company, in a case filed in the Western District of Oklahoma.
A widow sued for improper denial of a life insurance claim following the death of her husband. The policy contained an exclusion for benefits for death by suicide within two years of the issuance date whether the insured was “sane or insane”. The plaintiff retained two experts to argue that the death was due to a severe motorcycle accident that occurred 7 months earlier; claiming the accident caused PTSD, altered the decedent’s mental health, and resulted in chronic pain.
The plaintiff’s experts, a pharmacologist and forensic psychologist, argued that the suicide was caused by the motorcycle accident and that the true cause of death was accidental. The plaintiff also had the medical examiner officially amend the death certificate to identify the motorcycle accident as a contributing cause of death. Bragalone and Garcia moved for summary judgment and moved to strike the plaintiff’s experts.
Only ten days after the motions became ripe, Western District of Oklahoma Judge Stephen Friot granted the firm's motion to strike in part and the motion for summary judgment in full, resulting in a complete dismissal of all claims.