Margaret Levy, Esq.

Profile

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Margaret Levy, Esq. has more than 40 years of civil trial and appellate litigation experience handling complex business and contract disputes, with an emphasis on life, health, disability, and long term care insurance, bad faith cases, and ERISA litigation. Ms. Levy has extensive mediation experience, having served as a mediator and settlement officer for the United States District Court for the Central District of California and for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Insurance (First Party and Third Party Bad Faith)
  • Insurance (Life, Health, Disability, Long Term Care)
  • ERISA
  • Healthcare
  • Business/Contracts
  • Class Actions

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (1996-2018)
    Partner and Co-Chair of the Insurance Industry Practice Group: litigated insurance bad faith and ERISA cases, focusing on life, health, disability, accidental death and long-term care insurance lawsuits; lead trial counsel in more than 25 jury trials and court trials; participated in hundreds of mediations and settlement conferences.
  • United States District Court, Central District of California, Mediator (2011-Present)
  • Los Angeles Superior Court, Settlement Officer (1988-2009)
  • Adams, Duque & Hazeltine (1975-1996)

EDUCATION

  • University of California at Los Angeles, J.D., 1975
    UCLA Law Review; UCLA Moot Court Honors Program
  • Michigan State University, B.A., with highest honors, 1972
    Honors College; National Merit Scholar

HONORS AND AWARDS

  • The Best Lawyers in America (Insurance), 2008-2018
  • Southern California Super Lawyer, 2003-2016
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, Top Women, 2016
  • Inner City Law Center Humanitarian Award, 2013
  • Top 100 Women Litigators in California, 2009

DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING

  • Various MCLE courses in Mediation & Negotiation Skills
  • Los Angeles Superior Court Mediation Training
  • Bi-Monthly U.S. District Court Mediation Practice Group: 2017 – 2018
  • Advanced Mediation Training – May 15, 2014; April 30, 2015 (“Why Are We Doing This?”); May 2, 2016 (“Making Money Talk: Mediating the Settlement of Monetary Disputes); July 31,2017; September 26, 2018
  • Cross-Cultural Issues in Mediation: What Is Culture, Does It Affect Negotiation in Mediation, and How Can Mediators Use It to Improve the Process and the Outcome? – November 28, 2017
  • Locating the Trust Zone in Multicultural Conflicts – A Mediator’s Guide – November 14, 2016
  • Mediation Confidentiality: An Inappropriate Shield Against Legal Malpractice Claims or An Essential Element of Effective Dispute Resolution? – September 15, 2016
  • Counterintuitive Mediation – June 29, 2016
  • Mediation: Getting the Job Done – November 18, 2015
  • Multi-Cultural & Communication Issue Affecting Mediation – March 28, 2014
  • Advanced Mediation Training – April 28, 2014
  • Mediation Ethics and Confidentiality – October 16, 2014
  • The Psychology of Litigation – December 7, 2012
  • Cross-Cultural Challenges in Mediation – November 9, 2012
  • US. District Court for the Central District of California: Advanced Mediation Training – July 25 & 26, 2012
  • US. District Court for the Central District of California: Basic Mediation Training – December 5, 2011

MEMBERSHIPS AND ACTIVITIES

  • US. District Court for the Central District of California: Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel (2018-2020);
  • US. District Court for the Central District of California: Attorney Settlement Officer Panel (2011-Present)
  • Los Angeles County Beach Commission: Chair (2017); Member (2015-Present)
  • UCLA Law Women LEAD: Founding Board Member (2015-Present)
  • Lawyer Representative from the Central District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2014-2017)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers: Member (1976-Present); Board of Governors (1996-2001)
  • UCLA Women and Philanthropy: Board of Directors (1995-2000), (2014-Present)
  • Uncommon Good: Board of Directors (2014-Present)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles: Member (1976-2000), (2014-2017)
  • Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium: Advisory Board (2004-2017)
  • Inner City Law Center: Board of Advisors (2014-Present); Board of Directors (1994-2013)
  • Association of Life Insurance Counsel: Board of Governors (2009-2013); Member (2002-2017)
  • UCLA School of Law Alumni Association: Board of Directors (2000-2003)
  • American Bar Association: Tort and Insurance Practice Section (1980-2014), Long Range Planning Committee (1995-1998), Task Force on the Involvement of Women (1991-1993); Life Insurance Law Committee Vice-Chair (1997-2003); Committee on Health Insurance Law Chair (1994-1995)
  • Defense Research Institute’s Life, Health and Disability Law Committee: Member (1989-2017); Vice-Chair (2001-2004)
  • Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies Roundtable: Attendee (2008-2016)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association: Litigation Section (1976-2017); Access to Justice Committee (1989-2014); Judiciary Committee (1989-2003)
  • Los Angeles Superior Court Voluntary Settlement Conference Program: Participant (2009)
  • California Supreme Court: Multijurisdictional Task Force Implementation Committee (2002-2004)
  • California Supreme Court Historical Society: Board of Directors (1998-2004)
  • Los Angeles Superior Court Joint Association Settlement Officer Program: Participant (1988-2000)
  • Public Counsel: President, Board of Directors (1993-1994); William O. Douglas Award Dinner Co-Chair (1993)
  • Board of Police Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles: Counsel to Office of the Special Advisor (1992)

Representative Cases

INSURANCE

  • Insurance bad faith lawsuit for denial of long term disability benefits, failure to reasonably accommodate plaintiff employee in a new position, and wrongful termination.
  • Insurance bad faith termination of long term disability benefits based on the mental illness limitation in a long term disability policy and dispute over whether the disability was a mental or physical illness.
  • Bad faith lawsuit for improper offsets of Social Security benefits against long term disability benefits and denial of short term disability benefits.
  • Insurance coverage dispute over claim for water intrusion that allegedly occurred during high winds and a rain storm at a sound stage and post production studio including whether policy exclusions for defective maintenance, age-related deterioration, wear and tear, and failure to mitigate damages barred coverage under the Policy.
  • Claim for bad faith denial of long term care benefits and financial elder abuse arising from the denial of a claim for benefits under a long term care policy where the issue was whether the claimant satisfied the policy definition of a “Chronically Ill Individual.”
  • Insurance bad faith action for denial of claim for property damage to rental property from vandalism.
  • Interpleader action regarding a dispute between the insured’s children and the insured’s spouse (the children’s stepfather) over entitlement to life insurance benefits.
  • Suit to recover additional retirement benefits under a retiree supplemental health plan.

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ERISA

  • ERISA claim by union trust fund against contractor for case unpaid contributions to union member benefit plans under collective bargaining agreement.
  • ERISA action for unpaid contributions to union trust funds identified through an audit.
  • ERISA claim for denial of short term and long term disability benefits under an employee benefit plan based on the exclusion for disability due to mental illness and whether the insured was totally disabled from any occupation.
  • ERISA class actions against a defense contractor for alleged excessive fees charged to the defense contractor’s pension and profit sharing plans.
  • Collection actions under ERISA seeking recovery of delinquent employee benefit plan contributions to union trust funds pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.
  • ERISA lawsuit by union pension trust fund against contractor seeking recovery of fringe benefit contributions.

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HEALTHCARE

  • Multiple lawsuits by medical providers against health insurers regarding re-pricing reductions for payments to out of network health care providers.
  • Multiple lawsuits by the federal government against medical providers for reimbursement of fraudulent billings for unnecessary medical services under Medicare for inpatient admissions of Medicare beneficiaries for whom inpatient care was not medically necessary.

BUSINESS / BREACH OF CONTRACT

  • Lawsuit for injunctive and equitable relief under the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodities Exchange Act in connection with fraudulent solicitation of customers for purposes of operating a commodity pool to trade commodity futures contracts on their behalf.
  • Lawsuit for breach of commercial contract to purchase iron ore and unjustifiable shipping delays.
  • Suits by union trust funds against contractors for failure to pay required contributions pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Action to recover losses under investment scheme for international real estate investments involving placing funds in off shore bank accounts.