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.


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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law, 2019
  • 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


  • Master Dealmakers: Taking Your Negotiation Skills to the Win-Win Level; March 1, 2019
  • 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
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Advanced Mediation Training – July 25 & 26, 2012
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Basic Mediation Training – December 5, 2011
  • Various MCLE courses in Mediation & Negotiation Skills
  • Los Angeles Superior Court Mediation Training


  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel (2018-2020);
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Attorney Settlement Officer Panel (2011-Present)
  • Board of Governors, Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County (2018-2022)
  • Los Angeles County Beach Commission: Chair (2017); Member (2015-Present)
  • UCLA Law Women LEAD: Founding Board Member (2015-Present); Summit Co-Chair (2019)
  • 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


  • Plaintiff health plan company alleged that defendants unlawfully “scraped” data from its server, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other personal information of plaintiff’s customers, and used the information to induce those customers to switch to another health plan. Plaintiff sought damages for remediation of the data breach.
  • Plaintiff claimed that defendant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by calling her at her home 309 times in a four month period after she had revoked her consent for any such calls. Defendant asserted several defenses, including estoppel based on a previous arbitration between Plaintiff and her credit card company that resulted in a dismissal of her claim. Defendant also contended that Plaintiff consented to the calls, that any revocation of consent was made to a third party and not communicated to Defendant, and that the calls were not made from an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”), as required by the TCPA.
  • Plaintiff claimed that his former cable company and a collection agency violated various fair debt collection practices statutes. Plaintiff sought statutory damages and actual damages, including attorneys’ fees and damages for emotional distress. Plaintiff claimed his credit rating was harmed when the collection agency represented that he had defaulted on a debt, which the cable company assured him he did not owe.
  • 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.

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  • Class action against life insurer claiming discrimination in underwriting for life insurance policies based on travel to Israel
  • Class action against disability insurer alleging improper offset of Workers Compensation benefits under ERISA
  • Class action against disability insurer claiming improper offset of Workers Compensation benefits under California law
  • Class action against disability insurer alleging improper offset of Social Security disability benefits under ERISA
  • Class actions against health insurers for unlawful premium increases
  • Class action against health insurer for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to provide benefits for weight loss surgery
  • Antitrust class action against cement and concrete manufacturers for alleged price-fixing in violation of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act
  • Class action against disability insurer alleging discrimination in disability insurance policies which limit the duration of benefits payable for mental illness

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  • Class action suit against health insurer by insurer’s sales agents claiming that they are employees, not independent contractors and are therefore entitled to overtime pay, sick pay, vacations, and other employee benefits
  • Sexual harassment of female employee by male supervisor while employee was on disability leave
  • Sexual harassment of male employee by female supervisor
  • Sexual harassment of male employee by male supervisor
  • Wrongful failure to promote- Caucasian employee claimed her Filipino supervisor discriminated against her and favored Filipino employees
  • Wrongful termination for whistleblowing
  • Violation of employee ‘s 1st Amendment rights where employee was required to remove a sign he had placed in the window next to his desk at his place of employment
  • Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to preclude other employees from wearing perfume, using scented soap, and maintaining an office temperature of 78 degrees due to employee’s allergies
  • Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failure to grant employee a transfer to an office closer to her home
  • Suits by insurance agents claiming that they are employees, not independent contractors
  • Class action for improper offset of Workers Compensation Benefits against employee’s long term disability benefits
  • Suit for violation of Americans with Disabilities Act and for discrimination against employee based on her morbid obesity
  • Disputes over entitlement to employee’s pension benefits after divorce
  • Wrongful termination claim by disabled employee

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  • Class action lawsuit filed by participants in their employer’s pension and profit-sharing plan alleging that Plan fiduciaries violated ERISA by unlawfully diverting Plan assets to the employer in the guise of administrative fees and failure to prudently invest Plan assets in one of the funds in the Plan.
  • Plaintiff filed suit under ERISA to recover additional long-term disability benefits and for breach of fiduciary duties under ERISA and declaratory relief. Defendant asserted that Plaintiff’s claim for benefits under ERISA was barred by the two-year contractual limitation period in the Policy and that Plaintiff was no longer disabled from “any reasonable occupations.”
  • Plaintiff class of pension and profit-sharing plan participants claimed that their former employer charged excessive fees to the plan for the work done by the employer’s investment professionals and benefits department employees, the employer made imprudent investments for the plan, and the employer’s fiduciary committees breached their fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions.
  • 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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  • Outpatient surgical center sued health insurer for alleged underpayment of claims under ERISA. Insurer asserted various defenses, including statue of limitations, failure to exhaust administrative remedies under ERISA, lack of standing due to anti-assignment provisions in health plans, and that all benefits due under the contracts were paid.
  • 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.


  • Plaintiff’s wife purchased a $500,000 life insurance policy and represented on the application that she had not smoked cigarettes during the 24 months before the application. She did not disclose that she had been treated for gestational diabetes. She died suddenly at the age of 38, leaving behind her husband (the beneficiary) and two young children. The insurance company denied her husband’s claim for the life insurance benefits and rescinded the policy, claiming that the insured misrepresented her smoking history and her medical history in her application. Plaintiff sued for breach of contract and bad faith.
  • Plaintiffs sued their former homeowner's insurance company seeking coverage for claims against them by the buyer of their home for negligence, negligent non-disclosure, and breach of contract for failure to disclose numerous water leaks and unsuccessful attempts to repair the leaks. The insurer denied coverage, and the buyer obtained an arbitration award against the sellers. The sellers sued their former insurer for breach of the duty to defend, breach of the duty to indemnify, and bad faith.
  • Plaintiff Estate sued for fraud, conspiracy to defraud, financial elder abuse, violation of Insurance Code section 785, and violation of Business and Professions Code section 17200, in connection with an alleged schedule to sell annuities to a senior, and assist him in transferring assets to a trust in order to become eligible for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits. The Veterans Administration later determined that the decedent was ineligible for the benefits and filed a claim against the estate for all benefits paid.
  • Plaintiff sued to recover benefits under an accidental death policy insuring her daughter. Her daughter died of a pulmonary embolism shortly after she collapsed while getting off a plane in Taipei after a 14-hour flight. Plaintiff claimed that her death was a covered accident. Defendant insurance company denied the claim on the basis that there was no accident and the death resulted from a sickness or disease, which was excluded from coverage. Plaintiff also sued bad faith and financial elder abuse.
  • Outpatient surgical center sued health insurer for alleged underpayment of claims under ERISA. Insurer asserted various defenses, including statue of limitations, failure to exhaust administrative remedies under ERISA, lack of standing due to anti-assignment provisions in health plans, and that all benefits due under the contracts were paid.
  • 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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  • Personal injury action against insurer for sales agent’s fistfight with applicant for insurance
  • Personal injury action against insurer for traumatic brain injury sustained when a sales agent’s car struck a pedestrian
  • Personal injury action against insurer for injuries sustained on a cruise that sales agent was awarded for being a top sales agent


“Margaret Levy did a great job. We would consider her for future matters.”

“Maggie was great! She did a great job of trying to settle a case that was unlikely to settle.”

“Ms. Levy was personable and professional and was able to settle a difficult case to the parties’ satisfaction. Would use her again in a heartbeat.”


Articles / Publications