A North Carolina jury awarded Skufca Law client, Malcolm Wiener, an $8 million verdict on Thursday, September 10, 2020. Mr. Wiener claimed AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. failed to adhere to the industry standard of care in reviewing and assessing his medical records and subsequently providing incorrect information regarding his health and medical history to the Medical Information Bureau, a company that provides health and medical history information to member life insurance companies who provide 90-95% of the life insurance business in the United States. Mr. Wiener made his medical records available to AXA in the course of an insurance reinstatement process and claimed that the erroneous conditions and history reported by AXA prevented him from obtaining life insurance from other companies.
Skufca Law Attorney Kerry Traynum was lead counsel for Mr. Wiener, who sued AXA in North Carolina state court in January 2018. AXA subsequently removed the case to the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. dismissed three of Mr. Wiener’s claims in June 2020, but allowed his negligence claim to proceed to trial based on his allegation that AXA’s actions in reviewing and assessing his medical records and reporting its conclusions to the Medical Information Bureau did not meet industry standards. The trial was held in Statesville, North Carolina and is believed to be one of the first federal civil jury trials to be held in the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the jurors agreed with Mr. Wiener and awarded him an $8 million verdict.
This was an incredible result for our client, and a unique opportunity to experience a jury trial during the COVID-19 pandemic for Attorney Kerry Traynum, his team at Skufca Law, and his trial co-counsel, Kathi Lucchesi and Alexandra O’Neill.
The case is Wiener v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co, case number 3:18-cv-00106, in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of North Carolina.