U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Standard Ins. Co. v. Morrison, No. 08-35246

In an action claiming that a state's practice of disapproving insurance policies with clauses vesting discretion in insurers violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), summary judgment for defendant-state insurance commissioner is affirmed where: 1) the state's bar on discretionary clauses addresses an insurance-specific problem, because discretionary clauses generally do not exist outside of insurance plans; and 2) the commissioner's practice merely alters the terms by which the presence or absence of the insured contingency is determined; and 3) thus, the state regulatory scheme was saved from preemption under 29 U.S.C. section 1144(a) by the savings clause in section 1144(b).

Read Standard Ins. Co. v. Morrison, No. 08-35246

Appellate Information

Argued and Submitted June 3, 2009

Filed October 27, 2009


Opinion by Judge O'Scannlain


For Appellant:

Meir Feder, Phineas E. Leahey, Shawn Hanson, Katherine Ritchey, Jones Day, LLP, New York, NY

For Appellee:

James G. Hunt, Hunt Law Firm, Helena, MT