William Wayne Palmer

William Wayne Palmer: Attorney with Palmer Law Group
  • Attorney at Palmer Law Group (1 Attorney)
  • 2443 Fair Oaks Boulevard, No. 545, Sacramento, CA 95825
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    4.8/5.0 (8)
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Attorney Awards


Administrative Regulations: Mr. Palmer served as the General Counsel (or lead attorney) on insurance and later Chief of Staff for the California Department of Insurance, which is the government agency that regulates insurance in the State of California. Mr. Palmer re-worked the Unfair Claims Regulations with senior staff counsel from the California Department of Insurance to become the "Fair Claims Regulations." The Fair Claims Regulations (Cal. Code Regs. Tit. 10, ยง 2695.1 (1995)), guide and control the timing, payment, and grievance resolution of property casualty insurance claims in the State of California. California is the largest insurance market in the United States of America and controls 20-25% of the insurance business of this country. Mr. Palmer authored a law review article, which was published and may be found at: William W. Palmer, "Proposed Unfair Claims Regulations" (1996) 36 Santa Clara Law Review 687, which explains the operation of the Fair Claims Regulations.

Unclaimed Property Law and Litigation: Mr. Palmer prevailed in a series of federal cases that challenge the Constitutionality of California's Unclaimed Property Law. These cases challenge California's mishandling of public and private funds. The litigation resulted in the issuance of a federal injunction for violations of the United States Constitution that forced the California Legislature to rewrite and to "reform" the California Code of Civil Procedure sections 1300, et seq. Which was then signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on August 23, 2007.

See for example, Mr. Palmer's published decisions in: Suever v. Westly, 439 F. 3d 1142 (9th Cir. 2006) (" Suever I "); Taylor v. Westly 402 F.3d 924 (9th Cir. 2005) (Kleinfeld, J.), reh'g denied, reh'g en banc denied ___ F.3d ___ (May 13, 2005) (" Taylor I ") (The Ninth Circuit denied the Controller's petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc with the added comment that the panel circulated the petition to all the 58-judges of the Ninth Circuit and "not a single judge" wished to rehear the case); Taylor v. Westly, 488 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 2007) (" Taylor II ") (Directing the District Court to enter a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from accepting property under color of the UPL until Controller satisfies Due Process Clause.); see also, Taylor v. Westly, Order Re: Preliminary Injunction, No. Civ. 01-2407 WBS (E.D. Cal. June 1, 2007) (Enjoining the California Controller from taking possession of or title to any additional property under color of the Unclaimed Property Law until the Court has approved regulations satisfying the Due Process Clause in accordance with directive of Taylor II); Taylor v. Westly, Consolidated Appeals 07-16902 and 07-2 January 14, 2016 17223, Slip Op. at 5313-14, published as 525 F.3d 1288, 1291 (9th Cir. May 12, 2008) (" Taylor III ") (This decision awarded Mr. Palmer's law firm all of its interim fees for the 7 years' of work on the Taylor case); Taylor v. Chiang, 405 F. App'x 167 (9th Cir. 2010)(" Taylor IV "); Taylor v. Yee U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 15-169; Suever v. Westly, 579 F.3d 1047, 1057 (9th Cir. 2009) (" Suever II "); Suever v. Connell, 484 F. App'x 187 (9th Cir. 2012) (" Suever III "); Suever v. Connell, 133 S. Ct. 1243, 185 L. Ed. 2d 178 (2013) (" Suever IV "); Harris, et. al. v. Westly (2004) 116 Cal. App. 4th 214; and see Fong v. Westly (2004) 117 Cal. App. 4th 841; Harris v. Verizon (2006) 141 Cal. App. 4th 573.

Mr. Palmer has successfully represented small and large businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, during Unclaimed Property audits conducted by the Controller.

Mr. Palmer prevailed in one of the leading published decisions involving shareholder stock rights during the Unclaimed Property transfer process in Vondjidis v. Hewlett Packard Corp. (2008) 168 Cal. App. 4th 921, affirmed and remanded by Supreme Court at 100 Cal. Rptr. 3d 447; see also Azure, Ltd. v. I-Flow Corp. (2009) 46 Cal. 4th at 1335-1336 (July 16, 2009) (Amicus Curiae or "friend of the court" brief filed).

Legal Work in Iraq: Mr. Palmer worked in Iraq during March - April 2006.

Additional Appearances in other Nations: In October 2015, Mr. Palmer was selected from a pool of applicants to act as a Senior Consultant to the United Nations in the South Pacific where he was responsible for drafting laws among several island nations. In addition to this project and his work in Iraq, Mr. Palmer has appeared and represented California and United States before the Governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, and China.

Mr. Palmer presented two papers on the financial structure and purpose of the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), and a second paper on predictions and improvements to California insurance underwriting at the International Catastrophic Insurance Seminar in Beijing, China. He was awarded with a commemorative gift for his participation by the Chinese government.

Holocaust Insurance Litigation and Reparations Treaties: Mr. Palmer wrote the "Fifteenth Annual International Law Symposium Nazi Gold and Other Assets of the Holocaust: What Happens Next?," 20, Whittier Law Review, 122 (1998). This law review article provides a detailed plan for the resolution of the life and property casualty insurance benefits owed to victims of the Holocaust atrocities and genocide. Mr. Palmer then wrote the Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for the State of California that created the funding mechanism for Senator Tom Hayden's-(D) Senate Bill 1530 (SB 1530) that allowed California to create the International Holocaust Commission. This piece of legislation, carried by Senator Hayden (D) along with several other Senators, was signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson (R). Amazingly, Sen. Hayden, who was known as an anti-war Activist during Vietnam, and Governor Wilson, a United States Marine who served in Vietnam, had not spoken with one another during Governor Wilson's entire term in office, but both supported this piece of legislation. Mr. Palmer was presented with the Governor's signing pen and the original legislation as a gift recognizing his work on creating the law.

The Holocaust Insurance reparations law, prepared by Mr. Palmer, was later endorsed by two United States Presidents, William (Bill) J. Clinton and George W. Bush. The law was later reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, and found to be constitutional in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (2003). Mr. Palmer worked in the United States and overseas in Europe, pro bono (at his cost), to implement SB 1530, and was later called as one of the lead witnesses in the AIA v. Garamendi case. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, thanked Mr. Palmer in a personal letter (dated May 2, 1999) recognizing the "determined efforts to achieve justice on the issue of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims."

Complex Life Insurance Litigation. In December 2014, Mr. Palmer prevailed in a large life insurance case involving a murder in Mexico. The case played out in Sacramento Superior (Probate) Court as well as the United States Eastern District Federal Court. Using California's "Slayer Statutes," Mr. Palmer prevailed in both venues, and settled the case for $2.3 million.

Restructuring of Lloyd's of London: Mr. Palmer was the attorney responsible for coordinating the litigation and restructuring of Lloyd's of London ($24 billion, approx.) that protected consumers and policyholders in California and the United States.See, for example, Mr. Palmer's appearance in the published decision of Allen v. Lloyd's of London, 94 F.3d 923 (4th Cir. 1996) (Held: The policies of the United States securities laws did not override the parties' choice of forum and law for resolving disputes; thus, the contractual provisions selecting the law of and a forum in the United Kingdom were enforced).

Mr. Palmer was presented with a small commemorative plate in London by Sir David Rowland, the Chairman of Lloyd's, who was later knighted by the Queen of England for his role in strengthening this famous syndicate of English companies. Mr. Palmer served in the United States as the lead attorney responsible for negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Corporations and the Department of Insurance in the Governor's Office that allowed each agency to oversee and regulate Lloyd's of London. Based primarily on his work on behalf of California and the United States, Mr. Palmer was presented with the flag flown over the State of Texas by the Insurance Commissioner of Texas, followed by a short meeting with the former Texas Governor and later President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Executive Life Insurance Company (ELIC): Mr. Palmer testified on behalf of the California Department of Insurance in American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396 (2003) (discussed below), and in Commissioner John Garamendi's case involving the Executive Life Insurance Company (ELIC) and a French investment consortium. The case resulted in roughly a $1 billion judgment following a jury trial on behalf of the ELIC policy holders and claimants.

California Homeowner's Insurance Market: Mr. Palmer worked on the restructuring of the private California Homeowner's Insurance Market and avoided its collapse by assisting (in a minor role) with the creation the California Earthquake Authority (or CEA), a $12 billion dollar, vertical and horizontally risk-layered, government/private sector business entity. Mr. Palmer received an award recognizing his work. Mr. Palmer presented a paper on the subject of the CEA to the Chinese Bank and Insurance Company in Beijing, China.

Demutualization of California's Largest Mutual Insurance Company: Mr. Palmer was responsible for leading California's legal team effort to successfully demutualize and restructure Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company into Pacific Life Insurance Company. Pacific Life is one of California's largest, most successful, and best run life insurance companies with significant assets, making it one of the largest companies of its kind in the world. Most important, Mr. Palmer worked to create safeguards and to protect the policyholders within a unique "closed block" that preserved their ownership and equity rights in the former mutual company. As a mutual company, the former policyholders were also owners of the company, and these rights could have been lost when the company underwent its restructuring. Ultimately, Pacific Life was the only demutualization that was not challenged and sued in a class action by the trial bar during that period of time; roughly 19 other similar transactions were either sued or halted.

Significant Transactional Experience: Mr. Palmer has significant transactional experience and has written business plans, including a business plan that was accepted by the Fortune One Company, and has written a variety of stock purchase and redemption agreements, buy-sell agreements, creation of various business entities, mergers and acquisitions, and handled all manner of large and small business work and government filings.

Mr. Palmer has significant private practice insurance coverage experience and drafted the manuscript risk pool (insurance) coverage for roughly 180 of California's schools, including Kindergarten (K) through Ninth (9th) grades, and the Community Colleges. Mr. Palmer has written over 300 insurance coverage analyses and opinions in plaintiff and defense cases. He is routinely called to testify on behalf and assist the State and Federal Governments on complex insurance cases. See, for example, Mr. Palmer's published decision in Downey Venture, et. al. v. LMI Ins. Co. (1998) 66 Cal. App. 4th 478 (The court held that public policy prevented appellee insurance company from being liable for indemnification on a malicious prosecution claim incurred by appellants, but public policy did not prevent appellee's duty to defend the claim).

Insurance Insolvency: Mr. Palmer was lead counsel for the restructuring of Golden Eagle Insurance Company that, at $1.2 billion, was one of the largest insurance insolvencies (bankruptcies) in the last decade. Mr. Palmer successfully preserved the current business within a "New" Golden Eagle Insurance Company that was purchased for $1.2 billion by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, while creating a massive liquidating trust. The Golden Eagle insolvency is now used as a model for the efficient handling and resuscitation of an insurance company.

Additional work performed in complex insurance insolvencies may be found in published and unpublished decisions in which Mr. Palmer appeared as counsel, for example, see Quackenbush v. Mission Ins. Co. (1998) 62 Cal. App. 4th 797 (Held: Liquidation plan submitted by California Insurance Commissioner was approved even though objections were made that the plan required estimated payments prior to claims being established when plan provided for process to establish claims).

Appearances and Work Before the United States Supreme Court: Mr. Palmer is admitted to the United States Supreme Court and appeared in Mission Ins. Co. v. Allstate, 517 U.S. 706 (1996). The case ultimately settled for full value owed to the policyholders and claimants.

Mr. Palmer settled 20th Century Ins. Co. v. Garamendi (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 216, literally on the steps of the United States Supreme Court, following which the Petition for Certiorari was dismissed pursuant to Rule 46 of the Rules of the United States Supreme Court. The settlement Mr. Palmer created, utilized a unique strategy that funded the Prop. 103 rebate to the past policyholders as required by law, while creating a financial buffer to protect the current policyholders and shareholders to fund the Northridge Earthquake claims that were still developing. After the settlement, 20th Century Insurance Company, which was on the edge of financial insolvency, rebounded and its stock rose from $7.00 to $21.00 per share. It remains one of California's strongest companies and employers. Following this settlement, Mr. Palmer drafted a detailed multi-million dollar Budget Change Proposal, or "BCP," then retained ten (10) law firms and prosecuted the insurance companies that owed Prop. 103 Rollbacks, which resulted in a recovery of $1.2 Billion for the policyholders and taxpayers in the State of California. Mr. Palmer's appeared in the Ninth Circuit's decision in Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Quackenbush (9th Cir. 1996) No. 92-15861, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 19493 (Held: The insurers' claims against the insurance commissioner's implementation of regulations were properly dismissed under the abstention doctrine, even though some were ripe, because there was a difficult and unresolved question of state law). Mr Palmer was mentioned on article "Is California doing enough to find owners of 'unclaimed' funds before pocketing the money?" and "Sacramento courts handle son's insurance fight over mom's murder in Acapulco"

Areas of Practice (9)

  • Business Law
  • Litigation
  • Unclaimed Property
  • Business Transactions
  • Complex Business Litigation
  • Complex Securities
  • Insurance
  • Insurance Company Demutualization
  • Life Insurance

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
916-900-6566  Phone
916-972-0877  Fax
Year of First Admission:
1996, United States Supreme Court; 1990, California; 1991, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; 1990, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California; United States District Court for the Central District of California
Sacramento County and American Bar Associations; State Bar of California; Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California.
Birth Information:
Oakland, California, February 20, 1962
Payment Information:
  • Credit cards accepted

Peer Reviews

4.8/5.0 (8 reviews)
Peer Reviewed
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  • Legal Experience

  • 5.0/5.0 Rated by a Other on 06/27/17 in Business Law

    My firm has worked with Bill on several matters and I think he's outstanding. He has earned your highest rating.

    My firm has worked with Bill on several matters and I think he's outstanding. He has earned your highest rating. Read less

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  • 5.0/5.0 Rated by a Attorney on 06/27/17 in Litigation

    Very conscientious. Always very polite and respectful, but extremely effective. Won a large judgment against the California State Controller's Office.

    Very conscientious. Always very polite and respectful, but extremely effective. Won a large judgment against the California State Controller's Office. Read less

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*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Sacramento, California

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