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, § 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
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)
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.
Palmer has successfully represented small and large businesses, including
Fortune 500 companies, during Unclaimed Property audits conducted by the
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
"friend of the court" brief filed).
Legal Work in Iraq: Mr. Palmer worked in Iraq during March -
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"