Fall 2018 Newsletter


Consul General of Germany, Hon. Rolf Horlemann with Marc Redlich 
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

     I hope that you and your family are having an enjoyable summer and are looking forward to a pleasant fall season. Over the past several months, we have been involved in a number of successful matters that I thought might be of interest to you.

     For starters, we recently won a very significant victory in the Massachusetts Appeals Court on a case we’ve been working on for the past several years. We represent a widow and her two teenage children in a claim against Savings Bank Life Insurance Company (SBLI). Our client has been trying unsuccessfully to collect insurance proceeds following the death of her husband. SBLI has consistently refused to pay her anything. We had brought action based on misrepresentations by SBLI, which had urged our client not to continue payments on her husband’s soon-to-expire term life policy, and instead recommended that she apply for a new policy which would be less expensive. However, the insurance company’s officer-employee failed to recommend, in accordance with company policy, that she continue to pay the premium on the earlier policy in order to keep it in effect until the new policy was issued. The insurance company employee stood to earn a commission if a new policy was issued, but not if our client continued to keep the previous policy in effect. The worst of all possible things happened in this situation: my client’s husband died, and SBLI claimed that it had no responsibility since the old policy had lapsed.

     Almost a year and a half ago, a Superior Court judge granted pretrial summary judgment to SBLI and dismissed our case on the widow’s behalf. However, we were not deterred. We appealed, and now the Appeals Court has reversed the trial judge and reinstated our case including misrepresentation and Chapter 93A punitive damages claims for deceitful business practices by SBLI. We will now proceed to trial on our client’s rightful claims against this insurance company. The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly saw fit to publish a first page article on this important case, and I have attached a copy of that article for your convenience and information.

    In another interesting matter, we represent a large university. In addition to its large educational campus, the university also had a conference center in a nearby town which hosted both university educational programs and also private events for other organizations and individuals. Many universities in Massachusetts and elsewhere maintain similar types of conference facilities for university and outside events. In this case, a woman fell while walking down the outside stairs of the convention center. Normally, this kind of accident would be treated as a simple slip and fall. However, in this situation, the woman and her counsel claimed that there were violations of the State Building Code and thus strict liability for her injuries and damages. A further complication was that the university, a non-profit charitable educational institution, is entitled to a cap on any tort damages (that is, arising out of personal injuries) under a separate Massachusetts statute.

     Following extensive discovery, we brought motions for summary judgment on both the charitable cap issue and on the plaintiff’s negligence and building code claims. The Superior Court allowed our motion to limit the negligence damages obtainable by the plaintiff and dismissed some, but not all of the strict liability building code issues. As a result, we can now proceed to trial on the remaining issues. Our success on the charitable cap issue was a significant victory for our client because it limits the scope of the plaintiff’s alleged damages.

     In some non-legal matters during this past year, I assisted the American Council on Germany in presenting eleven events in Massachusetts in my capacity as Chairman of the ACG’s Eric M. Warburg Chapter for Boston. Over the years, we’ve worked in collaboration with various universities and organizations such as Northeastern, Brandeis, Suffolk, Harvard and Boston University, as well as with the Goethe Institute and WorldBoston to present speakers on topics concerning the transatlantic relationship with both Germany and the other European nations that share our interest in freedom and democracy.

     This relationship has always been of prime importance to the United States and its allies. Despite some recent conflicts concerning our transatlantic relationships reported in the news, it continues to be very important to maintain and strengthen these partnerships – in fact, perhaps more so now than ever. Some photos from my activities at events this past year are attached.

     As you may recall from previous newsletters, I was a member of the Management Committee of the international law firm consortium, ij International Jurists. I was asked to prepare a Guide to Doing Business in the United States for the benefit of its member firms and their clients around the world. Recently someone who had read this guide suggested that it might be a good addition to my newsletter, and as a result, I have taken the liberty of including it. This guide is intended as a general outline on how the law in our country affects business organizations and operations in the US, and is not intended to provide legal advice. I hope you find it helpful and informative.

     As in the past, we continue to practice in a wide range of legal areas, including corporate, business and commercial law, trials and appeals, real estate issues, employment, discrimination, divorce and university law. If you have any questions about our areas of practice or about any legal matters where we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, both here and abroad, please do not hesitate to call on me.

     I look forward to hearing from you, and, as always, I send you, your family and your colleagues, my best wishes for a healthy and successful fall season.

                                                   Kindest personal regards,
                                                   Marc Redlich


ACG Speaker Dr. May Britt Stumbaum with Marc Redlich at Brandeis University


One State Street, 15th Floor
Boston, MA 02109

t +1 617.720.0900
f +1 617.720.0987