California Insurance Company Files an “Anti-SLAPP Motion” to Protect Its First Amendment Rights in California
Foster City, California -- October 30, 2020 -- California Insurance Company (CIC) today announced it has filed an “Anti-SLAPP” motion to protect its first amendment rights in its ongoing legal battle with the California Department of Insurance (CDI). Jeffrey Silver, General Counsel for the California Insurance Company explained, “Anti-SLAPP laws create mechanisms to combat abusive court proceedings which attempt to intimidate, censor, and circumvent First Amendment rights. California has a broad Anti-SLAPP statute intended to prevent the chilling of First Amendment rights.”
According to Mr. Silver, “The CDI has told us repeatedly that they are punishing CIC because we dared to defend ourselves in court and prevail. The CDI intends to unilaterally reverse this and deprive CIC of its First Amendment rights. We entered into a Settlement Agreement with the CDI on June 2, 2017, and agreed that there was a good faith dispute regarding EquityComp®, and that the dispute was ultimately for the California courts to decide. Now, the CDI is reneging on the Settlement Agreement by asserting that any EquityComp litigation should be settled by the CDI itself imposing its own terms. Worse, the CDI is deliberately disregarding the Federal Court in Sacramento which rejected the notion that EquityComp plaintiffs should be settled as a class and which further ruled that there was no misrepresentation on our part regarding EquityComp.”
“Apparently the CDI is dissatisfied that we have been vindicated in the courts and now foists a blatant effort to put their finger on the scales of justice,” Mr. Silver noted. “The CDI believes it is above the legislature, above the law, and above the courts. It believes it can make and break its agreements as suits its own purposes.”
Mr. Silver continued: “But the most staggering point to keep in mind here, is that the EquityComp litigation in question essentially involves a single plaintiff’s attorney, Larry Lichtenegger, who stands to reap an enormous windfall under the CDI’s plan. Mr. Lichtenegger has pursued this litigation for over five years with little success and now joins with the CDI in circumventing the courts as the proper venue for resolving conflicts.”
Mr. Silver concluded, “Our Anti-SLAPP motion brings these issues front and center for the Superior Court of California to consider.”
Applied Underwriters and Applied Risk Services, Inc. (www.auw.com)
Applied Underwriters® is a global risk services firm that helps businesses and people manage uncertainty through its business services, insurance, and reinsurance solutions. As a company, Applied Underwriters has been distinguished by its innovative approaches to client care and by its strong financial strength. Applied Underwriters operates throughout the U.S .Its operational headquarters is located in Omaha, Nebraska.
California Insurance Company holds an A.M. Best Rating of “A”
Ratings issuer AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of ‘A’ (Excellent) and Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of ‘A’ of five companies collectively referred to as North American Casualty Group (NAC). The companies with the affirmed ratings are: California Insurance Co. (CIC), Continental Indemnity Co., Illinois Insurance Co., Texas Insurance Co. and Pennsylvania Insurance Co. All companies are domiciled in Santa Fe, New Mexico. NAC’s risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), is assessed at the strongest level, and AM Best expects it to remain at a similar level in prospective years. Balance sheet strength also benefits from the company’s strong liquidity profile, conservative investment strategy, and disciplined reserving. The ratings agency said NAC has a track record of “strong operating earnings, underpinned by its robust underwriting performance” and demonstrated by a five-year average return on equity ratio of 13.1% and a combined ratio averaging 75% (2015-2019).