Class Certified in Action Involving Annuity Sales to Seniors


On June 23, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California certified two classes of senior citizens (individuals sixty-five years of age or older) who had purchased deferred annuities, some of which included a bonus feature. Plaintiff in Kennedy v. Jackson Nat’l Life Ins. Co., No. C 07-0371 CW (N.D. Cal. June 23, 2010) alleged that Defendant engaged in unlawful practices in making such sales, and the court certified a nationwide class with respect to a RICO claim and a California class with respect to certain state law claims, both under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). (Please click here for the opinion.)

According to the court, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant “does not adequately disclose that its ‘deferred annuities are worth substantially less than the purchaser’s original invested funds;’ that it pays commissions that ‘adversely impact the performance of the annuities;’ that its bonuses are illusory because it ‘recoups those bonuses through higher surrender charges, longer surrender periods, and reduced interest charges, caps or participation rates;’ and that it imposes ‘fees and loads through indecipherable product design and mechanics.’ ” Plaintiff claimed violations of RICO; a California statute prohibiting financial abuse of elders; the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL); and California false advertising laws. Plaintiff also asserted claims for fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement and misrepresentation, and common law fraud, but did not seek class certification on any of these additional claims.

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