Susan J. Stauss

Counsel Philadelphia
susan.stauss dbr.com
Phone: (215) 988-3398
Fax: (215) 827-5603

About

Susan J. Stauss litigates for and counsels her clients in the insurance industry concerning structured settlements and life insurance. She represents several major insurance and annuity companies in cases involving complex issues presented by structured settlements as well as exposure created by the secondary market for life insurance. Susan also has experience handling various litigation matters, including complex medical malpractice, personal injury, premises liability, products liability, mass tort, and general negligence actions.

Experience

Susan has represented major insurance and annuity companies in the opposition of the transfer of structured settlement payment rights throughout the United States, and she has successfully argued these matters before the federal and state courts in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. She has handled cases involving complex issues presented by structured settlements, including:

  • The attempted transfer of structured settlement payment rights.
  • Disputed claims of entitlement to structured settlement payments.
  • Tax issues.
  • Beneficiary and estate issues.
  • Commutations.
  • Transfers of minor’s structured settlement payments.
  • Workers’ compensation issues.
  • Bankruptcy issues.
  • U.C.C. issues.
  • Child support issues.
  • Garnishment orders.

Susan has represented life insurers in connection with the often unrecognized exposure created by the secondary market for life insurance. She has experience litigating and counseling clients on issues such as:

  • Successful in negotiating the resolution of litigation claims, including $20 million in compensatory damages, $60 million in punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and attorneys’ fees in connection with over 100 life insurance policies for a total settlement of $4.7 million.
  • The successful defense on summary judgment of a receiver’s claim seeking to obtain a premium refund on a STOLI policy, as reported in Wuliger v. Reassure Am. Life Ins. Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19391 (N.D. Ohio 2011).
  • Successful in obtaining multiple summary judgment awards declaring life insurance policies having an aggregate face amount of $17.5 million void for lack of insurable interest on behalf of an insurance company in connection with lawsuits involving claims of fraud and negligence.
  • Successful in negotiating the resolution of multiple lawsuits involving fraud and negligence claims in connection with life insurance policies having an aggregate face amount in excess of $130 million.
  • Exposure stemming from viaticals.
  • Life settlements.
  • Non-recourse premium financing and stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) transactions.
  • Insurance coverage disputes involving fraud, misrepresentations, overseas fraudulent deaths, unfair trade practices, civil RICO, bad faith, and regulatory and sales practice protocols.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

Education

  • Temple University Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1997
  • Drexel University, B.S., 1994, cum laude

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • New Jersey Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association

Susan's Areas of Focus