Kate L. Villanueva

Partner
kate.villanueva dbr.com
Phone: (215) 988-2535 (215) 988-2535
Fax: (215) 988-2757

About

Kate Villanueva leads the firm’s Life and Disability Insurance Team. Kate represents insurance companies in individual and class actions at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts nationwide. A significant portion of Kate’s practice involves advising insurers on issues related to fraud and agent misconduct, foreign insureds/death claims, rescissions, and insurable interests. Kate also routinely works with insurers on compliance issues related to the administration of policies, with specific focus on lapse and contestability processes. She has represented insurers in a variety of coverage matters, including disability matters, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), and the defense of bad faith claims. Kate remains at the forefront of litigation issues facing insurers through her work and participation in industry organizations, including the Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC) and American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).

Prior to joining Drinker Biddle, Kate served as a law clerk to Judge Morton I. Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2005-2006), and for the Supreme Court of New Jersey (2004-2005). Kate lives in Moorestown, New Jersey. She enjoys spending time with her husband and four young children.

Experience

Kate has extensive experience with insurance litigation and coverage issues. These are highlights of some of her representative matters:

  • Dismissal of claims concerning improper designation of beneficiary, Piantone, et al. v. Estate of Paul Godlewski, et al., No. 2015-28114 (Montgomery County, PA)
  • Reversal of jurisdictional dismissal based on absence of allegations concerning identity of members of LLC defendants, Lincoln Benefit Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, et al., No. 14-2660 (3d Cir.)
  • Summary judgment in favor of insurer regarding lapse of insurance policy, Elhouty v. Lincoln Benefit Life Company, No. 14-00676 (E.D. Cal.)
  • Dismissal of bad faith claim and summary judgment in favor of insurer on breach of contract claim related to misstatement of age and age adjustment, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Lincoln Benefit Life Company, No. 13-2890 (N.D. Ga.)
  • Jury verdict in favor of insurer regarding lapsed life insurance policy, Madick v. Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, No. 11-9214 (C.D. Cal.)
  • Summary judgment in favor of insurer in STOLI case, Penn Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Greatbanc Trust Co., 887 F. Supp. 2d 822 (N.D. Ill. 2012)
  • Summary judgment in favor of school district finding school board's practice of opening its public meetings with prayer or moment of silence did not constitute an establishment of religion in violation of First Amendment, Doe v. Indian River School District, 685 F. Supp. 2d 254 (Del. 2010)

Credentials

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Education

  • Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, J.D., 2004
  • Lehigh University, B.S., 2002

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

Organizations

  • American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) 
  • Association of Life Insurance Counsel (ALIC)
  • National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)