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Robert McKennon | Newport Beach Insurance Lawyer

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Robert Mckennon Lawyer

Robert John Mckennon

Experience. Dedication. Results.

Insurance, Bad Faith Insurance, ERISA, Life Insurance, Health Insurance

www.mckennonlawgroup.com

800-805-7601


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Robert J. McKennon is a founding shareholder of McKennon Law Group PC. He represents individuals and small-to-large corporations in sophisticated litigation matters in state and federal court. He has recovered millions of dollars for our clients from such insurance companies as: Unum, Prudential, Lincoln National, Standard Life, Sun Life, Met Life, Hartford Life, Mass Mutual, Paul Revere, Provident, Trustmark and Aetna for all types of insurance claims, including:  Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, ERISA, Health Insurance, Long-Term Care, Property & Casualty

Mr. McKennon is admitted to all federal and state courts in California, and regularly handles litigation matters in federal courts in the Western United States. He is a nationally recognized expert in insurance litigation matters and has tried, litigated, and resolved hundreds of insurance litigation matters, including ERISA/employee benefit, life, health and long-term disability and short-term disability insurance, insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, unfair trade practices, and insurance agent/broker litigation. Mr. McKennon has also handled numerous business litigation cases in the areas of general business and contract disputes and unfair competition.

Mr. McKennon frequently serves as a guest speaker at local and national conferences concerning life, health, long-term disability, short-term disability and ERISA issues, and has chaired numerous national conferences on these topics.

Mr. McKennon formerly represented numerous insurance companies in first-party insurance lawsuits involving life, health and short-term and long-term disability insurance disputes, insurance bad faith and punitive damages for over twenty-four years. He now represents insureds, claimants, businesses and other consumers who believe that their insurance companies have improperly denied their claims for insurance benefits.

Mr. McKennon was the founder and editor of the Life, Health & Disability Insurance Law Blog at lifehealthdisabilityinsurancelaw.com while he was a partner at Barger & Wolen LLP. He is currently the editor of the California Insurance Litigation Blog at californiainsurancelitigation.com. He is also a regular contributing author of insurance articles in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the most read and respected legal newspaper in California. Mr. McKennon has also been recognized for numerous years as a Southern California “Super Lawyer,” a prestigious recognition given to only 5% of attorneys in the United States which recognizes him as one of California’s top attorneys in ERISA and insurance coverage matters. Mr. McKennon has been profiled in Forbes, American Lawyer, Coast magazine, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Corporate Counsel, and National Law Journal as a top Southern California insurance and business litigation attorney. Mr. McKennon was named as one of Orange County Register Metro’s Top Southern California Attorneys for numerous years.  Mr, McKennon was also named as a Corporate Live Wire’s Global Awards Newport Beach, Orange County, California “Insurance & Reinsurance” Lawyer of the Year.  The American Society of Legal Advocates has recognized him as one of the top 100 Insurance lawyers in the State of California.  He won the Distinguished Lawyer Designation© from the Expert Network, which is only conferred upon the top 3% of lawyers in the United States.  Mr. McKennon’s law firm, McKennon Law Group PC, was selected as “Insurance Litigation Law Firm of the Year – United States in 2016” by Lawyers Worldwide Magazine.
Position Organization Location Duration
Managing ShareholderMcKennon Law Group, PC2012 - Present
Managing PartnerMcKennon Schindler, LLP2010 - 2011
PartnerBarger & Wolen LLP1985 - 2009
School Degree Major Graduation
USC Law SchoolJ.D. Law School1985  
California State University, FullertonBA1982
State / Court Date
California1986
  • State Bar of California | Member | 1986 - Present
    American Bar Association | Member
    Orange County Bar Association | Member
    ABA’s Tort and Insurance Law Committee | Member
    Consumer Attorneys of California | Member
    Celtic Bar Association | Member
  • Named as Corporate LiveWire’s Global Awards 2017 “Insurance Litigation Law Firm of the Year – California, USA”  

    Rated AV Preeminent in Insurance Law by his peers, an achievement of Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.

    Named as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” as one of California’s top attorneys. Fewer than 5% of attorneys nationwide are awarded this status. Mr. McKennon has received this Southern California Super Lawyer designation every year since 2011.  Mr. McKennon was recognized as a top insurance coverage lawyer in part for his experience in handling and litigating disability insurance, life insurance and health insurance cases for over 30 years.

    Named in the Business Edition of Thomson Reuters/Super Lawyers annual list of the nation’s top attorneys in business practice areas.   
     
    Distinguished Lawyer Designation© from the Expert Network which is only conferred upon the Top 3% of Lawyers in the United States.

    Selected as Insurance Litigation Law Firm of the Year – United States in 2016 and 2017 by Lawyers Worldwide Magazine.

    Awarded the annual designation of “Top Rated Lawyer in Labor and Employment” and “Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance” by American Lawyer Media and Martindale Hubbell, leading providers of news and rating information to the legal industry. Mr. McKennon received this top award for his and his firm’s work representing ERISA plan participants/insureds in disability insurance, life insurance and health insurance litigation.

    Awarded the designation of “Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation” by American Lawyer Media and Martindale Hubbell, leading providers of news and rating information to the legal industry.

    Named as Corporate LiveWire’s Global Awards 2016 Newport Beach, California “Insurance & Reinsurance” Lawyer of the Year.

    Awarded AVVO’s highest rating of “Superb,” 10.0 out of a possible 10.0, which also highlights an attorney’s competence, ethical conduct, professional ability, diligence and overall performance.

    Named by the American Society of Legal Advocates as one of the top 100 Insurance lawyers in the State of California every year since 2013.  The American Society of Legal Advocates is an invitation-only, nationwide organization of top lawyers in practice today who combine excellent legal credentials with a proven commitment to community engagement and the highest professional standards.

    Named as Corporate LiveWire’s Global Awards 2015 Orange County, California Insurance & Risk Management Lawyer of the Year.

    Featured in the August 2012 and 2013 issues of Corporate Counsel magazine and The National Law Journal, both of which feature the 2012 and 2013 Top Rated Lawyers in Insurance Law.
  • http://www.mslawllp.com/success-stories/
    Recent Judgments and Verdicts

    On August 10, 2017, McKennon Law Group PC secured a judgment exceeding one-half-million dollars for its client, a company whose former agent breached their Agent’s Contract. The agent wrongfully retained commissions due the client under the contract after the agent defrauded many policyholders in connection with the sale of life insurance, health/medical insurance and annuity policies he sold that were subsequently cancelled (and the premiums refunded to the policyholders). After the Complaint was filed, the agent and our client settled the case. When the agent breached the installment payment settlement agreement, we promptly filed an ex parte motion to enter judgment against him. The judgment we obtained for our client included the agent’s entire outstanding principal settlement balance, plus $27,000 in prejudgment interest and the client’s full attorney’s fees and costs. The Court found that 100% of McKennon Law Group PC’s fees, approximately $150,000, were reasonably incurred and billed at reasonable hourly rates.

    On August 17, 2017, McKennon Law Group PC secured judgment for its client, a company whose former agent committed fraud and breach of contract against our client and against numerous life insurance policyholders. The former agent wrongfully obtained commissions from the company by causing policies to be issued to individuals who were either not aware that policies were being issued in their name or were misled as to the extent and nature of the policies being issued. After filing an answer to the complaint, the former agent refused to participate in litigation, allegedly fleeing the country. McKennon Law Group PC filed a number of motions and the judge issued an order striking the former agent’s answer and entering default judgment against him, and also ordered $21,955 in sanctions be paid to our client. The decision will almost certainly allow our client to secure an order awarding all attorney’s fees and costs incurred in filing the lawsuit along with the amount of wrongfully obtained commissions.

    On August 2, 2016, the McKennon Law Group PC secured a trial victory for its disabled client who was forced to stop working because of carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain and other conditions.  She filed a claim for long-term disability benefits with Union Security Insurance Company, but the insurer denied her claim, arguing that the medical evidence did not support her claimed disability.  The McKennon Law Group PC filed an ERISA lawsuit, and following a July 29, 2016 trial, Federal District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled that Union Security’s claim decision was incorrect and determined that she was entitled to her long-term disability benefits.  

    Following a trial, on April 28, 2016, Federal District Court Judge James S. Otero issued a detailed, 25-page order finding in favor of the McKennon Law Group’s client, a father fighting to recover money he paid to a residential treatment facility for treatment his minor daughter received.   

    The McKennon Law Group PC recently secured a victory at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, obtaining a ruling that the District Court abused its discretion by unreasonably refusing to award attorneys’ fees for work performed on behalf of a health insurance claimant under an ERISA plan. In litigation regarding whether an insurance company, acting as an ERISA administrator, received a claim for health insurance benefits and unreasonably failed to pay the claim, the District Court initially found in favor of the insurance company, ignoring evidence uncovered during discovery that the insurance company received the health insurance claim when it was made.  On appeal to the Ninth Circuit, the McKennon Law Group was able to secure a remand back to the District Court, which was instructed to consider the information uncovered by the McKennon Law Group during discovery.  On remand, the District Court considered the information, which demonstrated that, contrary to its claim, the insurance company did receive the health insurance claim.  However, when awarding attorneys’ fees, the District Court refused to award attorneys’ fees for the time spent obtaining the very evidence used to prove that the insurance company received the claim.  Following a second round of briefing and oral argument to the Ninth Circuit, the entire panel agreed that the District Court abused its discretion when it failed to award attorneys’ fees for the time spent obtaining information proving that the insurance company received the claim, and remanded the matter back to the District Court with an instruction that the insurance company is responsible for paying the disputed attorneys’ fees.

    After a bench trial on December 14, 2015, in a Memorandum of Decision dated December 16, 2015, Federal District Court Judge James Selna found in favor of McKennon Law Group PC’s client, a vice president of a large international company, who sought reversal of LINA’s denial of her ERISA long-term disability insurance benefits from LINA.  Judge Selna’s decision pointed out many weaknesses in LINA’s denial decision, including the fact that LINA’s decision relied almost entirely on the report of its own physician, who based his findings on a review of our client’s medical records, and never examined her or spoke with any of her treating physicians (whose findings supported a finding of disability).  He entered judgment in our client’s favor requiring LINA to reverse its disability insurance claim denial and remanded the matter to LINA for another decision consistent with his opinion to correct LINA’s errors and to consider new evidence submitted by our client during litigation.  

    On April 22, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision, affirmed the Federal District Court Judge Carney’s decision in favor of our client, noting that Sun Life’s conflict of interest “required more skeptical judicial review” and held that Sun Life abused its discretion in denying the our client’s claim for disability benefits. Federal District Court Judge Carney had found in favor of our client, who sought his ERISA long-term disability benefits from Insurer Sun Life Financial. The court noted Sun Life acted improperly by, among other things, demanding “objective” evidence of disability, a standard of evidence not required by the plan, and relying on a “paper review” by paid physicians who failed to speak with plaintiff’s treating physicians. The Ninth Circuit affirmed our client ‘s award of $452,707 including over $215,000 in attorneys’ fees. Sun Life challenged McKennon Law Group’s attorneys’ fees incurred on the appeal arguing the firm should not be paid any of them, or if the firm received fees, that they should be reduced.  The Ninth Circuit completely rejected Sun Life’s challenge and awarded the firm over $172,000 in attorneys’ fees for its full fees on appeal without reducing any of the requested fees.  The Ninth Circuit found that the firm’s fees were completely reasonable and appropriate.


    McKennon│Schindler LLP, Robert J. McKennon’s prior law firm, attained a $3.94 million arbitration award in a business litigation dispute involving a patent license. Robert McKennon was lauded by the Arbitrator for his “exceptional skill in cross-examining” key witnesses that led to the arbitration victory.


  • Los Angeles Daily Journal | Insurance Agents Key to Insurer Liability, (November 1, 2012) | 2012
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | Equitable Relief in the Ninth Circuit Just Got Better for Consumers (July 11, 2012) | 2012
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | Boon or Bust for Employee Rights Under ERISA Plans (June 3, 2011) | 2012
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | In ERISA Cases, The Standard of Review Really Does Matter (December 6, 2010) | 2010
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | The Waiver Doctrine, Alive And Well in ERISA Cases (August 11, 2010) | 2010
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | Differential Standard of Review in ERISA Cases Clarified (May 4, 2010) | 2010
    Los Angeles Daily Journal | ERISA Plan Administrators Take Heed (February 10, 2010) | 2010
    Defense Research Institute (DRI) | Accidental Injury vs. Sickness Provisions in Disability Policies (2009) | 2009
    American Conference Institute Boston, Ma. | Co-Chair: Litigating Disability and ERISA Claims | 2009
    38th Annual Midwest Claim Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Bad Faith Insurance Law Update | 2007
    American Conference Institute, Chicago Ill. | Panelist/Presenter: Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Conference | 2006
    Mealeys | Panelist/Presenter: Bad Faith Litigation Conference | 2005
    American Conference Institute | Panelist/Presenter: Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims | 2005
    For The Defense (DRI, Defense Research Institute) | Disability Cases: The Requirement for Regular and Appropriate Care (2004) | 2004
    Unum Provident | Panelist/Presenter: Disability Fraud Issues Forum | 2004
    American Conference Institute | Co-Chair: 7th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims | 2004
    American Conference Institute | Managing and Litigating Mental-Nervous Insurance Claims (2003) | 2003
    Western Claims Conference | Introduction to Disability Fraud (2003) | 2003
    American Conference Institute | Panelist/Presenter: Managing and Litigating Depression Disability Insurance Claims | 2003
    19th Annual Western Claims Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Bad Faith Litigation | 2003
    American Conference Institute | The Requirement for Regular and Appropriate Care in Disability Cases (2002) | 2002
    Southern Claims Conference | Recent Developments: The Contestable Clause, Bad Faith and Punitive Damages (2002) | 2002
    Unum Provident | Special Investigative Unit Training Manual (2002) | 2002
    American Conference Institute | The Public Policy Defense: The New Frontier in Disability Insurance Litigation (2000) | 2000
    American Conference Institute | Litigating the Bad Faith Case (2000) | 2000
    American Conference Institute | Co-Chair: Strategies for Success in Litigating Disability Insurance Claims | 2000
    American Conference Institute | Panelist/Presenter: 6th National Conference on Bad Faith and Punitive Damages | 2000
    American Conference Institute | Panelist/Presenter: 3rd National Strategies for Success in Litigating Disability Insurance Claims | 2000
    International Insurance Law Review | Insurance Sales on the Internet: A Work in Progress (May 1998) | 1998
    Barger & Wolen LLP | California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations Manual (1997) | 1998
    Southwest Insurance Association Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Are You Really Complying With States Fair Claim Practices | 1998
    Southern Claims Conference | Contestable Life Claims (1997) | 1997
    Southern Claims Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Contestable Life Claims | 1997
    Orange County Bar Association | Panelist/Presenter: Insurance Bad Faith: Plaintiff & Defense Perspectives | 1997
    Eastern Claims Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Uncivilized Behavior in a Civilized System | 1997
    Southern Claims Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Unique and Emerging Issues in Insurance Litigation | 1996
    Southern Claims Conference | Panelist/Presenter: Emerging Issues in Disability, Health and Life Insurance Litigation | 1996
    Southern Claims Conference | Unique and Emerging Issues in Insurance Litigation (1996) | 1996
    Midwest Claims Conference | Emerging Issues in Disability, Health and Life Claims (1996) | 1996
    ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section publication | Insurance Issues in Bankruptcy: An Insurer's Perspective (Fall 1994) | 1994
    Chapters, Association of Life Insurance Counsel | The Life Insurance Law of California, Delinquency Proceedings" and "Formation and Issuance of Life Insurance Policies? (1990) | 1990
    California Insurance Law and Practice, Matthew Bender | Insolvency of Insurers, California Insurance Law and Practice, Matthew Bender (1986-92) | 1986
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(1986) Licensed as Attorney in California. Verified with California Bar Association.September 13, 2017

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Service Type: Private

Update Date: 2017-04-04

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Robert John Mckennon
20321 SW Birch St
Suite 200
Newport Beach, CA 92660
33.6572826,-117.8779007

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