Waldemar J. Pflepsen Jr.

Senior Counsel

Overview

Waldemar Pflepsen defends financial services companies, insurers and managed-care companies involved in complex litigation and class action. Over the past three decades, Wally has successfully handled more than 75 class actions involving a wide variety of insurance and financial products, business practices, and legal issues.

Wally has a wealth of experience assisting clients nationally with disputes related to life insurance, pension and health plans, and investment products. This includes trying cases and arguing appeals in numerous federal and state courts. He also has defended multiple state and federal regulatory enforcement actions and represented insurers in collecting hundreds of millions of dollars under a variety of reinsurance arrangements.

A frequent author, Wally has written numerous articles and papers and coauthored two litigation treatises on insurance, class action and complex litigation topics, including ERISA. He regularly chairs or participates in programs sponsored by legal and trade organizations addressing class action and complex litigation topics.

He also served two federal judicial clerkships.

Representative Matters

  • Barnes v. Security Life of Denver Ins. Co. (representing Jackson Nat’l Life Ins. Co. – Intervenor Defendant), No. 18-1487, -- F.3d --, 2019 WL 7043163 (10th Cir. Dec. 23, 2019)
  • Maxon v. Sentry Life Ins. Co., No. 18-cv-254-jdp, 2018 WL 4540057 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 19, 2019)
  • Smithson v. Jackson National Life Ins. Co., No. 1:18-cv-00599 (W.D. Mich. dismissed May 29, 2018)
  • Avazian v. Genworth Life & Annuity Ins. Co., No. 2:17-v-06459, 2017 WL 6025330 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 4, 2017)
  • Welp v. CIGNA Health and Life Ins. Co., 2017 WL 3263138 (S.D. Fla., July 20, 2017)
  • Patrico v. Voya Fin., Inc., 2017 WL 3684065 (S.D.N.Y., June 20, 2017)
  • U.S. Bank Nat’l Assn v. PHL Variable Ins. Co., 2014 WL 2199428 (S.D.N.Y. 2014)
  • Fleisher v. Phoenix Life Ins. Co., 18 F. Supp. 3d 456 (S.D.N.Y. 2014)
  • Tiger Capital, LLC v. PHL Variable Ins. Co., No. 12 CIV. 2939, 2014 WL 3703858 (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Halbach v. Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co., 561 F.3d 872 (8th Cir. 2009)
  • Nichols v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. CV 09-840, 2009 WL 3019785 (N.D. Ala. Sept. 22, 2009)
  • Finnan v. Pan-American Assurance Co., No. 2000-19282 (Orleans Parish, La., Div. 1, Section 7, Apr. 9, 2009)
  • Davis v. John Hancock Variable Life Ins. Co., 295 F. App’x 245 (9th Cir. 2008)
  • Smith v. John Hancock Ins. Co., 2008 WL 4145709 (E.D. Pa., Sept. 3, 2008)
  • Levin v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co., No. 4:07-cv-01330 (S.D. Tex. 2008)
  • Doe v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., No. 05-2512 (D. N.J. 2008)
  • Abatie v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., 458 F.3d 955 (en banc) (9th Cir. 2006)
  • Gilbert v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2001).
  • Thorn v. Jefferson-Pilot Life Ins. Co., 445 F.3d 311 (4th Cir. 2006)
  • Bradberry v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 222 F.R.D. 568 (W.D. Tenn. 2004)
  • Bowers v. Jefferson Pilot Financial Ins. Co., 219 F.R.D. 578 (E.D. Mich. 2004)
  • McCord v. Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 830 (8th Cir. 2003)
  • Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson, 534 U.S. 204 (2002)
  • Parkhill v. Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co., 286 F.3d 1051 (8th Cir. 2002)
  • Benevento, et al. v. LifeUSA Holding, Inc., 242 F.3d 136 (3d Cir. 2001)
  • In re: Life USA Holding, Inc., 242 F.3d 136 (3d Cir. 2001)
  • Baymiller v. Guarantee Mut. Life Ins. Co., 2000 WL 1026565 (C.D. Cal.); 2000 WL 33774562 (C.D. Cal.)
  • Windsor Sec., Inc. v. Hartford Life Ins. Co., 986 F.2d 655 (3d Cir. 1993)
  • Ziegler v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co., 916 F.2d 548 (9th Cir. 1990)
  • LaVay Corp. v. Dominion Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 830 F.2d 522 (4th Cir. 1987) cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1065 (1988)
  • Wemhoff v. Investors Mgmt. Corp., 528 A.2d 1205 (D.C. App. 1987), cert. denied, 491 U.S. 906 (1989)

Amicus Curiae Representations

  • McCaffree Fin. Corp. v. Principal Life Ins. Co., 811 F.3d 998 (8th Cir. 2016) (amicus curiae)
  • Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 758 F.3d 46 (1st Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 1182 (2015) (amicus curiae)
  • Rochow v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 780 F.3d 346 (6th Cir. 2015) (amicus curiae)
  • Edmonson v. Lincoln Nat’l Life Ins. Co., 725 F.3d 406 (3d Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 2291 (2014) (amicus curiae)
  • Leimkuehler v. American United Life Ins. Co., 713 F.3d 905 (7th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 1280 (amicus curiae)
  • Otte v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., appeal voluntarily dismissed, No. 11-1195733 (1st Cir. 2013) (amicus curiae)
  • Nationwide Life Ins. Co. v. Haddock, 460 F. App’x 26 (2d Cir. 2012) (amicus curiae)
  • United States ex rel. Loughren v. UNUM Group, 613 F.3d 300 (1st Cir. 2010) (amicus curiae)
  • Sereboff v. Mid-Atlantic Med. Serv., Inc., 547 U.S. 356 (2006) (amicus curiae)
  • Mertens v. Hewitt Assocs., 508 U.S. 248 (1993) (amicus curiae)

Credentials

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
Michigan

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Education

American University
J.D.

Michigan State University
B.A.

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • “Update on ERISA Retirement Plan Litigation – Including Impact of the DOL Rule”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Webinar, Washington (January 17, 2018)
  • “The Hottest Litigation Topics from the Year in Review”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference, Washington (June 12, 2017)
  • “Cost of Insurance Rate Litigation: Summer of 2016 Heat Wave”
    Presenter, ALIC Regional Roundtable, Washington (September 22, 2016)
  • “Litigation and Enforcement under the DOL Fiduciary Rule and the BIC Exemption”
    IRI Government, Legal & Regulatory Conference, Washington (June 6, 2016)
  • “Recent Developments in Annuity and Life Insurance Litigation”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Webinar, Washington (May 11, 2016)
  • “Answering the ‘Top Ten’ Key Questions About The DOL Fiduciary Rule”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) Webinar, Washington (March 8, 2016)
  • “Class Actions and Complex Litigation: Update on Latest Filings and Theories”
    Presenter, ACI National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance Litigation, Regulatory Enforcement & ERM, New York (January 25, 2016)
  • “Latest Developments and Trends in Significant Annuity and Life Insurance Litigation”
    Presenter, IRI Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference, Washington (July 2015)
  • “Litigation Forum: Latest Developments and Trends in Significant Annuity and Life Insurance Litigation”
    Presenter, IRI Government, Legal & Regulatory Conference, Washington (July 2014)

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Association of Life Insurance Counsel
  • American Bar Association — Section of Litigation; Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section: Corporate Counsel Committee (Chair, 1997-98); Employee Benefits Law Committee (Vice Chair, 1995-97, 2000-07); Class Action Litigation Task Force of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section (1998-99)
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