Kate L. Villanueva

Partner

Overview

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 sales practices, fraud and agent misconduct, foreign insureds/death claims, rescissions and insurable interest.

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 with and participation in industry organizations, including the Association of Life Insurance Counsel and American Council of Life Insurers.

Before joining the firm, Kate served as a law clerk to Judge Morton I. Greenberg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2005-06), and for the Supreme Court of New Jersey (2004-05).

Representative Experience

  • 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)

Personal Interests

Kate lives in Moorestown, New Jersey. She enjoys spending time with her husband and four young children.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

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. District Court for the District of Colorado
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Education

Rutgers University School of Law - Camden
J.D. (2004)

Lehigh University
B.S. (2002)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

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

Firm Leadership

  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Leader, Life and Disability Insurance Team, 2017-20; Summer Associate Committee; Associates Committee
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