Overview

Shaunda Patterson-Strachan, an accomplished litigator with over 20 years of experience, represents insurance and financial services companies in class action and high-stakes litigation. Shaunda has particular experience helping life insurance companies resolve complex legal issues related to fixed, index and variable life insurance, annuity, and other financial products. In addition to defending clients in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, she represents insurers in regulatory proceedings and arbitrations and is skilled in dispute resolution.

Insurance Litigation

Life insurance companies seek Shaunda’s experienced guidance to resolve issues related to the development, marketing, sale and administration of their life insurance, annuity and other financial products. Shaunda is a proficient defender of her clients’ business practices in putative class action lawsuits, seeking to ensure that their interests are advanced in all aspects of the litigation at the trial level, from jurisdictional, discovery and merits-focused issues, to efforts to defeat class certification. At the appellate level, Shaunda has experience both preserving favorable results and obtaining reversals of adverse trial court dispositions. She also represents clients in individual actions predicated on a wide variety of state and federal common law and statutory-based theories of liability, as well as regulatory proceedings and arbitrations.

In addition to formal litigation efforts, Shaunda works with clients to identify, assess and mitigate potential litigation risks associated with business activities related to their insurance and financial products.

Consistent with this experience, for years she has been a regular speaker at national bar and industry conferences and has authored pieces on topics relevant to litigation and emerging issues impacting the life insurance industry.

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)
  • U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. PHL Variable Ins. Co., Nos. 12-cv-06811; 13-cv-1580 (CM) (JCF), 2014 WL 2199428 (S.D.N.Y. May 23, 2014)
  • Nichols v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. 09-cv-840, 2009 WL 3019785 (N.D. Ala. Sep. 22, 2009)
  • Davis v. John Hancock Variable Life Ins. Co., No. 03-cv-17274, 295 F. App’x 245 (9th Cir. Oct. 3, 2008)
  • Smith v. John Hancock Ins. Co., slip op., No. 06-cv-3876 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 3, 2008)
  • Hurlocker v. MetLife Investors USA Ins. Co., Case No: D-0101-CV-2002-2723 (N.M. 1st Dist. 2004)
  • Berardinelli v. General Am. Life Ins. Co. (In re General Am. Life Ins. Co. Sales Practices Litig.), 357 F.3d 800 (8th Cir. 2004)
  • Tropp v. Western-Southern Life Ins. Co., 381 F.3d 591 (7th Cir. 2004)
  • Bradberry v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 222 F.R.D. 568 (W.D. Tenn. 2004)
  • Humphrey v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 99 CH 8383 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook County, May 13, 2002)
  • 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 (3rd Cir. 2001)

Credentials

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
Maryland

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh 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 District of Maryland

Education

George Washington University Law School
J.D. (1998)

Hampton University
B.A. with honors (1995)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • “Litigation in the Life Insurance Arena: Point/Counterpoint”
    Presenter, Drinker Biddle & Reath’s Life Insurance Symposium 8, Philadelphia, December 2019
  • “Finding a Balance: The Role of Nonguaranteed Elements in Life Insurance and Annuity Contracts”
    Presenter, American Academy of Actuaries Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum, Washington, November 2017
  • “Hottest Litigation Topics from the Year in Review”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute’s Annual Government, Legal, and Regulatory Conference, Washington, June 2017
  • “Individual Product Litigation Roundup: Life Insurance, Annuities, Mutual Funds and More”
    Presenter, ACI National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance Litigation, Regulatory Enforcement and ERM, New York, April 20, 2017
  • “Cost of Insurance Rate Increases: Key Considerations and the Next Generation of Litigation”
    Presenter, Litigation Breakout Session, Association of Life Insurance Counsel Annual Meeting, Colorado Springs, CO, May 2016
  • “Individual Product Litigation Roundup: Life Insurance, Annuities, Mutual Funds and More”
    Presenter, ACI National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance Litigation, Regulatory Enforcement and ERM, New York, January 26, 2016
  • “Class Actions and Significant Life Insurance Litigation — Recent Developments and Trends”
    Presenter, Client Focus Forum, Boston, October 2015
  • “It’s All ‘Bout That Discretion, ‘Bout That Discretion”
    Presenter, ACLI Compliance and Legal Sections Annual Meeting, Adjusting non-guaranteed elements in life and annuity products, Las Vegas, July 2015
  • “Latest Developments and Trends in Significant Annuity and Life Insurance Litigation”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute’s Annual Government, Legal, and Regulatory Conference, Washington, July 2015
  • “Litigation Summit: Latest Developments and Trends in Significant Annuity and Life Insurance Litigation”
    Presenter, Insured Retirement Institute’s Government, Legal, and Regulatory Conference, Washington, July 2014

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • The Association of Life Insurance Counsel
  • 2015 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow
  • American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (ABA-TIPS) — The Life Insurance Law Committee (Chair, 2006-07)
  • American Bar Association, Judicial Division — Lawyers Conference, 2011-Present ; Ethics and Professionalism Committee, 2016-2019; Membership Committee, 2016-19; Diversity in the Judiciary Standing Committee, 2016-2019; Editorial Board for the Judicial Record (Co-Chair, 2011-16); Executive Committee of the Lawyers Conference of the Judicial Division, 2011-14
  • National Bar Association
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit — Secretary, Board of Directors
  • Office of DC Attorney General-Elect Karl Racine — Transition Committee Member, 2014
  • The Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC — Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) Member of the Credentials Committee, 2012
  • “Young Leaders Program,” a forum for 60 young professionals from the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom held at Magdalen College, Oxford University, UK — Participant, 2002

Honors

Awards Methodology


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