In No. 372 (May 18, 2020), I posted an update on the Spector-Lebbin Family Trust (Trust) lawsuit against Transamerica Life Insurance Company (Transamerica). I mentioned several aspects of the case. I said it began in federal court in Maryland, and was transferred at Transamerica's request to federal court in Florida, where the policies were originally sold and where several potential witnesses were located. I also said the judge in Florida ruled Transamerica should pay the Trust about $2.5 million, including interest, for breach of contract. I also said Transamerica appealed to the federal Eleventh Circuit.
In No. 397 (November 9, 2020), I posted another update. I said Transamerica and the Trust filed their initial appellate briefs on August 31, 2020 and October 30, 2020, respectively. I also said there was not yet a timetable for the appellate case.
A Strange Twist
The Eleventh Circuit covers Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Thus it was natural for Transamerica to file its appeal in the Eleventh Circuit. On February 23, 2021, in a strange twist, the clerk of the Eleventh Circuit wrote a letter to the parties raising a jurisdictional issue. Here is the opening paragraph of the clerk's letter (the full letter is in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post):
After review of the district court docket entries, order and/or judgment appealed from, and the notice of appeal, it appears that this court may lack jurisdiction over this appeal. If it is determined that this court is without jurisdiction, this appeal will be dismissed.
The clerk asked the parties to advise the court simultaneously within 14 days of their positions regarding the jurisdictional issue. He said they could file their responses electronically, and did not need to file paper copies. Both parties filed their responses on March 9. On March 17, the Trust filed a "motion for leave to file sur-reply." The next day, Transamerica filed an opposition to the motion. The two responses, the motion, and the opposition to the motion are in the complimentary package offered at the end of this post. At this writing, there is nothing further on the Eleventh Circuit docket.
In their responses to the jurisdictional issue, the parties explained why they think the Eleventh Circuit has jurisdiction. I do not understand why the Eleventh Circuit thinks it may not have jurisdiction. I will report further developments.
I am offering a complimentary 55-page PDF consisting of the Eleventh Circuit clerk's letter (2 pages), the Trust's response to the clerk's letter (21 pages), Transamerica's response to the clerk's letter (12 pages), the Trust's motion (10 pages), and Transamerica's opposition to the motion (10 pages). Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the March 2021 package about the Lebbin case.