California Supreme Court Denies Review and Depublishes Opinion in Williams v. National Western Life

November 28, 2022

The Supreme Court’s decision not to grant review of the Court of Appeal decision awarding a victory for the policyholder is good news for Mr. Williams, who was tricked into buying unsuitable annuities by an unscrupulous agent. (See prior blog posts below.)  But the Supreme Court’s decision to depublish the Court of Appeal opinion is bad news for policyholders because it wiped out the Court of Appeal’s clear ruling that an “independent” agent is nevertheless the agent of the insurance company. Insurers might continue to try to argue that an independent agent is the agent of the insured. This is not correct, as the Williams court’s discussion of authorities including Insurance Code Sections 1704 and 1704.5 made clear. But litigants will no longer be able to cite the Williams decision, so policyholders will have to reestablish that proposition in a future case.