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Cerullo v. Heisser

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

February 8, 2017

THOMAS C. CERULLO
v.
ALAN P. HEISSER, RALPH W. SAVOIE, GUARDIAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, AND SAVOIE FINANCIAL GROUP, LLC

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 747-460, DIVISION "L" HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, THOMAS C. CERULLO Brad P. Scott

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ALAN P. HEISSER, RALPH W. SAVOIE AND SAVOIE FINANCIAL GROUP, LLC Duris L. Holmes.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, THE GUARDIAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA Maura Z. Pelleteri Amy S. Malish.

          Panel composed of Jude G. Gravois, Robert M. Murphy, and Hans J. Liljeberg

         AFFIRMED

         HJL

         JGG

         RMM

          HANS J. LILJEBERG JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Thomas C. Cerullo, appeals the trial court's judgment granting exceptions of peremption and prescription filed by defendants, Alan P. Heisser, Ralph W. Savoie, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America ("Guardian") and Savoie Financial Group, L.L.C. For the reasons stated more fully below, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Mr. Cerullo earned a large fee as an attorney after obtaining a favorable settlement for a client. Mr. Cerullo alleges that he approached Mr. Heisser and Mr. Savoie about investing the funds he earned in an annuity. He claims that instead of purchasing an annuity, defendants invested his funds in a whole life insurance policy issued by Guardian. Mr. Cerullo alleges that he paid a premium in the amount of $108, 294.26, and defendants told him this was a one-time payment with no additional payments required to maintain the investment. However, near the end of following year, Mr. Cerullo received a statement from Guardian requesting payment of another annual premium in excess of $100, 000.

         Mr. Cerullo does not provide dates for these events in his petition for damages. However, according to the evidence in the record, Mr. Cerullo signed an application for a life insurance policy on November 30, 2004. The application indicated that the proposed policy provided a death benefit of $2, 522, 588. Mr. Cerullo also signed a policy illustration on that same date which indicated annual premiums of $108, 294.25 would be payable through the age of 99.

         The policy was amended effective December 22, 2004, pursuant to an amendment to the application executed by Mr. Cerullo on December 27, 2004. The application indicated the policy's death benefit increased to $2, 608, 924 and changed the Policy's owner and beneficiary to the Thomas C. Cerullo APLC Defined Benefit Plan. Mr. Cerullo also signed a policy illustration which again stated annual premiums of $108, 294.26 would be payable until he reached the age of 99. The ...


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