Khai LeQuang


Orange County

Khai LeQuang represents financial institutions, technology companies, and other public and private companies in complex, high-stakes commercial disputes at both trial and appellate levels. He has won trials in state and federal courts and is a prominent practitioner in the area of life settlements. Clients and judges praise Khai for his trial skills, strategic thinking, and innovative and practical solutions to complex legal problems.

Most recently, Khai was lead trial counsel for EFG Bank and Erste Abwicklungsanstalt (which acquired the assets of former WestLB) in their lawsuit against AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company in the Southern District of New York, arising out of Equitable’s cost of insurance rate increase in 2016. EFG and EAA sought close to $100 million in damages. After several years of litigation, the case settled over the weekend before jury selection on very favorable terms. The settlement continued a string of recoveries Khai has achieved for clients pursuing claims against carriers that raised their cost of insurance rates.

Khai was lead trial counsel for EFG, EAA, and Obra Capital in their lawsuit against John Hancock Life Insurance Company in the Southern District of New York, arising out of John Hancock’s cost of insurance rate increase in 2018. EFG, EAA, and Obra sought over $100 million in damages. The case settled the evening before jury selection on very favorable terms.

Last year, Khai was lead trial counsel for a life insurance agent sued for fraud in connection with a life settlement transaction. The plaintiff sought over $10 million in damages. Following a one-week trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict, and the case settled before judgment was entered.

Khai was lead trial counsel in a two-week bench trial in an action against a school district arising out of its allocation of $417 million in bond funds. The plaintiffs, led by a taxpayer association, sought $90 million for construction of a new school. After navigating a year-long political imbroglio and defeating plaintiffs’ summary judgment motions following a defense that Judge Pressman described as “brilliantly argued,” the case proceeded to a trial that resulted in a decision in favor of the district on all claims. Khai also defended and argued the appeal, in which the trial court’s judgment was affirmed.

  • Khai also was one of the lead members of an Orrick team that defended PayPal, Inc. in an action alleging PayPal violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by processing online payment transactions involving sales of alleged counterfeit goods. In prevailing on the motion to dismiss the claims against PayPal, Khai helped establish defenses that would avert future attempts to hold PayPal and other businesses liable under RICO for engaging in routine business transactions with their customers.

    Khai continues to advise financial institutions on their management of longevity assets and litigate cases across the country. Over the past twenty years, he has litigated dozens of cases involving secondary and tertiary market transactions. He has prevailed in defending lenders in actions arising out of loans to fund premium payments, which have included claims for breach of contract and fraud, as well as claims under RICO, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), and California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Khai also has defended insurer actions seeking to rescind policies and helped clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in policy proceeds.

    Khai has represented numerous clients pro bono, from indigent individuals to large public interest organizations, devoting hundreds of hours to matters involving juvenile justice and equal access to justice.

    Khai co-authored the amicus brief filed on behalf of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the seminal case of Graham v. Sullivan, 540 U.S. 48 (2010), in which the United States Supreme Court held it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without parole for a non-homicide offense. The brief, which Justice Kennedy cited in the majority opinion, outlined developments in technology and brain science leading to conclusive findings that parts of the human brain responsible for controlling behavior continue to mature through late adolescence, making juveniles less culpable and more capable of reform. A few years later, the brief was updated and submitted in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), in which the United States Supreme Court held that mandatory sentences of life without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.

    Khai currently represents the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in various matters, including advising LDF on developments in criminal justice, economic and environmental justice, education, and political participation.

  • Other current or recent engagements include:

    • Bank of America. Represents Bank of America on a wide range of matters involving the bank’s operations.
    • Johnson & Johnson. Represented Johnson & Johnson, including as trial counsel, in product liability actions involving Johnson & Johnson’s talc products.
    • Union Carbide. Represented Union Carbide as national trial and coordinating counsel for asbestos litigation, trying cases, arguing key dispositive motions, and devising strategies for hundreds of product liability cases across the country.
    • Robbins v. Union Carbide Corporation. Second-chaired a two-week jury trial resulting in a complete defense verdict in an asbestos product liability action seeking over $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
    • Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company v. Doris Barnes Family Irrevocable Trust 2008, et al. Successfully defended institutional policyholder in action by insurance company seeking to void $8.75 million life insurance policy and alleging fraud in origination. Won dismissal of action on summary judgment in a ruling that was affirmed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit.  
    • Lincoln National Life Insurance Company v. The Gordon R.A. Fishman Irrevocable Life Trust. Represented premium finance lender in action by insurance company seeking to void $30 million in life insurance policies based on lack of insurable interest. Prevailed on summary judgment in a ruling that clarified California insurable interest law and effectively validated hundreds of millions of dollars in policies financed through non-recourse premium financing.
    • DHL. Represented international express mail and freight shipper DHL in several actions across the United States arising out of DHL’s exit from the U.S. domestic shipping market. Also represented DHL in class actions alleging that DHL’s provision of “shipment value protection” constituted the unlawful and unlicensed sale of insurance, which led to a California Court of Appeal decision finding that “shipment value protection” does not, as a matter of law, constitute insurance.