Michael A. Coval

Of Counsel
Atlanta Office
1170 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30309-7706

Michael Coval represents insurers, employers, retirement and welfare plans, and plan fiduciaries in litigation. He concentrates on litigation involving ERISA's preemption, prudence, prohibited transactions, notice and disclosure provisions, with particular emphasis on class actions. He has represented these entities in an array of cases involving claims for benefits and for breach of fiduciary duties under ERISA, claims for violation of RICO, COBRA, the ADA and prompt pay statutes, and claims for fraud, malpractice and agent misconduct, a number of which were brought as class actions.

Michael has published articles on life insurance and ERISA issues for publications of the Defense Research Institute and the Torts Trial & Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association. He has been a featured speaker at seminars and symposia on ERISA and COBRA issues, corporate liability for medical malpractice, managed care class action litigation and the defense of disability insurance claims.

Michael is a member of the Tort, Trial & Insurance Section of the American Bar Association and serves on the Life Insurance, Health & Disability and Employee Benefits Committees. He also serves on the Life, Health and Disability Committee for the Defense Research Institute.

Representative Experience
  • Won dismissal of complaint seeking $1 million in life insurance benefits, plus other damages, dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim for breach of fiduciary duty under 29 U.S.C. §1132(a)(2) and (a)(3). Ruling affirmed the Sixth Circuit, and certiorari denied by the Supreme Court.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of employee benefit plan administrator for failure to comply with ERISA's disclosure and reporting provisions.
  • Established on summary judgment that four individual disability income insurance policies constituted part of an employee benefit plan, preempting state law claims for benefits and for extra-contractual damages.
  • Testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce before the Georgia House of Representatives Committee on Insurance concerning proposed legislation implicating ERISA.
  • "ERISA 101: Dissecting the Fundamentals for Managed Care Litigators," American Conference Institute, October 2013
  • "ERISA Preemption: Making Strategic Arguments For and Against Preemption in an Era of Inconsistent and Evolving Legal Standards," Panelist, American Conference Institute, October 2013
  • "The Demise of Deferential Review in the Eleventh Circuit," Life, Health and Disability News (Newsletter of DRI's Life, Health and Disability Law Committee) , Winter 2008
  • "Courts Disagree Over Applicability of ERISA to Stop-Loss Policies," Life & Health News, Spring 1998
  • "Complete Preemption vs. Conflict Preemption: Now, A More Meaningful Distinction," Life & Health News, Spring 1996