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On March 19, 2018, Jenner & Block Partner Adam G. Unikowsky argued Sveen v. Melin, a case that concerns “revocation-upon-divorce” statutes and whether the Constitution’s Contracts Clause permits such statutes to be applied to life insurance policies that were purchased before the statutes were passed. Those statutes provide that if a person names his or her spouse as a life insurance beneficiary and then divorces, the divorce automatically revokes the beneficiary designation; if the holder intends for the ex-spouse to remain the beneficiary, the ex-spouse must be re-designated as such. On behalf of Ashley and Antone Sveen (the decedent’s children from an earlier relationship), Mr. Unikowsky argued that the statutes can be applied retroactively.
This argument marked Mr. Unikowsky’s second appearance and represented the firm’s fourth argument this term. On January 22, 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Unikowsky in Artis v. District of Columbia, a case that concerns the statute of limitations for litigants who file state-law claims in federal courts only to have those courts decline to exercise jurisdiction over those claims. The 5-4 decision on behalf of his pro bono client was the sixth consecutive victory for Mr. Unikowsky—he won three cases last term, and two the term before that.
Please click here for the argument transcript.