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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit -- Signature is on ‘misstatements’ -- By Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama's nominee to lead the country's health care overhaul, remains entangled in a lawsuit brought by shareholders of MetLife accusing her of misleading investors as a director of one of the country's biggest insurance companies.

The federal lawsuit, filed in New York, says the company used a Social Security death index to stop making payments when beneficiaries died, but the company wasn't as diligent about using the database to track deaths of its policyholders, which triggers payouts, the lawsuit said.

Last year, a judge refused to toss a federal lawsuit against the company, including claims against Ms. Burwell and other directors, ruling that they "were board members and signed various financial statements and registration statements that contained the alleged misstatements."

Ms. Burwell served as head of the corporate governance committee on the board of MetLife until she joined the Obama administration as White House budget director last year. Last week, Mr. Obama nominated her to be secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, where she would troubleshoot the botched Obamacare rollout.

MetLife's legal team is representing Ms. Burwell.

"Regarding the litigation, we believe the case is without merit and we intend to defend this action vigorously," company spokesman John Calagna said in an email.

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