• University of Georgia, A.B. and B.A. (2009) magna cum laude with high honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Foundation Fellowship
  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D. (2013)


  • Georgia
  • New York
  • California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Marlee Santos is a litigation counsel based out of Crowell & Moring’s Orange County and Los Angeles offices. Marlee has substantial experience representing clients at all phases of the litigation process, from pre-litigation counseling through trial and appeals in state and federal courts as well as in arbitration and mediation.

Marlee‘s practice primarily focuses on managed care litigation, representing national health insurance companies and health benefits plans in state, federal, and appellate courts throughout the United States. As a managed care litigator, Marlee manages cases from inception and has successfully defended claims against insurers, plan administrators, employers, and managed care organizations. Marlee has extensive experience litigating claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and regularly helps clients navigate issues involving ERISA, Medicare and Medicaid, payor/provider contract disputes, out-of-network reimbursement disputes, behavioral health disputes, and litigation brought under state and federal mental health parity statutes.

Marlee has also defended consumer-facing companies of all types in individual cases and class actions across the country, including a rigorous Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) practice. Marlee has defended multiple Fortune 50 companies in TCPA class actions, while consistently obtaining successful outcomes for her clients. Her practice has also included representing national, regional, and local banks; nonbank lenders; and mortgage-servicing companies in federal and state litigation, including in claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and other federal and state consumer protection statutes, and common law. Marlee’s complex commercial litigation experience includes a variety of practice areas, including bankruptcy, construction, intellectual property, real estate and related complex civil litigation matters.


Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Member, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy 
  • Advocate, Community Action Fund of Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernadino Counties

Representative Matters

  • Represented Fortune 50 managed care provider in an ERISA § 1132(a) matter in federal court where plaintiff alleged payor improperly denied benefits relating to Proton Beam Radiation Therapy (PBRT) to treat his prostate cancer. On summary judgment, the court confirmed that records evidenced the payor’s reasonable review and proper reliance on its medical policies, guidelines, and literature, as required by the underlying health benefits plan, in denying the benefits at issue. The court entered judgment in the payor’s favor. 
  • Represented Fortune 50 managed care provider in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, obtaining a unanimous decision that affirmed dismissal of a case against a New York health insurance company involving medical necessity determinations and behavioral health claims under ERISA. 
  • Lead counsel in dozens of case dismissals for major national health insurance companies in federal and state courts in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and California involving ERISA claims under § 502(a)(1)(B), breaches of fiduciary duties, and quasi-contractual and fraud claims. 
  • Represented Fortune 50 managed care provider in a TCPA putative class action matter in federal court case regarding prerecorded message calls. Won summary judgment in this first-of-its-kind decision regarding exceptions and exemptions to the TCPA. 
  • Represented Fortune 50 managed care provider in TCPA putative class action matter in federal court case regarding prerecorded calls to Medicaid members. Reached favorable settlement after winning partial summary judgment and multiple discovery disputes.


  • "Tenth Circuit Develops New ERISA Rule in Ellis v. Liberty Assurance Company of Boston," LexBlog (May 18, 2020). Authors: Virginia Bell Flynn, Chad R. Fuller, Tina Safi Felahi, and Marlee Santos.
  • "6th Circ. Ruling Jeopardizes ERISA Exhaustion Defense," Law360 (April 16, 2020). Authors: Jenna Nguyen, Marlee Waxelbaum, Virginia Flynn and Chad Fuller.
  • "FCC Says 'Think Twice' Before Assuming COVID-19 Calls Qualify Under the Emergency Purpose Exception to the TCPA," LexBlog (March 25, 2020). Authors: Virginia Bell Flynn, Chad R. Fuller, Alan D. Wingfield and Marlee Santos.
  • "New York’s Extended Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Set Stage for National Regulation," LexBlog (November 22, 2019). Authors: Virginia Flynn and Marlee Santos.
  • "Pretrial Defenses For Payors Facing Quasi-Contract Claims," Law360 (November 15, 2019). Authors: Virginia Flynn, Tina Felahi and Marlee Waxelbaum.
  • "The ‘Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule’ and Pushing the Bounds Post-‘McCulloch’" New York Law Journal (March 9, 2018). Authors: Matthew J. Aaronson, Amanda Lyn Genovese and Marlee Waxelbaum.