Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • June 24, 2022

    Disability Insurer Did Not Abuse Discretion In Denying Benefits, 2nd Circuit Affirms

    NEW YORK — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in finding that a claimant was not physically disabled from performing the duties of any occupation because substantial medical evidence supports the insurer’s decision and the insurer was not obligated to defer to the opinions of the claimant’s treating physician regarding her ability to work, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 21.

  • June 21, 2022

    Disability Claimant’s Benefits Were Properly Offset, 6th Circuit Panel Determines

    CINCINNATI — A district court did not err in determining that a disability insurer was permitted to offset a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits by the amount of Social Security disability benefits received because the plan clearly allowed the benefits to be offset, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 7.

  • June 16, 2022

    5th Circuit Says Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Properly Applied To LTD Claim

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 15 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a disability insurer properly denied a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits based on the plan’s pre-existing condition exclusion and found no support for the claimant’s argument that the insurer waived its right to assert the pre-existing condition exclusion.

  • June 14, 2022

    Magistrate Judge Says Additional Discovery Not Warranted In Disability Suit

    NEW YORK — A disability claimant is not entitled to seek discovery beyond the administrative record because the claimant failed to provide any support for the allegation that the disability insurer operated under a financial conflict of interest that influenced the denial of her claim for long-term disability benefits, a New York federal magistrate judge said June 10.

  • June 14, 2022

    Disability Claimant Failed To Satisfy 90-Day Elimination Period, Panel Says

    SEATTLE — A district court did not err in granting judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the claimant failed to meet his burden of proving that he satisfied the disability policy’s 90-day elimination period, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 13.

  • June 10, 2022

    Disability Income Insurer Did Not Breach Contract In Paying Partial Benefits

    DETROIT — A disability income insurer did not breach its contract in determining that a disability claimant was entitled to partial disability benefits rather than total disability benefits because the policy’s terms regarding partial disability and total disability are not ambiguous, a Michigan federal judge said June 8 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment.

  • June 10, 2022

    STD Plan Is Not Subject To ERISA; Complaint Must Be Dismissed, Judge Says

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on June 2 adopted a magistrate judge’s May 4 findings and recommendation, agreeing with the magistrate judge that a disability claimant’s suit must be dismissed because the court lacks jurisdiction as the short-term disability (STD) plan at issue is not governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • June 10, 2022

    Medical Evidence Supports Finding That Claimant Is Disabled From Any Occupation

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont federal judge on June 8 entered judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that overwhelming medical evidence supports a finding that the claimant remained disabled under the disability policy’s any-occupation standard.

  • June 09, 2022

    District Court Erred In Dismissing Disability Claimant’s Suit, Panel Says

    NEW YORK — A district court erred in dismissing a disability claimant’s suit alleging that a disability insurer failed to exhaust all administrative remedies in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the insurer failed to issue a final decision on the claim within 45 days as required under ERISA, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 7 in reversing the lower court’s ruling.

  • June 08, 2022

    Arbitrary, Capricious Standard Of Review Applies In Disability Suit, Judge Says

    CHICAGO — A disability insurer was properly granted with the discretionary authority to make claims determinations, and the policy’s discretionary authority provision is not void under Illinois law because Florida law governs the disability policy, an Illinois federal judge said June 1, agreeing with the insurer that an arbitrary and capricious standard of review must be applied in the benefits denial suit.

  • June 08, 2022

    Suit Dismissed; Disability Claimant Failed To Exhaust All Administrative Remedies

    NEW YORK — A disability claimant’s first amended complaint must be dismissed because the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing suit and failed to show that exhaustion of all administrative remedies would be futile, a New York federal judge said June 3 in granting a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss.

  • June 07, 2022

    Reduction Of LTD Benefits Was Not Unreasonable, 2nd Circuit Panel Says

    NEW YORK — A disability insurer’s reduction of long-term disability benefits was not unreasonable because the plan at issue allowed for a reduction in benefits if a claimant returned to work with limitations, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said June 6.

  • June 03, 2022

    Disability Claimant Not Capable Of Working In Any Occupation, Panel Says

    ATLANTA — A disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not reasonable because the disability claimant was not cognitively capable of performing the duties of any occupation based on the claimant’s pain and the side effects of her pain medication, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 1 in reversing a district court’s judgment in favor of the insurer.

  • June 03, 2022

    Former NFL Player Is Entitled To Total, Permanent Disability Benefits, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A former National Football League player is entitled to total and permanent disability benefits under the NFL player retirement plan, a California federal magistrate judge said June 1 after determining that the medical evidence supports a finding that the former player is unable to perform the duties of any occupation.

  • May 27, 2022

    Disability Insurer Not Permitted To Expand Administrative Record

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge on May 13 granted a disability claimant’s motion to preclude a disability insurer from expanding the administrative record because the insurer failed to establish any good cause that would justify the expansion of the administrative record beyond the date on which the claimant’s second appeal was deemed denied.

  • May 26, 2022

    Judgment Properly Granted In Favor Of Disability Insurer, Panel Affirms

    ATLANTA — A district court properly granted judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the disability claimant failed to prove that he was continuously disabled throughout the plan’s elimination period, a necessary requirement to qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 24.

  • May 25, 2022

    Insurer Breached Contract In Denying Surgeon’s Total Disability Benefits Claim

    CHICAGO — A disability insurer breached its contract in denying a claim for total disability benefits because the claimant was unable to perform the duties of his primary occupation as a liver transplant surgeon; however, the insurer did not unreasonably deny coverage, an Illinois federal judge said May 20.

  • May 24, 2022

    9th Circuit Reverses, Remands Denial Of Attorney Fees In Disability Suit

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 20 reversed a district court’s denial of a disability claimant’s motion for attorney fees after determining that the district court failed to properly view the remand of a long-term disability benefits claim as constituting some success on the merits.

  • May 17, 2022

    Insurer Wrongfully Denied LTD Benefits For COVID Long-Haul Symptoms, Claimant Says

    SEATTLE — A disability insurer wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits to an employee suffering from COVID-19 long-haul symptoms because the employee is unable to perform the duties of her own occupation as a result of her symptoms, the employee claims in a May 13 complaint filed in Washington federal court.

  • May 13, 2022

    Plan’s Decision To Terminate Disability Benefits Was Reasonable, Panel Says

    CHICAGO — A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability plan after determining that the decision to terminate a claimant’s short-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious; however, the panel reversed the lower court’s award in favor of the plan for pro hac vice admission fees after determining that those fees are not taxable costs.