Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • July 02, 2020

    8th Circuit Says Evidence Supports Disability Plan’s Denial Of Benefits

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a disability plan’s decision to deny a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence (Harry DaPron v. Spire Inc. Retirement Plans Committee, No. 19-2166, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20520).

  • July 01, 2020

    Dismissal Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims In Disability Insurance Suit Upheld

    ATLANTA — A federal district court did not err in dismissing a claimant’s insurance breach of contract and bad faith claims against a disability insurer because the claims were time-barred under Delaware’s three-year statute of limitations provision, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 30 in a per curiam opinion (Douglas Kuber v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-80151, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20371).

  • June 30, 2020

    Judge Adopts Recommendation To Grant Summary Judgment In Favor Of Disability Insurer

    HOUSTON — A  Texas federal judge on June 26 rejected a disability claimant’s objections and adopted a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to grant a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a dispute over a pre-existing condition exclusion (Lisa K. Bunner v. Dearborn National Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-1820, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113181). 

  • June 30, 2020

    Disability Claimant Is Owed Own-Occupation Disability Benefits, Federal Judge Says

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A disability insurer must pay long-term disability (LTD) benefits to a claimant for the entirety of the disability plan’s own-occupation period because the claimant met her burden of proving that she was disabled from performing the duties of her own occupation, a California federal judge said June 16 (Nancy DeVries v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 19-1499, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105555).

  • June 26, 2020

    Disability Plan’s Forum- Selection Clause Is Valid, California Federal Judge Says

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on June 23 granted a disability insurer’s motion to change venue to Ohio federal court because the disability policy’s forum-selection clause is applicable and valid (Porfirio Sanchez v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-38, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110019).

  • June 25, 2020

    Disability Claimant’s Monthly Benefits Were Properly Reduced, Judge Says

    PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on June 24 determined that a disability claimant is not entitled to lifetime disability benefits of $10,000 per month because the disability policy at issue clearly states that monthly benefits will be reduced to $1,000 per month after age 65 (Charles D. Tucker v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 18-194, W.D. Ky., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110677).

  • June 23, 2020

    Medical Evidence Supports Finding That Claimant Was Not Disabled From Own Occupation

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on June 18 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for long-term disability (LTD) because the medical evidence supported the insurer’s finding that the claimant was not disabled from her own occupation (Claire Refaey v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 18-588, W.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107300).

  • June 22, 2020

    Attorney Fee Award Of Almost $125K Warranted In Disability Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on June 19 awarded a disability claimant almost $125,000 in attorney fees and prejudgment interest because the claimant achieved some success on the merits as the court previously determined that the claimant is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits under the disability plan’s own-occupation standard (Anis Shaikh v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-4394, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107923).

  • June 22, 2020

    Panel Affirms Ruling In Favor Of Employer In Disability Benefits Suit

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 affirmed a district court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an employer because the employer did not breach any fiduciary duty to the disability claimant (Ronald P. Boyles v. American Heritage Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-2145,  3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19233).

  • June 17, 2020

    Disability Plan Did Not Abuse Discretion In Denying LTD Claim, Panel Says

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 15 affirmed a district court’s ruling that the denial of a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) claim was not an abuse of discretion because the plan’s decision was reasonable based on the opinions of four independent reviewers (Holly Odd v. Delta Air Lines Inc. et al., No. 19-55555, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18837).

  • June 16, 2020

    Disability Insurer Did Not Abuse Its Discretion, Federal Judge Says In Adopting Report

    AMARILLO, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 12 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that judgment be entered in favor of a disability insurer because the disability claimant failed to prove that the insurer abused its discretion in terminating the claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits (John Ingerson v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 18-227, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103754).

  • June 16, 2020

    Disability Insurer Did Not Abuse Its Discretion, Federal Judge Says In Adopting Report

    AMARILLO, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 12 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that judgment be entered in favor of a disability insurer because the disability claimant failed to prove that the insurer abused its discretion in terminating the claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits (John Ingerson v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 18-227, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103754).

  • June 16, 2020

    Disability Insurer Met Burden Of Proving Bad Faith Suit Belongs In Federal Court

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on June 15 denied a disability claimant’s motion to remand a breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that the disability insurer met its burden of proving that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000 (Roger Bourban v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-3376, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103994).

  • June 16, 2020

    Magistrate Judge Allows Some Changes To Doctor’s Deposition Testimony In Disability Suit

    TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal magistrate judge on June 15 partially granted a disability claimant’s motion to strike corrections to the deposition of a disability insurer’s physician after determining that only corrective changes to the deposition are permitted and not contradictory changes to answers provided in the deposition (Herbert Jalowsky M.D. v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-279, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104311).

  • June 15, 2020

    Reconsideration Of Decision In LTD Insurer’s Favor Is Not Warranted, Judge Says

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on June 12 denied a disability claimant’s motion for reconsideration after determining that the claimant failed to establish that there has been any intervening change in the controlling law (Michael G. Miller v. Reliance Standard Insurance Co., No. 18-10028, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103032).

  • June 09, 2020

    Disability Claimant Alleges Insurer Used Pandemic To Delay Decision On Appeal

    DENVER — A disability claimant alleges in a June 8 complaint filed in Colorado federal court that a disability insurer used the COVID-19 pandemic to delay making a decision on her appeal of the insurer’s termination of her long-term disability (LTD) benefits (Windy Nesti v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 20-1642, D. Colo.).

  • June 08, 2020

    Federal Judge Says Bad Faith Claim In Disability Suit Will Proceed

    TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on June 5 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim but denied the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a bad faith claim after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the disability insurer investigated the claimant’s injury (Jody Fees v. American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus [Aflac], No. 19-476, N.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99107).

  • June 08, 2020

    Federal Judge Stays Disability Claimant’s Suit To Allow For Second-Level Appeal

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on June 5 stayed a disability claimant’s suit to allow the claimant to file a second-level administrative appeal pursuant to the terms of the plan (Robert Westray v. Amazon and Subsidiaries Short Term Disability Plan, No. 19-3290, S.D. Ind., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98973).

  • June 05, 2020

    Claimant Met Burden Of Proving She May Be Disabled From Own Occupation

    PHILADELPHIA — A disability claimant met her burden of proving that her physical limitations and cognitive deficits may render her disabled from her own occupation, a Pennsylvania federal judge said May 28 in remanding the long-term disability (LTD) claim to the plan administrator (Andrea M. Pesacov v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 19-2789, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93883).

  • June 04, 2020

    Denial Of Disability Benefits Was Reasonable Based On Lack Of Medical Evidence

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on June 1 determined that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for short-term disability (STD) benefits because the denial of benefits was reasonable based on the lack of medical evidence (James Allan Willitts Sr. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 18-11908, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95405).