HARRISON, Ark. — An Arkansas federal judge on Sept. 15 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation and affirmed a disability insurer's termination of benefits after determining that the disability claimant failed to prove that she continued to be disabled from performing the duties of her former occupation as an account executive (Gena Leanne Whillock v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 18-3089, W.D. Ark., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169862).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on Sept. 15 remanded a former National Football League player's disability claim to the plan administrator after determining that the plan abused its discretion and did not provide the NFL player with a full and fair review as required (Charles Dimry v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 19-5360, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168952).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A disability claimant met her burden of establishing that she was totally disabled from performing the duties of her occupation as a teacher as a result of complications from Lyme disease, a California federal judge said Sept. 11 in entering judgment for the claimant (Tisha Entz v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 19-402, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166814).
BOISE, Idaho — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability benefits because the insurer reasonably relied on the medical opinions of two independent physicians in reaching its decision, an Idaho federal judge said Sept. 9 in granting the disability insurer's motion for summary judgment (Steve Wilstead v. United Heritage Life Insurance Co., No. 19-276, D. Idaho, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166310).
ALEXANDRIA, La. — An occupational therapist seeking to recover disability benefits under a plan issued by her employer cannot allege state law claims for bad faith, breach of contract and detrimental reliance against her employer and disability insurer because the claims are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Louisiana federal judge said Sept. 10 in dismissing the state law claims (Melanie Lewellyan v. Red River Rehab LLC, et al., No. 19-1105, W.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166859).
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Sept. 9 determined that a disability claimant is entitled to almost $195,000 in disability benefits because the disability insurer incorrectly found that the claimant was ineligible for benefits because he was not a full-time employee when he stopped working (James W. Newsom v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-1446, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164088).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A disability insurer's termination of benefits was not de novo wrong based on the medical evidence, a Florida federal judge said Aug. 24 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation that the claimant's motion for summary judgment should be denied and the disability insurer's motion for summary judgment should be granted (Gregory Campbell v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-61695, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155236).
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 26 dismissed a disability claimant's complaint because the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies as required by the disability plan prior to filing suit; however, the judge said the claimant is permitted to file an amended complaint to elaborate on any special circumstances that may have prevented him from filing an administrative appeal (Randall Izydorek v. Unum Group, No. 20-247, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155367).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 vacated a district court's ruling in favor of a disability claimant and remanded the case to allow the lower court to reconsider the disability insurer's termination of benefits under the correct standard of review (Melissa A. McIntyre v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-2367, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26960).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 24 affirmed a district court's ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith because the insurer's denial of benefits was reasonable (Cynthia Cheney v. United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York, et al., No. 19-15649, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26856).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 partially granted a disability claimant's motion to compel answers regarding the criteria used by a disability insurer to award bonuses to its employees after determining that the insurer's initial answer to the claimant's interrogatory was not adequate (Michael F. Adoue v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 19-10500, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149953).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 21 remanded a long-term disability (LTD) claim to a plan administrator after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the claimant was afforded a full and fair review of her LTD benefits claim (Elizabeth F. Bertucci v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 19-10655, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151932).
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Remand to a long-term disability (LTD) plan administrator for consideration of a Social Security Administration (SSA) award of disability benefits is not warranted because the SSA decision and award was not issued until 17 month after the disability insurer denied the LTD claim, an Alabama federal magistrate judge said July 9 (Terry Nunnelly v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 19-1383, N.D. Ala., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147269).
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal magistrate judge on Aug. 17 determined that a disability claimant must respond to interrogatories related to his physical activities as the interrogatories are relevant on the issue of whether the claimant was unusually active for someone experiencing pain (Herbert Jalowsky M.D. v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-279, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149005).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 14 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a bad faith claim and a declaratory judgment claim after determining that the declaratory judgment claim is duplicitous of the breach of contract claim and the bad faith claim is premature (Corrine Belliotti v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 20-61015, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147979).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 affirmed a district court's ruling that attorney fees incurred during an administrative appeal are not recoverable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Juan Castillo v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 19-56093, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25985).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After determining that a disability insurer's denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious, a New Mexico federal judge on Aug. 13 remanded the claim to the plan administrator for reconsideration and for a determination of the date of disability (Paul Chandhok v. Companion Life Insurance Co., No. 19-362, D. N.M., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145347).
MADISON, Wis. — A disability claimant's suit will be transferred to Missouri federal court because the disability insurer met its burden of showing that the Missouri has a greater connection to a disability benefits dispute than Wisconsin, a Wisconsin federal judge said Aug. 13 in granting the insurer's motion to transfer venue (Michael Packman v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-1012, W.D. Wisc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145748).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 10 granted a disability claimant's motion for judgment after determining that a mental health limitation does not apply because the claimant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his disability was not caused by a mental health condition (Hans Furey v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 19-2144, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144049).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 7 denied an insured's motion to remand because the insurance broker who sold the insured the disability income policy at issue was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction (Craig H. Stevens, et al. v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-1119, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142565).