NEW ORLEANS — A disability claimant’s complaint must be dismissed because the claimant failed to file suit against the disability insurer within three years as required by the disability plan’s applicable and enforceable contractual limitation period, a Louisiana federal judge said Jan. 24 (Gregory Scott Sr. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-9294, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12299).
NEW YORK — A trial court erred in denying a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a claim alleging violation of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA) because a wrongful denial of benefits claim is not actionable under the NJCFA and the claimant failed to allege any deceitful conduct related to the procurement or issuance of the disability policy, the First Department of the New York Supreme Appellate Division said Jan. 23 (Yochanan Bulka v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 657560/17, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 470).
MOBILE, Ala. — A de novo standard of review must be applied in a disability benefits dispute because the disability insurer failed to provide the claimant with a full and fair review as required by the Department of Labor regulations governing disability claims, an Alabama federal judge said Jan. 21 in granting a disability claimant’s motion for partial summary judgment (Brian McConnell v. American General Life Insurance Co., No. 19-0174, S.D. Ala., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9605).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas federal judge on Jan. 23 remanded a disability benefits dispute to Kansas state court after determining that the only federal claim asserted by the claimant must be dismissed for failure to state a claim (Sheila Hunnell Villines v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 19-2581, D. Kan., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11053).
SAN FRANCISCO — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the evidence supports the insurer’s finding that the claimant was not totally disabled from performing the duties of any occupation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 16 (Dyel O. Talbot v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-15375, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1657).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 15 denied a disability claimant’s motion for rehearing en banc, refusing to reconsider its ruling that a district court did not err in applying an abuse-of-discretion standard of review in a disability suit because the plan administrator’s conduct did not rise to the level of requiring a de novo review of the plan’s denial of benefits (Olga Gorbacheva v. Abbott Laboratories Extended Disability Plan, et al., Nos. 18-15400, 18-16178, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1376).
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 13 denied a disability income insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on a bad faith claim because the insured provided sufficient evidence from which a jury could find that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying the claim for disability income benefits (Joseph D. Dileo v. Federated Life Insurance Co., No. 18-628, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5003).
NEW ORLEANS — A disability insurer wrongfully denied a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits based on the plan’s pre-existing condition exclusion because the back injury the claimant sustained while working was not caused by the claimant’s pre-existing degenerative back condition, a Louisiana federal judge said Jan. 13 in awarding the claimant past and future LTD benefits (Karl Meche v, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 18-3995, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5200).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge on Jan. 8 recommended granting a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insurer’s calculation of monthly disability benefits was not unreasonable (Jason Brand v. Narco Freedom Inc., et al., No. 15-5021, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3813).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A disability claimant’s allegations against Kentucky’s insurance commissioner and the Kentucky Department of Insurance (DOI) must be dismissed, a Kentucky federal judge said Jan. 9 after determining that the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies with the commissioner and the DOI (Charles A. Knoppe v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-264, W.D. Ky., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3612).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 7 vacated and remanded a disability claimant’s suit seeking long-term disability benefits after determining that a district court erred in failing to consider letters from the claimant’s treating physicians who were not provided with the opportunity to rebut the opinion of one of the insurer’s examining physicians (Lea Wagenstein v. Cigna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-55955, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 482).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Jan. 3 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment and denied a disability claimant’s motion for summary judgment after determining that an orthopedic surgeon is not entitled to total disability benefits for the periods in which he returned to work because he was still able to complete the majority of his responsibilities as an orthopedic surgeon even though he was unable to perform surgeries (Richard Sternberg v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 17-8523, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1718).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Jan. 3 dismissed a former National Football League (NFL) player’s complaint seeking additional disability benefits because the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and because the issue of the denial of benefits was litigated in a previous suit filed by the former player (Delvin Williams v. The NFL Player Supplemental Disability Plan et al., No. 19-4236, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1551).
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal judge on Jan. 3 granted a disability insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment after determining that a disability claimant failed to prove that the insurer’s termination of disability benefits caused the claimant to sustain consequential damages in the form of lost employer-provided health and life insurance (Matthew J. Christoff v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 17-3515, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 808).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Dec. 31 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a claimant’s bad faith claim after determining that the bad faith claim cannot proceed without the breach of contract claim, which was dismissed in a prior ruling by the court (James H. Pogue v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 14-599, W.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 222947).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 23 affirmed a district court’s ruling that the denial of a claim for short-term disability (STD) benefits was not unreasonable after determining that the claimant failed to present a valid basis for reversal (Jacqueline E. Presi v. Ascension Health Alliance, doing business as Ascension, et al., No. 19-1792, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 38198).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A disability claimant is entitled to short-term disability and long-term disability benefits because the claimant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that she met all four conditions listed in the disability plan to qualify for benefits, a Michigan federal judge said Dec. 17 (Brenda Counts v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 18-12312, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 216274).
TACOMA, Wash. — A disability insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for short-term disability benefits because the disability claimant failed to prove that he was disabled from performing the duties of his own occupation prior to his termination, a Washington federal judge said Dec. 16 (James M. Kollar v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 19-5180, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215947).
ST. LOUIS — A district court properly entered judgment for a disability insurer because the insurer did not wrongfully terminate a claimant’s long-term disability benefits based on its determination that the claimant's mental illness was not caused by a physical disability, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 16 (Diane Miller v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 19-1096, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 37168).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Dec. 13 partially granted a disability claimant’s motion to compel supplementary responses regarding information related to the supervision of the claimant’s disability benefits investigation but denied the claimant’s motion to compel the deposition of a claims analyst because the claimant failed to meet the court’s scheduling deadline for deposition requests (Jennifer Lee Smith v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 19-61, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215084).