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Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • June 10, 2019

    High Court Denies Disability Claimant’s Petition To Review Termination Of Benefits Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 10 denied a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to review the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ finding that a disability insurer had a reasonable basis for terminating the claimant’s disability benefits (Timothy P. O’Leary v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1266, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 10, 2019

    ERISA Preempts State Law Claims; Disability Suit Barred By Plan’s Suit Limitation

    CHICAGO — A district court did not err in finding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a disability claimant’s state law claims and that the claimant’s complaint is barred by the disability plan’s three-year suit limitation, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 7 (Teresa Di Joseph v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-2178, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 17127).

  • June 7, 2019

    NFL Player’s Disability Benefits Award Supported By Evidence, Plan Argues

    ATLANTA — A district court did not err in granting a disability plan’s motion for judgment on the administrative record because the plan’s award of disability benefits to a former National Football League (NFL) player was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence, the plan argues in its June 5 brief to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Darren Mickell v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan, No. 19-10651, 11th Cir.).

  • June 5, 2019

    Disability Insurer, Claimant Reach Agreement In Dispute Over Calculation Of Benefits

    SAN FRANCISCO — Following the settlement of a long-term disability (LTD) benefits dispute, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 3 dismissed the disability insurer’s appeal of a district court decision to remand the claim to the plan administrator to recalculate the claimant’s monthly benefits to include the claimant’s commissions and monthly and quarterly bonuses (Remy Renault v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, et al., No. 19-55254, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16740).

  • June 5, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Bad Faith, Breach Of Contract Suit Dismissed As Untimely

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on May 31 dismissed a disability claimant’s complaint after determining that the claimant’s breach of contract and bad faith allegations are barred by the policy’s three-year limitations provision and Delaware’s applicable three-year statute of limitations (Douglas Kuber v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-80151, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92468).

  • June 4, 2019

    Evidence Supports Insurer’s Termination Of Disability Benefits, Panel Affirms

    SEATTLE — A district court did not err in entering judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the insurer’s termination of benefits is supported by sufficient evidence, the Ninth  Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 31 (Todd J. Mickel v. Unum Group, dba Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 18-35178, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16354).

  • June 4, 2019

    Federal Magistrate Recommends Dismissal Of Disability Claimant’s Bad Faith Suit

    MIAMI — A Florida federal magistrate judge on May 31 recommended that a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss be granted after determining that the claimant failed to state a claim for breach of contract and cannot allege a bad faith claim until a determination of liability is made (Rodolfo Molina v. Provident Life & Accident Co., No. 18-24413, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92479).

  • June 3, 2019

    Issues Of Fact Exist As To Whether Claimant Is Owed Total Disability Benefits

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on May 30 denied a disability income insurer’s motion for summary judgment and referred the disability claimant’s suit to a federal magistrate judge for a settlement conference after determining that questions of fact exist as to whether the claimant was entitled to total disability benefits under the policy (Joseph J. Thomas v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 18-14166, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90543).

  • May 29, 2019

    Overpayment Claim In NFL Disability Benefits Dispute Will Proceed

    TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on May 28 allowed a former National Football League player’s claim regarding overpayment of disability benefits to proceed after determining that the overpayment issue is separate and distinct from the issue of whether the plan abused its discretion in terminating the player’s benefits (Tyrone Keys v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 18-2098, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88486).

  • May 29, 2019

    LTD Benefits Owed; Claimant Is Not Capable Of Working In Any Occupation, Judge Says

    MINNEAPOLIS — A disability claimant is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits under a plan’s any-occupation standard because the evidence clearly shows that the claimant is not capable of working in a sedentary position as a result of her disability, a Minnesota federal judge said May 28 (Melissa A. McIntyre v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 17-5134, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88536).

  • May 29, 2019

    Alabama Federal Judge Denies Disability Insurers’ Confidentiality Motion

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama federal judge on May 17 denied a motion to uphold confidentiality designationin a disability benefits dispute after determining that the insurers failed to prove how they would be harmed if a number of exhibits are disclosed (Horace R. Theriot Jr. v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 18-688, M.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87538).

  • May 28, 2019

    Breach Of Fiduciary Claim Against Disability Insurer To Proceed, Judge Says

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas federal judge on May 24 denied a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of fiduciary duty claim arising out of the insurer’s administration of a plan participant’s benefits claim because dismissal of the breach of fiduciary allegation would be premature (Kelly Dean Brende v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., Nos. 15-9711, 19-2042, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87777).

  • May 28, 2019

    High Court Denies Petition, Allows Ruling In Disability Insurer’s Favor To Stand

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 28 denied a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to review the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that the disability claimant was not disabled from his own occupation as an anesthesiologist because the medical evidence supported the insurer’s finding that the claimant could perform the duties of his own occupation with appropriate accommodations (Timothy O’Neill D.O. v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 18-1305, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 24, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit Remanded

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A disability claimant’s breach of contract and bad faith suit must be remanded to state court because the insurer failed to prove that the claimant is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, a California federal judge said May 23 (Sabrina Dakak v. Fidelity Security Life Insurance Co., No. 19-247, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87367).

  • May 24, 2019

    Disability Insurer Did Not Have To Consider Each Of Claimant’s Unique Job Duties

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 reversed and remanded a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the insurer’s denial of benefits was not an abuse of discretion because, according to Fifth Circuit precedent, the insurer properly considered the general duties of the claimant’s regular occupation and did not have to account for each of the claimant’s unique job duties (Juanita Nichols v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 18-60499, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15396).

  • May 23, 2019

    Disability Benefits Properly Calculated According To Plan Terms, Panel Says

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 21 determined that a district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer properly calculated a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the claimant’s benefits were calculated in accordance with the plan’s terms (Deborah A. Johnson v. General Electric Co. et al., No. 18-35581, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15019).

  • May 22, 2019

    LTD Benefits Must Be Paid Based On Claimant’s Full Salary, Judge Determines

    CHICAGO — A disability claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits must be based on the claimant’s full salary and not a reduced salary incorrectly implemented for two months by his employer because the terms of the claimant’s employment agreement provided that the claimant would receive a full salary beyond the date upon which the claimant became disabled, an Illinois federal judge said May 21 in granting the claimant’s motion for summary judgment (David Schewitz, M.D. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-6119, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85157).

  • May 21, 2019

    Disability Benefits Owed To Claimant, Alabama Federal Judge Determines

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A disability claimant is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits under his employer’s disability plan because the evidence supports a finding that the claimant was unable to perform the material duties of his regular occupation, an Alabama federal judge said May 20 in granting the claimant’s motion for summary judgment (Bobby Johns Wiley v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-1936, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84077).

  • May 21, 2019

    Disability Claimant Appeals Ruling For Plan In LTD Benefits Dispute

    ATLANTA — A disability claimant filed a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 19, seeking review of a Florida federal court’s finding that a disability plan’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable based on the evidence considered by the plan administrator (Shenita Sapp v. AT&T Services Inc., et al., No. 19-11471, 11th Cir.).

  • May 15, 2019

    Disability Insurer Removes Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit To Federal Court

    LOS ANGELES — A disability claimant’s suit seeking benefits under an individual disability income policy and alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith must be removed to California federal court because the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000, the insurer maintains in a May 14 notice of removal (Julie Borba, M.D. v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-4172, C.D. Calif.).

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