Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • April 30, 2019

    Denial Of Disability Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion, Oregon Federal Judge Says

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on April 29 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the insurer’s decision was not unreasonable based on the evidence (Alison Gary v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-1414, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71740).

  • April 30, 2019

    Disability, Life Insurance Plan Not Exempt From ERISA, Federal Judge Says

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A disability and life insurance plan provided to employees of a public library is not exempt under the governmental agency exception in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the library does not qualify as an agency of the government of New York City or the borough of Brooklyn, a New York federal judge said April 18 in denying the disability claimant’s motion to remand (Brian J. Skornick v. Principal Financial Group, et al., No. 18-4324, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66124).

  • April 30, 2019

    Jury Verdict In Favor Of Disability Claimant Supported By Evidence

    DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on April 26 denied a disability insurer’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law after determining that a jury’s verdict in favor of the disability claimant was supported by the evidence presented at trial (Brenda Sandoval v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-644, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70891).

  • April 29, 2019

    Claimant Not Disabled From Regular Occupation, 5th Circuit Panel Says

    NEW ORLEANS — A district court did not err in granting a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment because the insurer properly denied a claim for long-term disability benefits under the policy, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 26 in noting that the claimant is not disabled from his regular occupation (Deo G. Shanker v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 18-20616, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12555).

  • April 26, 2019

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Reasonable Based On Evidence, Panel Says

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed a district court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer’s termination of long-term disability benefits was reasonable based on the evidence considered by the insurer (Kenneth Baker v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 17-2048, 3rd Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12415).

  • April 23, 2019

    Discovery Is Limited To Administrative Record, Texas Federal Judge Says

    DALLAS — Additional discovery regarding a disability insurer’s alleged conflict of interest and procedural unreasonableness is not warranted because under the applicable de novo standard of review, discovery is limited to the administrate record, a Texas federal judge said April 22 in denying the disability claimant’s motion to compel discovery (Jose Chavez v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 18-2013, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67669).

  • April 23, 2019

    Disability Claimant Defends Anti-Insurer Gripe Site, Opposes Contempt Motion

    PORTLAND, Maine — Stating that his insurer’s attorney “whines like a harpy,” a pro se defendant filed a brief in Maine federal court April 12, opposing a motion for contempt by his long-term disability (LTD) provider over his relaunch of a website critical of the insurer that purportedly contained information that he was forbidden to post pursuant to a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit alleging defamation and trademark and copyright infringement (Symetra Life Insurance Co. v. Guy Raymond Emerson, No. 2:18-cv-00492, D. Maine).

  • April 15, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Suit Is Barred By Policy’s 3-Year Limitations Provision

    NEW YORK — A district court did not err in finding that a disability claimant’s suit is barred by a disability policy’s three-year limitations provision because the limitations provision is not unreasonably short and the claimant did not file suit until more than seven years later, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 12 in affirming the lower court’s opinion (Susan Arkun v. Unum Group, et al., No. 17-3354, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10843).

  • April 12, 2019

    Disability Claimant Urges High Court To Address Issue Of Discretionary Authority

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A disability claimant urges the U.S. Supreme Court in a March 29 petition for writ of certiorari to accept review of his disability suit to resolve the question of whether a plan fiduciary with discretionary authority should be given deference over compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s claims procedures and regulations (Timothy P. O’Leary v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1266, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1278).

  • April 12, 2019

    Disability Claimant Denied Full, Fair Review, Arkansas Federal Judge Determines

    FORT SMITH, Ark. — An Arkansas federal judge on April 9 determined that a disability claimant was deprived of a full and fair review of her disability claim because the plan administrator failed to identify and consider the material duties of the claimant’s occupation (Dinora Reyes v. USAble Life, et al., No. 18-2075, W.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61002).

  • April 11, 2019

    Evidence Supports Finding That Claimant Is Disabled From Any Occupation

    DETROIT — A disability claimant’s benefits must be reinstated because the evidence supports a finding that the claimant is not capable of performing the duties of any occupation, a Michigan federal judge said April 10 (Carianne DeRoo v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 18-11216, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61531).

  • April 09, 2019

    Substantial Evidence Supports Disability Insurer’s Termination Of Benefits

    NEW ORLEANS — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because substantial evidence supported the insurer’s finding that the claimant was not disabled from her own occupation as an attorney as a result of migraine headaches, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 4 (Amanda C. Foster v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 17-30997, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9946).

  • April 09, 2019

    Bench Trial To Be Held In Long-Term Disability Benefits Dispute

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on April 5 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that a bench trial be scheduled in a disability benefits dispute because issues of fact exist regarding the claimant’s ability to perform the duties of his own occupation (Farooq Khan v. Provident Life & Accident Co., No. 15-811, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59204).

  • April 08, 2019

    Bench Trial To Be Held In Long-Term Disability Benefits Dispute

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on April 5 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that a bench trial be scheduled in a disability benefits dispute because issues of fact exist regarding the claimant’s ability to perform the duties of his own occupation (Farooq Khan v. Provident Life & Accident Co., No. 15-811, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59204).

  • April 05, 2019

    Denial Of Attorney Fees In Disability Suit Must Be Reversed, Panel Majority Says

    CINCINNATI — A district court erred in denying a disability claimant’s request for attorney fees because the disability insurer’s decision-making process in denying benefits was not legally supported, the majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 1 in reversing the lower court’s ruling (Kimberly J. Guest-Marcotte v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 18-1948, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9481).

  • April 05, 2019

    Disability Claimant Entitled To Increased Monthly Benefits Under Plan, Panel Says

    DENVER — A disability insurer incorrectly classified a disability claimant’s employment position with a pharmaceutical company, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 2 after determining that the evidence supports a district court’s conclusion that the claimant’s position qualified as a sales position under the plan, entitling the claimant to an increased amount of monthly disability benefits (Lou Hodges v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-1279, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9601).

  • April 02, 2019

    Panel Says Denial Of LTD Benefits Was Reasonable Based On Evidence

    BOSTON — A disability plan did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the plan’s decision to deny the claim after determining that the claimant was not physically disabled from performing the duties of his sedentary occupation was reasonable and supported by the evidence, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 29 (Dionisio Santana-Díaz v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 17-1428, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9368).

  • April 01, 2019

    Denial Of Short-Term Disability Benefits Was Not An Abuse Of Discretion

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A disability plan claims administrator did not abuse its discretion in denying a claimant’s short-term disability (STD) benefits claim, a North Carolina federal judge said March 28 after determining that the claims administrator’s decision was supported by substantial evidence (Eric Jones v. Charter Communications Short Term Disability Plan, No. 17-863, M.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52345).

  • March 29, 2019

    Disability Claimant Permitted To Allege Breach Of Contract Claim Under Alabama Law

    INDIANAPOLIS — A disability claimant is permitted to file an amended complaint to allege a breach of contract claim under Alabama law against a disability income insurer, an Indiana federal judge said March 28 after determining that Alabama law must be applied to the disability benefits dispute (Chad E. Mathis, M.D. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., a/k/a MetLife, et al., No. 18-1893, S.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52703).

  • March 29, 2019

    Disability Insurer’s Denial Of Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion, Judge Says

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a long-term disability (LTD) benefits claim because the insurer considered all of the medical evidence and consulted with two physicians before denying the claim, a West Virginia federal judge said March 27 (Genka Popov v. University Physicians & Surgeons Inc. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 18-296, S.D. W.Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51685).

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