WASHINGTON, D.C. — A district court properly dismissed a disability claimant’s suit because the claimant released his right to file suit against the disability plan when he accepted a severance package and signed a release relinquishing his right to file suit against his former employer and its employee benefit programs, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Feb. 23.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Feb. 16 determined that the termination of a disability claimant’s short-term disability (STD) benefits was not an abuse of discretion as the decision was the result of a deliberate and principled reasoning process and was supported by substantial evidence.
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 22 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a disability claimant is eligible for disability benefits because the term “active” as used in the disability plan at issue to describe a plan participant’s full-time employment is ambiguous and must be construed in the disability claimant’s favor.
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 17 determined that a disability claimant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that complications from diabetes rendered him disabled under the terms of a disability plan.
WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas federal magistrate judge on Feb. 16 denied a disability claimant’s motion to conduct discovery after determining that the claimant failed to show that any exceptional circumstances exist that would warrant extra-record discovery.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 reversed and remanded a ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the disability policy’s self-reported limitations provision is subject to a California insurance law that bars the application of a self-reported limitations provision in disability contracts.
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the lower court did not err in finding that the disability claimant was not totally disabled and was capable of performing light work.
PITTSBURGH — A disability insurer’s denial of long-term (LTD) disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious because the insurer operated under an inherent conflict of interest and the insurer’s record review was selective and incomplete, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 10 in entering judgment for the disability claimant.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge on Feb. 4 denied a disability claimant’s motion for an interlocutory appeal on the issue of whether a disability plan is a church plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act after determining that there is no substantial ground for difference of opinion that would warrant an interlocutory appeal.
SAN FRANCISCO — A disability insurer did not act in bad faith in terminating a claimant’s benefits because the insurer conducted a reasonable and fair investigation of the claim, a California federal judge said Feb. 8 in granting the insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on the bad faith claim.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Feb. 5 granted a disability claimant’s motion for judgment after determining that the disability insurer failed to give proper weight to the claimant’s consistent and corroborated reports of chronic pain.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio federal judge on Feb. 3 granted motions for judgment on the pleadings filed by a disability insurer and disability plan administrator on a claim seeking statutory penalties after determining that an administrative claim file does not fall into any of the document types required to be produced under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act .
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Feb. 1 recommended denying a motion to dismiss filed by a disability insurer and a third-party administrator after determining that the defendants failed to sustain their burden of proving that the plan participant’s claims related to the offset of his disability benefits are moot based on the insurer’s decision to terminate the offset.
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 1 denied the majority of a motion for summary judgment filed by disability insurers after determining that a reasonable person could conclude that a disability claimant was owed benefits under the policies based on updated medical evidence provided to the insurers.
CHICAGO — A disability claimant’s suit was timely filed under Michigan’s applicable statute of limitations for breach of contract actions, an Illinois federal judge concluded Feb. 2 in applying the disability income policy’s applicable Michigan law.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 2 granted a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a disability claimant’s amended complaint after determining that the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies and that the claimant’s letter to the insurer cannot be considered an administrative appeal because it was not filed within 180 days of the insurer’s termination of benefits.
ATLANTA — A district court did not err in granting judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the disability’s insurer’s denial of a long-term disability benefits claim was not arbitrary and capricious and was supported by the medical evidence, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 29.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Dec. 24 denied motions for summary judgment in a disability income benefits suit after determining that issues of material facts exist regarding the onset of a claimant’s disability and whether the claimant is totally disabled under the terms of the policy.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Jan. 12 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was supported by substantial evidence.
FORT SMITH, Ark. — An Arkansas federal judge on Jan. 25 granted summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer properly found that the claimant was not owed additional benefits because she failed to meet the plan’s definition of total disability.