PORTLAND, Ore. — A disability claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits must be reinstated because the claimant is clearly disabled from performing the duties of her own occupation as an attorney, an Oregon federal magistrate judge said May 7 (Bethany Coleman-Fire v. Standard Insurance Co., No.18-180, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76726).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal magistrate judge on May 7 upheld a disability plan’s decision to deny a claimant’s long-term disability benefits after determining that the plan’s decision was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence (Harry DaPron v. Spire Inc. Retirement Plans Committee, No. 17-2671, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76828).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a May 6 complaint filed in Rhode Island federal court, a disability claimant who was employed by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as a casino dealer in Connecticut alleges that the Tribal Nation and its disability insurer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they terminated her long-term disability (LTD) benefits (Nubia Mazzarese v. Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, et al., No. 19-260, D. R.I.).
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on May 3 denied a disability claimant’s motion to exclude the plan’s insurance certificate and appointment of claim fiduciary form from the administrative record after determining that the claimant failed to provide any citation to statutory or case law that requires the exclusion of the documents from the administrative record based on the claim administrator’s failure to provide the documents to the claimant upon request (Joleen M. Lerch v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-589, W.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74946).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari because the questions presented by the claimant were not litigated in the lower courts and, therefore, are not suitable for the high court’s review, the insurer argues in a May 2 response brief (Timothy P. O’Leary v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1266, U.S. Sup.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on May 1 recommended granting a disability claimant’s motion for attorney fees and costs after determining that the claimant achieved some success on the merits of his claim (Eric Dmuchowsky v. Sky Chefs Inc., No. 18-1559, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73752).
SALT LAKE CITY — A disability insurer wrongfully denied a claim for long-term disability benefits because the claimant was still considered an employee of the company when his disability arose, a Utah federal judge said April 29 in finding that the insurer incorrectly determined that the employee was no longer insured under the company’s disability plan (David G. Carlile v. Reliance Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1049, D. Utah, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72687).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).