Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • September 14, 2020

    State Law Claims Alleged Against Employer, Disability Insurer Are Preempted

    ALEXANDRIA, La. — An occupational therapist seeking to recover disability benefits under a plan issued by her employer cannot allege state law claims for bad faith, breach of contract and detrimental reliance against her employer and disability insurer because the claims are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Louisiana federal judge said Sept. 10 in dismissing the state law claims (Melanie Lewellyan v. Red River Rehab LLC, et al., No. 19-1105, W.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166859).

  • September 11, 2020

    Disability Claimant Is Entitled To More Than $190K In Disability Benefits

    DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Sept. 9 determined that a disability claimant is entitled to almost $195,000 in disability benefits because the disability insurer incorrectly found that the claimant was ineligible for benefits because he was not a full-time employee when he stopped working (James W. Newsom v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-1446, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164088).

  • August 28, 2020

    Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Not De Novo Wrong, Judge Determines

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. —  A disability insurer's termination of benefits was not de novo wrong based on the medical evidence, a Florida federal judge said Aug. 24 in adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation that the claimant's motion for summary judgment should be denied and the disability insurer's motion for summary judgment should be granted (Gregory Campbell v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-61695, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155236).

  • August 28, 2020

    Disability Suit Dismissed Without Prejudice For Failure To Exhaust Remedies

    TAMPA, Fla. —  A Florida federal judge on Aug. 26 dismissed a disability claimant's complaint because the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies as required by the disability plan prior to filing suit; however, the judge said the claimant is permitted to file an amended complaint to elaborate on any special circumstances that may have prevented him from filing an administrative appeal (Randall Izydorek v. Unum Group, No. 20-247, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155367).

  • August 26, 2020

    District Court Applied Wrong Standard Of Review In Disability Suit, Panel Says

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 vacated a district court's ruling in favor of a disability claimant and remanded the case to allow the lower court to  reconsider the disability insurer's termination of benefits under the correct standard of review (Melissa A. McIntyre v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-2367, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26960).

  • August 25, 2020

    Disability Insurer Did Not Breach Contract, Act In Bad Faith In Denying Claim

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 24 affirmed a district court's ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith because the insurer's denial of benefits was reasonable (Cynthia Cheney v. United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York, et al., No. 19-15649, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26856).

  • August 25, 2020

    Disability Insurer Must Provide More Information On Criteria For Awarding Bonuses

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 partially granted a disability claimant's motion to compel answers regarding the criteria used by a disability insurer to award bonuses to its employees after determining that the insurer's initial answer to the claimant's interrogatory was not adequate (Michael F. Adoue v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 19-10500, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149953).

  • August 24, 2020

    LTD Claim Remanded To Plan Administrator For Full And Fair Review

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 21 remanded a long-term disability (LTD) claim to a plan administrator after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the claimant was afforded a full and fair review of her LTD benefits claim (Elizabeth F. Bertucci v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 19-10655, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151932).

  • August 24, 2020

    Remand Of Disability Claim Is Not Warranted, Magistrate Judge Determines

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Remand to a long-term disability (LTD) plan administrator for consideration of a Social Security Administration (SSA) award of disability benefits is not warranted because the SSA decision and award was not issued until 17 month after the disability insurer denied the LTD claim, an Alabama federal magistrate judge said July 9 (Terry Nunnelly v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 19-1383, N.D. Ala., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147269).

  • August 20, 2020

    Disability Claimant Must Respond To Interrogatories About Physical Activity

    TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal magistrate judge on Aug. 17 determined that a disability claimant must respond to interrogatories related to his physical activities as the interrogatories are relevant on the issue of whether the claimant was unusually active for someone experiencing pain (Herbert Jalowsky M.D. v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-279, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149005).

  • August 18, 2020

    Declaratory Judgment, Bad Faith Claims In Disability Suit Dismissed

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 14 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a bad faith claim and a declaratory judgment claim after determining that the declaratory judgment claim is duplicitous of the breach of contract claim and the bad faith claim is premature (Corrine Belliotti v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 20-61015, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147979).

  • August 18, 2020

    Attorney Fees In Disability Administrative Proceeding Not Recoverable Under ERISA

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 affirmed a district court's ruling that attorney fees incurred during an administrative appeal are not recoverable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Juan Castillo v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 19-56093, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25985).

  • August 17, 2020

    Disability Benefits Claim Remanded To Plan Administrator For Reconsideration

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After determining  that a disability insurer's denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious, a New Mexico federal judge on Aug. 13 remanded the claim to the plan administrator for reconsideration and for a determination of the date of disability (Paul Chandhok v. Companion Life Insurance Co., No. 19-362, D. N.M., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145347).

  • August 14, 2020

    Wisconsin Federal Judge Transfers Disability Suit To Missouri Federal Court

    MADISON, Wis. — A disability claimant's suit will be transferred to Missouri federal court because the disability insurer met its burden of showing that the Missouri has a greater connection to a disability benefits dispute than Wisconsin, a Wisconsin federal judge said Aug. 13 in granting the insurer's motion to transfer venue (Michael Packman v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-1012, W.D. Wisc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145748).

  • August 13, 2020

    Mental Health Limitation Does Not Apply To Limit Disability Benefits

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 10 granted a disability claimant's motion for judgment after determining that a mental health limitation does not apply because the claimant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his disability was not caused by a mental health condition (Hans Furey v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 19-2144, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144049).

  • August 12, 2020

    Disability Income Dispute Stays In Arizona Federal Court, Judge Says

    PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 7 denied an insured's motion to remand because the insurance broker who sold the insured the disability income policy at issue was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction (Craig H. Stevens, et al. v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-1119, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142565).

  • August 11, 2020

    Denial Of Disability Benefits Was Contrary To Plan Language, Judge Says

    CHICAGO — A disability claimant met his burden of showing that a disability insurer's denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was contrary to the unambiguous language of its plan, an Illinois federal judge said Aug. 7 in partially denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Hares Mohammed v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 19-3258, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141394).

  • August 10, 2020

    Plaintiff Forfeited Right To Seek Disability Benefits, 8th Circuit Panel Says

    ST. LOUIS — A district court properly determined that a plaintiff forfeited his right to seek disability benefits when he withdrew contributions from his pension plan because the pension plan clearly stated that a withdrawal of contributions would result in an ineligibility to seek disability benefits, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 7 (Herman Hampton v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 19-3501, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24921).

  • August 06, 2020

    Benefits Reinstated; Substantial Evidence Supports Disability, Judge Says

    NEW BERN, N.C. — A disability insurer is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits under her employer's plan because the decision to deny the claim was not supported by substantial evidence, a North Carolina federal judge said Aug. 5 (Lisa McKinnon v. Duke University, No. 19-205, E.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139162).

  • August 06, 2020

    Panel Says Disability Insurer's Cross-Appeal Is Unnecessary

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 dismissed a disability insurer's cross-appeal on the basis that it is unnecessary because the insurer's contention that the district court applied the incorrect standard of review but correctly concluded that no long-term disability (LTD) benefits are owed can be considered as part of the disability claimant's appeal (Angela Harrison v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 20-3378, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24753).

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