Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • November 06, 2019

    Disability Claimant Failed To Establish Amount In Controversy Exceeds $75K

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 31 dismissed a disability claimant’s suit after determining that the claimant failed to establish that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000 and that the employee welfare plan is a governmental plan that is exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Mary Beth Chauvin v. Symetra Life Insurance Co., No. 19-10493, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189596).

  • November 06, 2019

    Disability Claimant Failed To Prove She Is Disabled From Performing Any Occupation

    COVINGTON, Ky, — A Kentucky federal judge on Nov. 5 denied a disability claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record after determining that the claimant failed to prove that she is incapable of performing any reasonable occupation as defined by the disability plan (Lisa Meiman v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-75, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191448).

  • November 05, 2019

    Federal Magistrate Judge Says Disability Plan Did Not Abuse Its Discretion

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Nov. 1 recommended that judgment be entered in favor of a disability claim because the denial of a claim for an extension of short-term disability (STD) benefits was not an abuse of discretion and is supported by the medical evidence (Jerome Clay v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 3, No. 17-749, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190308).

  • November 04, 2019

    6th Circuit Majority Says Disability Insurer’s Benefits Denial Was Not Reasonable

    CINCINNATI — The majority of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 31 vacated a district court’s judgment in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer’s denial of disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious because the insurer’s decision was not the result of a deliberate, principled reasoning process regarding the claimant’s ability to perform her job as a nurse (Susan Card v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 18-6095, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32573).

  • October 30, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Suit Dismissed With Prejudice Per Parties’ Request

    LAS VEGAS — Following the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to remand a disability claimant’s suit to consider the source of the claimant’s disability, a Nevada federal judge on Oct. 29 granted the parties’ stipulation for dismissal of the suit with prejudice (Miae Decovich v. Venetian Casino Resort LLC, et al., No. 11-872, D. Nev.).

  • October 30, 2019

    Disability Claimant Entitled To STD Benefits, Wisconsin Federal Judge Determines

    MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on Oct. 29 awarded a disability claimant short-term disability (STD) benefits after determining that a disability insurer failed to consider all of the job duties required of the claimant, rather than the modified job duties performed by the claimant, when it denied her claim for benefits (Catherine A. Mathews v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 18-46, W.D. Wisc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186986).

  • October 30, 2019

    Disability Plan’s Forum- Selection Clause Valid, North Carolina Federal Judge Says

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A forum-selection clause in a short-term disability policy is valid and enforceable, a North Carolina federal judge said Oct. 28 in granting a disability plan’s motion to transfer venue of a disability claimant’s suit to Wisconsin federal court (Kydra Manuel-Clark v. ManpowerGroup Short-Term Disability Plan, No. 19-147, E.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185805).

  • October 22, 2019

    Negligence, Misrepresentation Claims To Proceed In Disability Benefits Dispute

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A disability claimant’s negligence and misrepresentation allegations against an insurance broker can proceed because the broker owes an independent duty to the disability claimant, a Kansas federal judge said in refusing to dismiss the misrepresentation and negligence claims (Robert P. Garver v. Principal Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 19-2354, D.  Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180603).

  • October 21, 2019

    Judgment Properly Entered For Disability Insurer, 9th Circuit Panel Says

    SAN DIEGO — A district court did not err in entering judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the disability claimant failed to prove that she was unable to perform the duties of her own occupation while she was still employed by her former employer and because the district court properly considered all of the claimant’s evidence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 18 (Kelly Demko v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 18-55428, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 31102).

  • October 17, 2019

    Disability Claimant Says Termination Of Benefits Was Breach Of Contract

    FRESNO, Calif. — A disability insurer acted in bad faith and breached its contract in terminating a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the insurer’s termination was not reasonable and not based on reliable medical evidence, the claimant alleges in an Oct. 15 complaint filed in California federal court (Jennifer Sims v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 19-1460, E.D. Calif.).

  • October 15, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Allegations Are Preempted Under ERISA, Judge Says

    ASHLAND, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Oct. 3 granted a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss after determining that all of the claims alleged against the insurer arise out of its handling of a disability claim and, therefore, are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorey Lowe v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Corp., et al., No. 19-31, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171691).

  • October 14, 2019

    Arbitrary, Capricious Standard Of Review Applies, Kentucky Federal Judge Says

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — An arbitrary and capricious standard of review must be applied in a disability suit because the disability plan clearly provided the insurer with discretionary authority, a Kentucky federal judge said Oct. 11 (Jennifer Lee Smith v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 19-61, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176874).

  • October 09, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Suit Is Barred Based On Release Signed By Claimant

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A disability claimant is barred from filing suit against his former employer’s disability plan administrator and disability insurer because the claimant signed a release as part of his separation agreement from the company and waived any right to any claims against his employer and certain other entities, a District of Columbia federal judge said Oct. 7 (Kim Keister v. AARP Benefits Committee, et al., No. 18-2385, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173244).

  • October 07, 2019

    High Court Denies Review Of Claimant’s Petition On Any-Occupation Standard

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to consider the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that a district court properly remanded a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits to determine whether benefits are available under a plan’s any-occupation standard (Thomas P. Kelly Jr. v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-146, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 07, 2019

    High Court Denies Disability Claimant’s Petition On ‘Regular Occupation’ Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 refused to review the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of a disability insurer on the insurer’s interpretation of the term “regular occupation” (Juanita Nichols v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 19-242, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 07, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Petition Denied; 6th Circuit’s Fraud On Court Ruling Stands

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied a disability claimant’s pro se petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to review the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the claimant’s attorney did not commit fraud upon the court (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 19-98, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 04, 2019

    Texas Federal Magistrate Says Tortious Interference Claim Should Proceed

    AUSTIN,  Texas — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Oct. 3 recommended denying a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a claim for tortious interference with a business relationship after determining that the claim is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and that the disability claimant sufficiently alleged facts in support of his claim that the disability insurer interfered with his relationship with a consultant and an attorney who were handling his claim for Social Security disability benefits (Juan Pensado v. Life Insurance Company of North America et al., No. 19-157, W.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171870).

  • October 02, 2019

    Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Not Reasonable; Judge Reinstates Benefits

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Sept. 30 reversed a disability plan administrator’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits and ordered that the benefits be reinstated after determining that the medical evidence supports a finding that the claimant is disabled from working in any occupation (Julie Hinds v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-775, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169478).

  • October 01, 2019

    Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious, Judge Says

    PORTLAND, Maine — A disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits based on its finding that the claimant was not disabled from performing the duties of any occupation was reasonable based on the medical evidence and was not arbitrary and capricious, a Maine federal judge said Sept. 26 (Mitchell A. Weeman v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-278, D. Me., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165369).

  • September 30, 2019

    Insurer’s Breach Of Contract Claim Against Broker In Disability Suit To Proceed

    SAN FRANCISCO —  A California federal judge on Sept. 27 denied a wholesale insurance broker’s motion to dismiss a cross-complaint filed a by an insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith disability coverage dispute after determining that the insurer sufficiently alleged facts in support of its breach of contract claim (Andre Ward v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, et al., No. 18-7551, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167284).

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