CINCINNATI — A district court did not err in concluding that a disability claimant was not disabled from his own occupation as an anesthesiologist because the medical evidence supported the disability insurer’s conclusion that the claimant could perform the duties of his own occupation with appropriate accommodations, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 19 (Timothy O’Neill D.O. v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 18-1382, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32781).
DETROIT — Finding no support for a disability claimant’s objections to a magistrate judge’s recommendation that judgment should be granted in favor of the disability plan defendant, a Michigan federal judge on Nov. 13 adopted the magistrate judge’s report of recommendation (Marcie McConnell v. Nationwide Insurance Company Benefits Administrative Committee, No. 17-12869, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192789).
LONDON, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Nov. 15 remanded a disability claimant’s breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that the disability insurer failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the claimant’s damages will exceed the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000 (Connie L. Hacker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-30, E.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194961).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on Nov. 6 dismissed a disability claimant’s suit against a long-term disability (LTD) insurer after the parties notified the court that they reached an agreement to dismiss the suit (Karen Compton v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 18-184, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192680).
NEW YORK — A disability insurer must produce the salaries paid to its reviewing physicians in addition to the curriculum vitae for each reviewing physician because the information is relevant to the determination of whether the insurer’s denial of a long-term disability claim was reasonable, a New York federal magistrate judge said Nov. 6 (Michele Weinberg v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-8976, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189792).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A disability insurer’s conclusion that a claimant suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, which limited long-term disability benefits to 24 months, and not from symptoms of Lyme disease was not unreasonable based on the medical evidence in the administrative record, a District of Columbia federal judge said Nov. 7 (Wesley Loucka v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., No. 17-1375, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190935).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 2 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the insurers in a disability dispute after determining that the claimant failed to prove that the termination of his benefits was unreasonable and made in bad faith (Dr. Robert Brugler v. Unum Group, et al., No. 15-1031, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187836).
PHOENIX — A disability claimant’s bad faith claim and request for punitive damages can proceed because the claimant presented an issue of fact as to whether the insurer’s termination of disability benefits was reasonable, an Arizona federal judge said Nov. 1 in denying the insurer’s motion for summary judgement (Kelly Ann Tyler v. United States Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-939, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187001).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 31 granted a disability claimant’s motion to exclude documents generated after a lawsuit was filed against the disability insurer because the administrative record closed after the claimant filed suit (Anne Wittmann v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 17-9501, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186064).
NEWARK, N.J. — A disability claimant’s suit alleging wrongful denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits must be transferred from New Jersey federal court to Tennessee federal court because the alleged breach of the terms of the plan occurred in Tennessee and the parties’ interests weigh in favor of transfer to Tennessee federal court, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge said Oct. 31 (Wesley Gonce v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 18-8662, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186905).
UTICA, N.Y. — A disability claimant’s breach of contract suit must be dismissed because the disability insurer did not breach the terms of the long-term disability (LTD) policy when it terminated the claimant’s benefits at age 65, a New York federal judge said Oct. 30, noting that the insurer paid the maximum period of payment per the terms of the policy (Vincent J. Krocka v. Mutual of New York Insurance Co., No. 18-830, N.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185173).
PHILADELPHIA — A supplemental disability plan offered by a disability claimant’s former employer is governed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the claimant failed to prove that a reasonable employee would view the supplemental plan as a third-party offering not affiliated with the employer, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 5 (Kevin M. McCann, M.D. v. Unum Provident, et al., No. 16-2014, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 29638).
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on Oct. 24 granted a disability insurer’s motion to strike a letter offered as an exhibit to a claimant’s complaint after determining that the letter, which states that the claimant’s disability was not caused by a pre-existing condition, is not part of the administrative record because the claimant failed to provide the letter to the insurer during the administrative appeal process (Stacey Waite v. Sun Life Assurance Co., No. 18-208, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182354).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A disability insurer must reconsider a long-term disability (LTD) claim after reviewing the claimant’s Social Security disability benefits records because the insurer represented to the claimant that the Social Security records would be considered as part of the review of the claimant’s appeal, an Arkansas federal judge said Oct. 18 in remanding the claim to the administrator (Michael Buquoi v. United States Life Insurance Co., No. 18-093, E.D. Ark., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179172).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Oct. 16 granted a disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a U.S. Army veteran’s class action alleging that the insurer wrongfully offset disability benefits payable under its policy by disability benefits received from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs after determining that the remaining claims cannot stand based on the court’s prior ruling that the offset was permitted under the plan (Marco Martinez v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 16-12154, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178188).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — An Iowa federal judge on Oct. 16 granted a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a claim alleging wrongful denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies under the LTD policy and failed to prove that exhaustion would be futile (Brandy J. Sievers v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 18-3048, N.D. Iowa, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177259).
SALT LAKE CITY —A Utah federal magistrate judge on Oct. 9 denied a disability claimant’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable and is supported by substantial evidence (Jon E. Sadler v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 17-979, D. Utah, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174428).
MINNEAPOLIS — A claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits were not wrongfully terminated because the record shows that the evidence supports the plan’s determination that the claimant was not disabled from working in any occupation, a Minnesota federal judge said Oct. 9 (Doris Rogers v. Eaton Corp., et al., No. 17-4391, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173580).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 4 awarded a disability claimant $20,000 in attorney fees incurred in his appeal over a dispute regarding the claimant’s entitlement to own-occupation long-term disability (LTD) benefits (Dave Nagy v. Group Long Term Disability Plan for Employees of Oracle America Inc., et al., Nos. 16-16160, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28166).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Sept. 28 rejected a disability plaintiff’s challenge to the hourly rate used by a magistrate judge to calculate attorney fees and adjusted an overall reduction in the amount of billed hours, resulting in an award of more than $222,000 in attorney fees in favor of the claimant (Janet Solnin v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., et. al., No. 08-2759, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168047).