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Mealey's Disability Insurance

  • May 24, 2019

    Disability Claimant’s Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit Remanded

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A disability claimant’s breach of contract and bad faith suit must be remanded to state court because the insurer failed to prove that the claimant is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, a California federal judge said May 23 (Sabrina Dakak v. Fidelity Security Life Insurance Co., No. 19-247, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87367).

  • May 24, 2019

    Disability Insurer Did Not Have To Consider Each Of Claimant’s Unique Job Duties

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 reversed and remanded a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the insurer’s denial of benefits was not an abuse of discretion because, according to Fifth Circuit precedent, the insurer properly considered the general duties of the claimant’s regular occupation and did not have to account for each of the claimant’s unique job duties (Juanita Nichols v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 18-60499, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15396).

  • May 23, 2019

    Disability Benefits Properly Calculated According To Plan Terms, Panel Says

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 21 determined that a district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer properly calculated a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the claimant’s benefits were calculated in accordance with the plan’s terms (Deborah A. Johnson v. General Electric Co. et al., No. 18-35581, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15019).

  • May 22, 2019

    LTD Benefits Must Be Paid Based On Claimant’s Full Salary, Judge Determines

    CHICAGO — A disability claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits must be based on the claimant’s full salary and not a reduced salary incorrectly implemented for two months by his employer because the terms of the claimant’s employment agreement provided that the claimant would receive a full salary beyond the date upon which the claimant became disabled, an Illinois federal judge said May 21 in granting the claimant’s motion for summary judgment (David Schewitz, M.D. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-6119, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85157).

  • May 21, 2019

    Disability Benefits Owed To Claimant, Alabama Federal Judge Determines

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A disability claimant is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits under his employer’s disability plan because the evidence supports a finding that the claimant was unable to perform the material duties of his regular occupation, an Alabama federal judge said May 20 in granting the claimant’s motion for summary judgment (Bobby Johns Wiley v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-1936, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84077).

  • May 21, 2019

    Disability Claimant Appeals Ruling For Plan In LTD Benefits Dispute

    ATLANTA — A disability claimant filed a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 19, seeking review of a Florida federal court’s finding that a disability plan’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was reasonable based on the evidence considered by the plan administrator (Shenita Sapp v. AT&T Services Inc., et al., No. 19-11471, 11th Cir.).

  • May 15, 2019

    Disability Insurer Removes Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit To Federal Court

    LOS ANGELES — A disability claimant’s suit seeking benefits under an individual disability income policy and alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith must be removed to California federal court because the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000, the insurer maintains in a May 14 notice of removal (Julie Borba, M.D. v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-4172, C.D. Calif.).

  • May 14, 2019

    Disability Insurer’s Denial Of Claim Based On Late Notice Was Not Abuse Of Discretion

    BOSTON — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion or act unreasonably in denying a claim for short-term disability benefits based on the claimant’s failure to file the claim within 30 days as required by the plan because the insurer’s denial based on the late notice was supported by substantial evidence, a Massachusetts federal judge said May 10 (Nancy Lyman v. UNUM Group, et al., No. 17-11530, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79516).

  • May 13, 2019

    LTD Benefits Claim Dismissed; Plaintiff Failed To Exhaust All Remedies

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on May 9 dismissed a plaintiff’s claim seeking long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the plaintiff failed to exhaust all administrative remedies on the LTD claim (Lea Zerangue v. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co,, No. 19-1939, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78446).

  • May 10, 2019

    Long-Term Disability Benefits Must Be Reinstated, Federal Magistrate Judge Says

    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).

  • May 9, 2019

    Federal Magistrate Judge Says Denial Of Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion

    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).

  • May 7, 2019

    Disability Claimant Says LTD Benefits Were Wrongfully Terminated Under ERISA

    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.).

  • May 7, 2019

    Documents Will Not Be Excluded From Administrative Record, Magistrate Judge Says

    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).

  • May 6, 2019

    Disability Insurer Says High Court’s Review Is Not Warranted

    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.).

  • May 3, 2019

    Federal Magistrate Judge Recommends Granting Motion For Attorney Fees

    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).

  • May 1, 2019

    Disability Claimant Was Employee Of Company; Benefits Wrongfully Denied

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Denial Of Disability Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion, Oregon Federal Judge Says

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Disability, Life Insurance Plan Not Exempt From ERISA, Federal Judge Says

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Jury Verdict In Favor Of Disability Claimant Supported By Evidence

    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).

  • April 29, 2019

    Claimant Not Disabled From Regular Occupation, 5th Circuit Panel Says

    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).