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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Disability Insurance Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Disability Insurance Legal News



Headline Disability Insurance Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Claimant Failed To Prove He Was Disabled Under Policy, 6th Circuit Panel Affirms
CINCINNATI - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits is supported by the medical evidence, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 22, agreeing with a district court's finding that the claimant failed to show that his depression prevented him from performing the duties of his occupation (Les A. Gilewski v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 16-2028, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5240).



Plan Did Not Wrongfully Deny Benefits To Claimant, California Federal Judge Says
LOS ANGELES - The decision to deny disability benefits to a claimant who was rendered quadriplegic was not an abuse of discretion because the claimant failed to timely file his claim for benefits, a California federal judge said March 20 (Gregory Clark v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., et al., No. 15-6458, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39825).



Disability Claimant's Suit Properly States Claim For Relief, Federal Judge Says
BILLINGS, Mont. - A Montana federal judge on March 28 denied a disability insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that the disability claimant's complaint properly states a claim for relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Theresa Sand-Smith v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 17-0004, D. Mont., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45808).



Minnesota Federal Judge: Plan's Denial Of Benefits Was Not Arbitrary And Capricious
MINNEAPOLIS - A benefit plan did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying a participant's claim for short-term disability benefits because substantial evidence supports the plan's finding that the participant was able to return to work, a Minnesota federal judge said March 17 (Jeremy Braden v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 3, No. 16-729, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39030).



Disability Claimant Permitted To Supplement Record With Treating Physician's Letter
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 23 permitted a disability claimant to supplement the administrative record to add a letter from his treating physician, noting that the letter will help to clarify the ambiguity of the physician's response to a question posed by the disability insurer (Thomas Reddick v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2326, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42649).



Claimant Petitions High Court To Review Ruling That Remand Was Not Violation Of Mandate
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Because the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals failed to follow the law-of-the-case doctrine when it determined that the remand of a disability retirement claim was not an abuse of discretion or a violation of a previous court mandate, the U.S. Supreme Court should grant certiorari, a disability claimant maintains in a March 13 petition for writ of certiorari (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 16-1117, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 954).



Federal Judge Affirms Disability Insurer's Decision To Terminate LTD Benefits
DENVER - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits after determining that the claimant was not disabled from performing "any occupation" was not arbitrary and capricious, a Colorado federal judge said March 28 in affirming the denial of benefits (Julie Johnson v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 15-699, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45643).



Insurer Properly Considered Doctoral Program Requirements When Terminating Benefits
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A disability insurer's reliance on a claimant's attendance requirements for a doctoral degree program was properly considered by the insurer when it terminated the claimant's long-term disability benefits on the basis that the claimant was not disabled from performing "any gainful occupation," a Michigan federal judge said March 21 in granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Sherri Black v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 15-1147, W.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40168).



Claimant No Longer Disabled Under Plan's Terms, Indiana Federal Judge Says
INDIANAPOLIS - The termination of a claimant's long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the claimant was not disabled from "any gainful occupation," an Indiana federal judge said March 17 (Jill A. Stafford v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2032, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38564).



Federal Judge Says Remand Of Disability Claim Needed On Reasonable Occupation Issue
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Because it is not clear from the administrative record whether a disability insurer correctly applied a plan's "reasonable occupation" standard, a Connecticut federal judge on March 20 remanded the claim for further consideration of the reasonable occupation issue (Jeff Schuman v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1006, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39388).



Disability Insurer's Reliance On Mental Health Limitation Was In Error, Judge Says
LOS ANGELES - Because a disability claimant established that his disability was caused by brain damage and not depression and anxiety, a disability insurer's reliance on the plan's mental illness limitation to terminate his benefits was in error, a California federal judge said March 27 (John Doe v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., 15-04089, C.D. Calif.. 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45774).



Insurer Acted Arbitrarily In Determining Disability Onset Date, 1st Circuit Panel Says
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 24 determined that a disability insurer acted arbitrarily and capriciously by relying on a job description of a generic "lawyer" rather than a job description of a specialized "environmental lawyer" when it determined the onset date of a claimant's disability (Jane Doe v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 16-2085, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5232).



Disability Claimant Failed To Timely Submit Claim, Federal Magistrate Judge Says
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A North Carolina federal magistrate judge on March 30 granted a disability plan's motion for summary judgment after determining that the disability claimant failed to comply with the plan's proof-of-loss requirement (Scott L. Hartquist v. Emerson Electric Co., et al., No. 11-1067, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47611).



Disability Claimant's Suit Dismissed For Failure To Timely File Appeal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A disability claimant's suit alleging wrongful denial of disability benefits must be dismissed because the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing suit, a Kentucky federal judge said March 27 (Bonnie E. Decola v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-185, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43960).



Disability Claimant's Suit Barred; Administrative Remedies Not Exhausted, Judge Says
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Because a disability claimant failed to file an administrative appeal within 180 days of the termination of his long-term disability (LTD) benefits, the claimant's suit against the disability insurer is barred, an Alabama federal magistrate judge said March 24 (Joey Horton v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 15-933, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42830).



Federal Judge Dismisses Third-Party Administrator From Disability Benefits Suit
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 4 dismissed a third-party administrator from a disability claimant's suit seeking benefits because the third-party administrator did not exercise final authority over disputed claims (Kimberly Lash v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-235, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51029).



Insurer Was Not Estopped From Terminating Benefits, Tennessee Federal Judge Says
GREENVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal judge on March 13 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to deny a disability claimant's motion for summary judgment after finding no basis for the claimant's objection that the insurer was estopped from terminating his disability benefits (Robert Justice v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 15-134, E.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35388).



Disability Plan's Provision Is Not Barred By Calif. Statute, Federal Judge Says
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Because a short-term disability plan is a self-funded plan, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a California statute that bars the plan's discretionary authority provision, a California federal judge said March 28 in determining that the plan's denial of benefits was supported by substantial evidence (Daniel Johnson v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1940, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45858).



Disability Plan's Provision Granting Discretionary Authority Is Void
SAN FRANCISCO - A de novo standard of review must be applied in a claimant's suit seeking long-term disability benefits because the plan's discretionary authority provision is void under California state law, a California federal judge said March 27 (Peter Englert v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 15-4814, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44833).



Breach Of Contract Claim Completely Preempted By ERISA, Federal Judge Says
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 13 denied a disability claimant's motion to remand and granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that a breach of contract claim is completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (James Heldt v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, No. 16-885, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36490).



Disability Claimant Owed Attorney Fees As Some Success On The Merits Was Achieved
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A disability claimant who achieved some success on the merits of her claim is entitled to attorney fees; however, the amount owed to the claimant cannot be determined until the claimant submits a supplemental brief, an Ohio federal judge ruled March 23 (Tina Myers v. Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 14-2421, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42450).



District Court Erred By Reducing Attorney Fees, Claimant Argues On Appeal
BOSTON - A disability claimant who successfully recovered benefits from a disability insurer argues in a Feb. 27 reply brief filed in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a district court failed to promote the goal of making the claimant whole under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when it limited the amount of prejudgment interest and reduced the amount of attorney fees the claimant could collect from the insurer (Diahann L. Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Nos. 16-2002, 16-1958, 1st Cir.).



Purchase Of Retirement Home Is Relevant To Claim For Disability Benefits, Judge Says
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Because certain circumstances regarding a disability claimant's move to Florida may be relevant to a claim for total disability benefits, a Florida federal judge on March 29 determined that a disability insurer is entitled to information regarding the claimant's real estate transactions (Mark Goodman v. Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, No. 16-81742, S.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45966).



Judge Denies Insured's Remand Motion In Insurance Bad Faith Suit
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is not proper because the amount in controversy exceeds the statutory limit, a federal judge in Ohio ruled March 13 (Leslie Wyatt v. New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-40, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35504).



LTD Plan Was Not Granted Discretionary Authority, 1st Circuit Panel Determines
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 reversed a federal court's ruling that a disability insurer was delegated with discretionary authority and directed the lower court to review a claimant's termination of benefits under a de novo standard of review (Nilda Rodriguez-Lopez v. Triple-S Vida, Inc., No. 15-2413, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3729).



High Court Denies Cert In Case Over Termination Of Long-Term Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a district court did not err in determining that a disability plan did not wrongfully terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits (Elizabeth Jenkins v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al., No. 16-682, U.S. Sup.).



Denial Of Benefits Was Not Arbitrary Or Capricious, Tennessee Federal Judge Says
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Because there was evidence supporting the conclusion that a disability claimant was able to perform a material and substantial duty of her occupation, a disability insurer's denial of her claim for benefits was not arbitrary or capricious, a Tennessee federal judge said March 1 in adopting a magistrate judge's report and recommendation (Kimberly D. Buchanan v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 15-202, E.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28513).



Substantial Evidence Supports Plan Denial Of LTD Benefits, Ohio Federal Judge Says
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The denial of a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the claimant was provided with a fair review procedure and substantial evidence supports the denial of benefits, an Ohio federal judge said Feb. 14 in granting the plan's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Angela Schofield v. Nationwide Insurance Cos., et al., No. 16-371, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20687).



California Federal Judge OKs Settlement In Dispute Over Offset Of Veterans' Benefits
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal on March 1 approved a class action settlement between former U.S. veterans and Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston after determining that the terms of the settlement, which provides compensation to class members whose disability benefits were offset or reduced by Liberty Life, are reasonable (James L. Bush v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, et al., No. 14-1507, N.D. Calif.).



9th Circuit Panel Upholds Plan's Offset Of Disability Benefits
SAN FRANCISCO - Plan language clearly allowed an insurer to offset permanent partial disability benefits by the amount of long-term disability benefits the employee received, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 16 (John Del Gallego v. Wells Fargo & Co. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 15-15294, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2753).



Decision To Terminate Partial Benefits Was Reasonable, Judge Says
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's partial disability benefits was reasonable because the insurer worked with the claimant when prorating the claimant's quarterly bonus and the claimant did not object to the method used by the insurer to prorate the bonus, a North Carolina federal judge said March 2 (Frederick Sutherland v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 16-182, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29628).



Federal Judge Says Claimant Is Residually Disabled, Not Totally Disabled As Required
ATLANTA - A disability claimant is not entitled to benefits under a policy's lifetime sickness rider because the claimant is residually disabled and not totally disabled as required for benefits under the rider, a Georgia federal judge said Feb. 15 (William F. Nefsky v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 15-2119, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21152).



Alabama Federal Judge Says Insurer's Interpretation Was Arbitrary And Capricious
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A disability insurer's interpretation of a tolling provision to extend the 45-day time deadline to decide an administrative appeal was arbitrary and capricious, an Alabama federal judge said March 7 in partially adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation to deny the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Melissa Stevens v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co. [U.S.], No. 16-76, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31734).



New York Federal Judge Says Administrator Failed To Prove Extension Was Warranted
NEW YORK - Because a plan administrator failed to prove that special circumstances existed when it extended the allowable time to issue a decision on appeal, a New York federal judge on Feb. 28 concluded that a de novo standard of review is appropriate (Katherine Salisbury v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 15-9799, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27983).



6th Circuit Finds Disability Coverage Claims Preempted By ERISA
CINCINNATI - After finding that a former marketing director's claims for coverage against a medical review company were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 affirmed dismissal of the claims and found that a previous lawsuit filed against a plan administrator was the proper recourse (James Hackney v. Allmed Healthcare Management Inc., No. 16-5651, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2877).



Disability Plan Is Governed By ERISA, California Federal Judge Determines
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 10 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a disability suit to state court because the disability plan at issue is not a "church plan" and is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Melvyn L. Durham v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America et al., No. 16-8202, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19402).



Judge Converts Motion To Dismiss, Orders Further Briefing In Bad Faith Suit
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Unable to determine from the evidence provided whether an insured's disability benefits plan is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a federal judge in New Mexico on Feb. 14 converted the insurer's motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and ordered supplemental briefing (Sherry Evans-Carmichael v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., No. 16-276, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20599).



Claimant's Suit Was Timely Filed, California Federal Judge Says
SAN FRANCISCO - A disability claimant's suit alleging wrongful termination of benefits was timely filed, a California federal judge said Feb. 13 after determining that the plan's three-year limitations period did not begin to run until after the 180-day deadline to appeal the termination of benefits ended (Nancy Hart v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20198).



Georgia Federal Judge Says Beneficiary Has Adequate Remedy Under ERISA
ATLANTA - Because a beneficiary seeking supplemental life insurance benefits for a plan participant's disability has an adequate remedy under Section 502(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and failed to provide support for a separate breach of fiduciary duty claim, a Georgia federal judge on Feb. 27 dismissed the breach of fiduciary claim alleged against the plan (Stephanie D. Vaughn v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-1107, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26743).



10th Circuit Panel Finds No Evidence That Employer Created Hostile Environment
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 affirmed that an employer did not create a hostile work environment after learning of an employee's disability because the employee failed to submit sufficient evidence that he was subject to a hostile work environment as a result of his disability (Steven R. Williams v. FedEx Corporate Services, et al., No. 16-4032, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3364).



New York Federal Judge Awards Attorney Fees To Disability Claimant
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on March 6 determined that a disability claimant is entitled to more than $34,000 in attorney fees because the claimant was the prevailing party on motions for summary judgment (Charles Standish v. Federal Express Corp. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 6:15-cv-6226, W.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31400).



11th Circuit Affirms Insurer Did Not Abuse Its Discretion In Denying Benefits Claim
ATLANTA - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for long-term disability benefits because the claimant failed to prove that she was disabled under the plan and the insurer's denial was reasonable based on the available evidence, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 30 (Susan Till v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 16-14799, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1589).



Insurer Failed To Consider Physician's Statement Of Functionality, Judge Says
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 8 reversed a disability insurer's denial of benefits after determining that the insurer failed to provide any reasonable explanation for disregarding the only assessment, made by the claimant's treating physician, of the claimant's functionality (Mary Beth Tobin v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 14-187, W.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17455).



Michigan Federal Judge: Benefits Must Be Reinstated; Evidence Supports Disability
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Jan. 25 determined that a claimant's long-term disability benefits must be reinstated because the claimant's medical records support the claim and surveillance video obtained by the insurer does not support the insurer's termination of benefits (Michelle R. Rouleau v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-546, W.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9984).



Pennsylvania Federal Judge: Benefits Termination Was Not Arbitrary And Capricious
PHILADELPHIA - The decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the insurer's termination was reasonable based on all of the available evidence, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Jan. 31 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Donna J. Killian v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 16-1377, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12874).



Louisiana Federal Judge Says Claimant Failed To Provide Evidence To Support Claim
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 18 determined that summary judgment in favor of a disability plan administrator and the employer that sponsored the plan is appropriate because the claimant failed to submit any evidence in support of her claim for benefits (Deborah Davis v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-4263, E.D. La.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6529).



Issue Of Fact Exists As To Whether Claimant Was Disabled, Federal Judge Says
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Jan. 26 denied a disability insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that an issue of fact exists as to whether the claimant was disabled pursuant to the policy's terms (Tracie D. Morgan v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 16-5183, W.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11168).



Claimant Owed Back Benefits And Future Benefits, Federal Judge Says
PHOENIX - A disability insurer must pay back benefits to a disability claimant in addition to future benefits for as long as the claimant remains disabled because the insurer failed to prove that the claimant was not disabled prior to the claimant's termination from his place of employment, an Arizona federal judge said Jan. 17 (Eduardo L. Nieves v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-768, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6187).



Texas Federal Judge Dismisses Gender Identity Discrimination Claims
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 13 dismissed claims alleging gender identity discrimination under Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) against an insurer and an employer because the plaintiff failed to cite any controlling precedent that recognizes a cause of action under Section 1557 for gender identity discrimination (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5665).



Arbitrary And Capricious Standard Of Review Applies In Disability Benefits Suit
PITTSBURGH - An arbitrary and capricious standard of review will be applied in a suit challenging the denial of a long-term disability benefits because the plan clearly granted the insurer the discretionary authority to determine a claimant's eligibility for benefits, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Jan. 23 (James Neal v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 16-1146, W.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8498).



Claimant Failed To Meet Plan's Work Requirements, Federal Magistrate Says
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal magistrate judge on Jan. 30 recommended that a disability claimant's motion for judgment on the record be denied because the claimant did not work at least 120 hours during the year in which he claimed he became disabled or in the year prior to becoming disabled as required by the plan at issue (Jeffrey Brent Brooks v. Boilermakers-Blacksmith Union National Pension Trust, No. 15-1034, M.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13235).



Disability Insurer Waived Right To Assert Claimant Was Ineligible For Coverage
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Jan. 13 determined that by continuing to accept a disability claimant's premium payments, an insurer waived its right to assert that the claimant was ineligible for coverage under the policy (Arturo J. Otero v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-2253, N.D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5119).



Louisiana Federal Judge Remands Claim To Plan Administrator For Reconsideration
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 17 remanded a claim for long-term disability benefits to the plan administrator for reconsideration after determining that the plan administrator did not substantially comply with procedural requirements when it denied the claimant's appeal (Tommy W. Senegal v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 16-1961, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6044).



High Court Will Not Hear Issue Of Forum-Selection Clause In ERISA Disability Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 denied review of a ruling by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that enforced a forum-selection clause in a disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorna Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, et al., No. 16-641, U.S. Sup.).



Plaintiff's Claims Are Preempted By ERISA, Illinois Federal Judge Says
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Jan. 12 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand after determining that her state law claims arising out of the disclosure of medical records without consent are preempted by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (Jane Doe v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 16-8390, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4866).



New York Federal Judge Awards Disability Claimant Reduced Attorney Fees And Costs
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 3 awarded a disability claimant more than $233,000 in attorney fees and more than $5,000 in costs but only after determining that a reduction of the hours charged by the claimant's counsel is warranted (Dimitra Dimopoulou v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-7159, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15944).



Claimant Is Entitled To Reduced Attorney Fee Award, Michigan Federal Judge Says
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Jan. 17 awarded a disability claimant more than $44,000 in attorney fees after determining that the claimant's request of more than $58,000 was excessive based on the number of hours logged and hourly rate charged by the attorneys (Miguel Mendez v. FedEx Express, et al., No. 15-12301, E.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5948).



New York Federal Magistrate: In Camera Review Of Insurer's Documents Is Necessary
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on Feb. 6 found that an in camera review of an insurer's documents requested through discovery by a disability claimant is necessary to determine if the documents are protected under the work product doctrine or if the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege applies (Cherylle McFarlane v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., No. 16-7806, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16433).