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Recent Blog Posts

California Court Rejects Discretionary Language in ERISA Plan

Another federal judge in California has rejected an insurer’s argument to follow discretionary language stated in an employer’s disability plan, but not the insurance policy which funds the benefits paid under the plan.  In Nagy v. Group Long Term Disability Plan for Employees of Oracle America Inc., Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company argued that […]

VA Cost of Living Increase: Congress Passes Bill Tying VA COLA to Social Security COLA for 2017

This week, a bill pending for months finally passed which would tie the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Veterans benefits to the amount of the increase is approved for Social Security benefits in 2017.  VA benefits do not have an automatic cost of living increase each year.  Instead, the law requires Congress to handle […]

UNUM Disability Decision Not Supported by Substantial Evidence

A federal judge in Massachusetts has reversed a denial of disability benefits by First Unum Life Insurance Company in an ERISA lawsuit.  The case, Host v. First Unum Life Insurance Company and UNUM Group, involves a claim by Brian Host, a highly paid executive who worked for Deutsche Bank. UNUM denied his claim for disability […]

Court Allows Discovery Into Hartford’s Bias in ERISA Case

In a Kentucky lawsuit involving disability benefits denied by Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company under an employer’s group plan, a federal judge has allowed discovery into whether Hartford’s conflict of interest impacted its decision to deny the claim.  “Discovery” is the legal term for deposition testimony and document requests used to investigate facts in […]

Applying for Disability Benefits? 3 Things to Do Before You Apply

As disability attorneys, we often provide consults for people who have had injuries or illnesses that impact their ability to work.  People will often call before they file their disability claim to get advice about things they need to do.  Here is a video from Disability Insurance Attorney John Tucker explaining 3 things you need […]

Hartford Reverses Disability Insurance Denial – Pays Our North Carolina Parkinson’s Disability Insurance Client

image of brain with words related to symptoms of Parkinson's Disease written in

Hartford called Parkinson’s Disease a “mental or nervous disorder” and limited payments to 24 months under a policy limitation for mental conditions! Parkinson’s Disease Causes Many Disabling Symptoms Our disabled client lived in Charlotte, North Carolina and worked for a large multi-state corporation as an executive.  He was very familiar with the human resources department […]

NOT ERISA: Employer Benefit Plans That Are NOT Covered by ERISA

picutre of statute book showing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act

ERISA – The Employee Retirement Income Security Act Yesterday’s article, What Types of Employer Benefit Plans Are Covered by ERISA, explained how most employer benefit plans are subject to the federal benefit law called ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.  Today, we are going to talk about the types of employer benefit plans that […]

What Types of Employer Benefit Plans Are Covered by ERISA?

picutre of statute book showing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act

ERISA – The Employee Retirement Income Security Act As ERISA attorneys that handle employee benefit claims, we are often asked what types of benefits are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.  It is a really quite a long list of possible benefits that an employer can offer which would be called an ERISA […]

Social Security Proposes Harsh Evidence Deadline in Disability Cases

logo of the U.S. Social Security Administration

In the July 12, 2016 Federal Register, Social Security proposed a rule requiring that evidence be submitted 5 days before a hearing in SS Disability cases.  Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by August 11, 2016.  On its face, the 5 day deadline does not look unreasonable. However, when you combine Social Security’s […]

No Jury Trials in ERISA Claims for Benefits – Disability and Life Insurance

picture of jury box with empty chairs

A Judge – not a jury – decides employee benefit lawsuits under ERISA. Every Federal Circuit Court in the country has held that a jury trial will not occur in a claim for benefits under an employer sponsored benefit plan, yet people still file lawsuits asking for jury trials on benefits claims.  Each time it […]

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