Mrs. Rebecca Duperry worked as payroll benefits HR administrator for Railroad Friction Products Corporation (RFPC) until April 7, 2006. Mrs. Duperry suffered from rheumatism, and stopped working in April pursuant to the advice of her rheumatologist. The rheumatologist told Duperry to ‘slow her work down’ and that cutting hours was a good idea, although working from home would be an even better idea.

October 16, 2006, Duperry claimed disability from three conditions,  rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Among the documents Mrs. Duperry submitted to CIGNA Life Insurance Company of North America were two attending physician statements completed by Duperry’s primary care physicians, Dr. Glenn Harris, and her rheumatologist, Dr. Supen Patel. In his statement, Dr. Harris stated that “plaintiff was limited to zero hours per day of climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, reaching, walking, sitting, or standing, and that plaintiff would "never" be able to return to work.” A statement was made also by Dr. Patel that Duperry was ‘permanently disabled’ and therefore could not return to work.

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