When Vickie Costello left work on May 19, 2006, after a stressful encounter with one of her co-workers, she had no idea that her problems were going to get even worse. In order to return to her job at Logan Aluminum, Inc., her employer required her to sign a “last chance agreement.” Already suffering from debilitating pain for which she had been under a physician’s care since 1999, Ms. Costello felt that this event marked the time to claim disability through her employer’s long-term disability plan with Sun Life Assurance Company.

Sun Life’s policy stated that if Costello became disabled and could not perform the “material and substantial duties of her occupation” that she would be entitled to disability benefits for 24 months. At the end of 24 months, she would have to prove that she was “unable to perform the material and substantial duties of ‘any gainful occupation” in order to remain eligible for disability benefits.

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