An opinion issued by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in November 2009 highlights the challenges an attorney faces when a complaint for denial of disability insurance benefits involves parties from different jurisdictions. An attorney must be very knowledgeable regarding insurance contract law in their state, because the laws of the state in which the contract is signed are the laws that will apply unless preempted by ERISA.
The case we are going to consider involves Edward J. Zaloga, a doctor of osteopathy. He filed his complaint originally in the Court of Common Pleas for Lackawanna County, Penn. in December 24, 2008. Because the claim exceeded the value of $75,000 and neither Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company (Provident Life) nor Unum Group (Unum) had corporate offices in Pennsylvania, jurisdiction over the case resided with the U.S. District Court.