Delicia Haynes, an employee of Commercial Metals Company has filed a lawsuit against Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston to collect her long overdue disability benefits. A data entry clerical assistant at Commercial Metals Company, Haynes was denied her disability application for long term disability in a letter from Liberty Life Assurance, dated March 13, 2010. In the letter, Liberty Life denied Haynes claim but also failed to state "any material or information" that was necessary for Haynes to file an ERISA appeal. The insurer’s letter did reference some of Haynes general documents, without stating why her claim was denied.
Baffled Employee Appeals Disability Claim Without Adequate Information
Without the necessary information to do so, Haynes appealed Liberty Life’s denial of her disability claim on August 30, 2010 to no avail, as Liberty Life failed to respond to the appeal at all. Along with her appeal paperwork, Haynes provided Liberty Life with additional documentation to verify her disability and complied with all the requirements to file an ERISA administrative appeal under Liberty Life’s Plan.
Haynes And Her Texas Disability Attorney File Her Lawsuit Against Liberty Life
As a result of Liberty Life Assurance’s inaction to address Haynes administrative disability benefits appeal, Haynes engaged the services of a Texas disability lawyer and filed a lawsuit against Liberty Life Assurance in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division to seek a judgment on her disability claim.
In her complaint, Haynes and her Texas disability attorney allege that 47-year-old Haynes "is entitled to LTD benefits under her Policy," has complied with proof of her disability claim according to the Policy and is entitled to receive long term disability benefits until age 65. Haynes’s complaint also alleges that Liberty has violated several regulations of the Secretary of Labor by not giving Haynes adequate reason for its original denial of her disability benefits, failing to provide her with a full and fair review of her disability claim, failing to provide her with information to allow for an appeal of the denial, failing to administer Haynes’s plan in a way that benefits participants, operating under a conflict of interest, failing to have Haynes’s claim reviewed by a proper reviewer, and failing to act by responding to Hanes appeal.
In addition, Haynes and her Texas disability lawyer allege that Liberty Life violated ERISA regulations by failing to review her claim properly and being "arbitrary and capricious" in the handling of her claim. Haynes’s Texas disability lawyer points out that Liberty Life didn’t have Haynes’s claim reviewed by an appropriate healthcare professional but used a biased consultant instead, gave inappropriate feedback to Haynes’s claim making it virtually impossible for her to appeal, didn’t follow their own guidelines in the evaluation of Haynes’s claim, and in essence chastises the insurer for its handling of all claims.
What Haynes Asks The District Court To Do About Her Disability Benefits Claim
Haynes asked the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division to force Liberty Life to provide her with her entitled employee disability benefits, both past due and future, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, Court costs, attorney’s fees and any other further relief the Court thinks is proper under the circumstances.
About the author: Gregory Michael Dell is an attorney and managing partner of the disability income division of Attorneys Dell & Schaefer. Mr. Dell and his team of lawyers have assisted thousands of long-term disability claimants with their claims against every major disability insurance company. To request a free legal consultation call 800-411-9085.