In the latter part of May, complaint after complaint was filed against Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston from shore to shore.
Senior Administrative Analyst Sues Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston For Disability Benefits And Seeks more than five million dollars in damages
In Margie Mauro v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, Mauro and her California disability lawyer filed her complaint against Liberty for damages as a result of Liberty’s Breach of Contract and Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in the United States District Court Eastern District of California on May 26, 2011. A senior administrative analyst, Mauro became totally disabled in August 2009 and was unable to continue performing her job due to conditions of and related to "lumbar radiculopathy with left leg radicular pain, and bilateral sacroilitis. She filed her disability application under her employee disability plan with Liberty and was awarded long-term disability benefits until January 29, 2011, when her disability benefits were terminated because Liberty decided that she no long qualified for benefits as they determined that she was capable of engaging in "occupations other than her own." Needless to say, Mauro appealed the decision, but Liberty denied her appeal in February 2011.
Mauro’s And Her California Disability Attorney File A Complaint
In her complaint Mauro and her California disability attorney allege that Liberty breached its contractual duties to pay Mauro’s disability benefits and breached "its duties of good faith and fair dealing owed to [Mauro] by other acts or omissions as well." Mauro claims damages in the form of non-payment of disability benefits which has caused her to suffer "anxiety, worry, mental and emotional distress, and other incidental damages and out-of-pocket expenses" which she should be compensated for. Mauro’s California disability lawyer states that Liberty’s treatment of his client "was despicable" and conducted with a "wilful and conscious disregard of the rights of [Mauro]." He further states that Liberty’s conduct "subjected [Mauro] to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of her rights, and was an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact… with the intention to deprive [Mauro] of property and/or legal rights or to otherwise cause injury, such as to constitute malice, oppression, or fraud under California Code…" Thus, Mauro’s disability attorney asks for punitive damages as well.
In her complaint, Mauro asks for:
- Damages in excess of $2700.00 per month for unpaid and future benefits, plus interest;
- General damages in the amount of $1,000,000.00;
- Punitive damages in excess of $5,000,000.00;
- A trebling of any punitive damages as allowed by California Code;
- Attorneys’ fees;
- Court Costs; and
- Any other relief the Court wishes to provide.
Michelin Employee Sues Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston For Disability Benefits
In Robert Weathers v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, Robert Weathers an employee of Michelin North America, Inc. was declared disabled and applied for his disability benefits through his disability plan at Michelin. Liberty acknowledged that Weathers is disabled and agreed to pay some of his disability benefits, but denied Weathers his 60% buy up claim. Weathers appealed with no satisfaction, and filed a lawsuit on May 27, 2011 in the United States District of South Carolina Greenville Division to see what the Court has to say about Liberty’s decision.
In his complaint, Weathers and his South Carolina disability attorney allege that Liberty made its decision about Weathers benefits claim under a conflict of interest in which the decision to deny Weathers his disability benefits "was not based upon substantial evidence or the result of a principled and reasoned decision-making process"; but instead, the insurer "ignored relevant evidence pertaining to [Weather’s] claim… relying on biased information and flawed expert opinions."
Weathers and his South Carolina disability lawyer ask the Court to determine if Liberty "abused its discretion" in the decision to deny Weather’s his disability benefits, and if so, to "remand [Weather’s] claim for a ‘full and fair’ review by the appropriate claim fiduciary," award Weathers attorney’s fees, and court costs, and any other relief the Court sees fit.
Bridgestone Employee Sues Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston For Disability Benefits
In Charles Horne v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, Horne petitions the United States District Court of the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division to assist him in procuring his disability benefits. Horne’s employer was Bridgestone Americas, Inc., where Horne worked as a machine technician and qualified under the company’s insurance plan to receive disability benefits should he require them during his employ.
In March 2008, Horne ceased work due to "steroid dependent sarcoidosis," and suffers "fatigue, severe breathing problems, sleep difficulties due to sleep apnea, dyspnea, wheezing and coughing, blurred vision and headaches." In addition, the side effects of his many medications include "fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty with concentration, attention and focus," resulting in Horne needing "to rest or lie down at unpredictable intervals during the day."
After Liberty’s six-month waiting period, Horne received long term disability benefits from September 18, 2008 until September 17, 2010, when Horne’s disability benefits were terminated because Liberty believed that Horne was not disabled from "any occupation." The Social Security Administration had previously found Horne to be "totally disabled," but Liberty ignored this fact.
At the time of the filing of Horne’s complaint, Horne had exhausted his administrative appeals and needs the Georgia Court to determine his financial fate. Horne has substantial medical documentation to evidence his disability as well as "lengthy treatment records, supportive opinion from [Horne’s] long-time treating physicians" and documentation of his declaration as being total disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Consequently Horne and his Georgia disability attorney ask the Northern District Court of Georgia for:
- Horne’s long term disability benefits from September 18, 2010 and continuing, including interest;
- Attorney’s fees, including litigation expenses, and Court costs;
- Any further relief that "may be just and proper."
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.