Alleging that AETNA Life and Boeing have violated ERISA (Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974) by refusing to pay her earned disability insurance benefits, Deborah Rodriguez has filed a lawsuit in the United State District Court of Utah Central Division. Asking the Court to find in her favor against both AETNA and Boeing, Rodriguez and her Utah disability lawyer petitioned the United States District Court of Utah to order the defendants to:
- Pay her damages in the "amount equal to the disability benefits to which she was entitled through date of judgment" as well as unpaid disability benefits provided by law;
- Pay her pre- and post-judgment interest;
- Both be required to pay her any and all present and future disability benefits and any other employee benefits that are included in the subject plan;
- Pay her reasonable attorney fees and costs;
- Any other relief the Court finds appropriate; and
- Provide her with a "bound copy of the administrative record consecutively paginated."
Rodriguez and Her Utah Disability Lawyer Accuse AENTA of A Conflict of Interest
Rodriguez and her Utah disability lawyer allege that AENTA as the governing party for the payment of disability benefits as well as the denial of disability claims displays a conflict of interest when it comes to deciding who is awarded disability benefits under their policies and who is denied.
Aetna Denys Disability Benefits After Change of Definition from Own Occupation to Any Occupation
On May 25, 2008, Rodriguez ceased working at her job at Boeing as the result of a disability and was awarded disability benefits under her AETNA plan. Then, in October 2010, Rodriguez was informed that her benefits were terminated because AETNA’s reviewers had determined that Rodriguez was capable of performing work other than her own occupation. Rodriquez appealed the termination, arguing that she did, indeed, still meet the criteria of her disability insurance plan to continue receiving disability benefits. Inevitably, AETNA didn’t agree and in a letter dated March 10, 2011, informed Rodriguez that the decision to terminate her disability benefits would stand. With no other recourse, Rodriguez and her Utah disability attorney filed her complaint on June 13, 2011 claiming that AENTA was more concerned "over its own funds" and had allowed its decision-making to be influenced by that concern.
In her complaint, Rodriguez states her cause of action for plan benefits against Defendants AETNA and Boeing under 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(1)(B), pointing out that she qualifies to receive her disability benefits under her insurance plan until she reaches the age of retirement, that she remains disabled under her insurance plan requirements, and that AETNA and Boeing have breached their contractual agreement to provide her with those disability benefits.
Rodriguez and Her Utah Disability Lawyer Enumerate AETNA’s Violations in the Administering of Her Disability Benefits Plan
Rodriquez and her Utah disability attorney allege that AETNA was "wrong under the terms of the Plan," that the "decision to terminate benefits and the decision-making process were arbitrary and capricious," that the "decision to terminate benefits was not supported by substantial evidence in the administrative record," and that Rodriguez has suffered damages as a "direct and proximate result of" the insurance company‘s conduct in the evaluation of her claim.
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.