A South Carolina disability attorney recently filed a federal ERISA lawsuit against the Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. The plaintiff was employed by Michelin North America, Inc., who contracted with Defendant Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston d/b/a Liberty Mutual to provide long-term disability benefits to its employees. By virtue of his employment, Plaintiff was covered by Michelin’s Long-Term Disability Group Policy.
The Plaintiff was forced to file a disability lawsuit under the Employment Retirement Income and Security Act (ERISA) to recover long-term disability benefits that were wrongfully withheld by Liberty.
The Facts of the Case Against Liberty Insurance Company
Plaintiff is a United Kingdom citizen and is a resident alien of the State of South Carolina, residing in Greenville County.
In October 2005, Plaintiff began receiving medical treatment for Chronic Bi-Polar Disorder (Bi-Polar I) and Depression. His condition worsened to the point where he could no longer work as a engineer project/process manager for Michelin. He was placed on Short-Term Disability and began receiving his short-term disability benefits from Liberty on November 17, 2008.
On or about May 20, 2009, Plaintiff was placed on Long-Term Disability and received those benefits from Liberty. His condition worsened to the point in November 2009 where he had to cease his employment with Michelin after nearly 38 years of employment.
On December 27, 2009, Plaintiff’s wife of 30 years died from breast cancer that turned into liver cancer, which deepened Plaintiff’s depression. This continued a trend of his condition worsening to the point that he had much difficulty doing the simplest day-to-day tasks, such as paying the bills, maintaining his home, and caring for himself. This led to Plaintiff being hospitalized and receiving pharmaceutical treatment for his Bi-Polar Disorder and Depression.
Plaintiff is unable to recover to the point where he will be able to work in any sort of fulltime employment, as he continually deals with episodes of disorientation and memory loss, making the completion of daily tasks impossible.
On or about September 5, 2010, Plaintiff experienced a Grand Mal Seizure, which led to his hospitalization. He experienced another such seizure on November 19, 2010, resulting in 3 weeks of hospitalization in intensive care at the Carolina Center in Greenville County.
Denial of Liberty Disability Benefits Claim
Despite the facts mentioned above, on or about May 19, 2010, Liberty informed Plaintiff that he no longer met the Policy’s definition of disability, his benefit payments would stop on May 19, 2011, and his LTD claim would be closed as of May 20, 2011.
Plaintiff requested a review of Liberty’s decision to deny his LTD claim.
Despite the fact that Plaintiff was 58-years-old, unlikely to be trained for a new career that would provide enough income for him to live, and to even struggle with handling day-to-day-affairs, Liberty upheld its denial of Plaintiff’s LTD claim on or about August 11, 2010.
South Carolina Disability Lawyer Files Lawsuit Against Liberty
According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff alleges that Liberty did the following to the Plaintiff:
- In bad faith, arbitrarily, maliciously, wrongfully, and without due cause deny the Plaintiff his claim for LTD benefits.
- Failed to thoroughly and adequately review Plaintiff’s medical history and records, ignoring Plaintiff’s seizures, and disregarded Plaintiff’s physicians’ opinions on Plaintiff’s inability to resume employment and handle simple day-to-day tasks.
- Liberty’s actions and omissions in investigating, reviewing and deciding Mr. Robinson’s LTD claim were unreasonable, improper, and in bad faith.
- Liberty violated terms of the LTD benefit plan between it and the Plaintiff.
- Caused actual and consequential damages to the Plaintiff, both now and in the future, including attorney’s fees and costs, as well as other damages.
Relief Sought By The Plaintiff In The Liberty Lawsuit
Due to Liberty’s actions, Plaintiff seeks the following from the Court:
- A trial by jury.
- An award of full coverage under the LTD benefit plan retroactive to May 19, 2010, including any prejudgment interest that the Court may deem appropriate.
- An award for actual and compensatory damages, pre-judgment interest, and appropriate punitive damages.
- An award of attorney’s fees and costs for bringing this lawsuit to the Court.
- An award of all other relief that the Court deems proper and just.
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.