Two different ERISA lawsuits were recently filed by disability attorneys in California and Florida against Reliance Standard Insurance Company for the wrongful denial of disability benefits.

The First Case

In the first case, the plaintiff, through a California disability attorney filed a lawsuit in the District Court for Eastern California. The plaintiff was employed by Nu Skin Enterprises. While working for Nu Skin Enterprises, the plaintiff participated in Nu Skin’s Long-Term Disability Package to its employees. Reliance was the plan administrator for the disability insurance plan.

The plaintiff applied for Long Term Disability through Reliance on June 1, 2007 due to falling ill and experiencing severe pain in both his hips and knees that kept him from being present at work and being unable to perform the duties of his position for three continuous years. Reliance stated its approval of Plaintiff’s claim for benefits on December 14, 2007. Plaintiff applied for Social Security benefits as required by the Plan and his disability began on June 1, 2007. Plaintiff received a back award of $21,769.68 from the Social Security Administration and made a payment in this same amount to Reliance to meet the terms of the Plan. Plaintiff still receives Social Security Disability Benefits.

On September 29, 2009, Reliance informed Plaintiff that further long-term disability benefits would be denied based on the condition that the Plaintiff was suffering from a mental or nervous disorder. Reliance informed Plaintiff that because he was not in a Hospital or Institution, he could not receive further payments beyond August 30, 2009, 24 months after the first benefits were paid out.

The plaintiff appealed the denial and was issued a final denial by Reliance on October 26, 2010. In the lawsuit, the Plaintiff alleged that Reliance breached the terms of the Plan, which has caused the Plaintiff to suffer currently and to continue suffering in the future.

The Second Case

The second lawsuit was filed at the Middle District Court for the District of Florida by a Florida disability attorney. The plaintiff in this case was an employee for Southern Freight. He was provided with a LTD coverage plan that was fully insured by Reliance. Plaintiff received short-term benefits that ran from January 26, 2010 to April 27, 2010. However, despite continuing to fulfill the definition of "disabled" as defined by the Plan and being backed by the written testimony of his physicians, Reliance denied LTD benefits on July 21, 2010.

Relief Sought in the Lawsuits

In the aforementioned cases, the relief sought by the plaintiffs from Reliance in their lawsuits comprises of:

  • A declaration that the plaintiffs are entitled to LTD benefits under their respective plans
  • Benefits that are due and have not been paid, as well as interest
  • An award of attorney’s fees and costs
  • Any other relief that the court deems just and appropriate

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.