An Alabama Claimant and her Alabama disability attorney filed suit against Liberty Life Assurance in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Northeastern Division. A former DIRECTV Group, Inc. employee, Juarlesa W. worked as a customer service representative and was fully vested in her company’s Liberty Life Insurance Plan when she became disabled in January 2010.
Suffering from the "combined effects of several impairments, including cervical/lumbar degenerative disc disease, lumbar/cervical radiculitis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease of the right shoulder, chronic pain syndrome, post-op knee arthropathy, hypertension, GERD, migraines, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia," Juarlesa W. and her disability attorney filed suit against the insurer on November 7, 2011 for denial of Juarlesa W.’s long term disability benefits.
Background of Alabama Claimant’s Suit against Liberty Life
Approved for her short term disability benefits by Liberty Life, Juarlesa W. has an issue with only the denial of her long term disability benefits. After her short-term disability benefits expired, Liberty life began paying Juarlesa W. her long-term disability payments, but arbitrarily decided to terminate those payments in September 2010. The insurer asked for further information from Juarlesa W.’ treating physician to further evaluate her disability claim. In response, Juarlesa W.’s treating physician submitted a letter in November 2010, confirming that Juarlesa W.’s condition remained the same, meaning the same as when Liberty Life approved Juarlesa W.’s disability claim and paid her disability benefits.
Ignoring Juarlesa W.’s physician’s opinion as well as the insurer’s own physician consultant, Liberty Life continues to stand by their opinion that Juarlesa W.’s is not disabled and denies her further disability benefits. According to the complaint filed by Juarlesa W.’s disability attorney, "Liberty Life redid its prior decision concluding that [Juarlesa W.] was no longer disabled for the very same reasons it previously approved her claim." In addition, the insurer has not provided any other evidence that would indicate that Juarlesa W. is not disabled. After appealing and losing all administrative challenges to Liberty Life’s decision to terminate her long term disability benefits, Juarlesa W. hired a disability attorney to litigate her claim in District Court.
Disability Attorney States Case against Liberty Life
Offering up Juarlesa W.’s lengthy medical history as well as the opinions of her treating physician and Liberty Life’s own evaluating physician, Juarlesa W.’s attorney claims that Liberty Life wrongfully terminated Juarlesa W.’s disability benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Insurance Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as well as in violation of Liberty Life’s own policies. Consequently, Juarlesa W. and her disability attorney ask the District Court to:
- Review her disability benefits claim with Liberty Life;
- Award her all past due long-term disability benefits to which she is entitled;
- Reinstate Juarlesa W.’s claim to all present and future long-term disability benefits under her plan;
- Award her attorney’s fees;
- Award Juarlesa W. interest on all past due disability benefits; and
- Further relief as is 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.