A Colorado disability attorney filed a federal lawsuit in the Federal court against Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty) and Estes Express Lines (Estes). The Plaintiff, David F., was employed by Estes as an over-the-road truck driver. Due to this employment, Plaintiff was covered by an employee welfare benefit plan that was sponsored by Estes and insured by Liberty.
In David F. Vs Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston and Estes Express Lanes, Plaintiff seeks the reinstatement of short-term disability benefits and the payment of long-term disability benefits as defined by the Plan.
Case Facts Against Liberty and Estes
Plaintiff worked as an over-the-road truck driver for Estes’ facility in Colorado until he became disabled due to seizure disorder, vertigo and balance problems, severe neck and facial pain, poor concentration, and other ailments. These ailments caused the Plaintiff to cease working on approximately October 25, 2010.
On or around October 25, 2010, Plaintiff applied for short-term disability benefits, which were granted by Liberty under the "own occupation" definition of disability as described in the Plan. The STD benefits began to be paid out on October 30, 2010, though the amount received was miscalculated. Liberty informed Plaintiff via letter dated February 8, 2011 that the STD benefits would run through February 8, 2011.
Termination of Short-Term Disability Benefits By Liberty
Liberty informed Plaintiff via letter dated March 28, 2011 that the STD benefits would be terminated after February 8, 2011. Plaintiff filed an appeal letter on April 14, 2011, pointing out that his numerous ailments led to his commercial driving license being terminated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, thereby qualifying him to continue receiving STD benefits.
However, Liberty denied the appeal letter on May 2, 2011. Liberty also informed Plaintiff that all administrative appeals were exhausted and that the only other option was to file a civil lawsuit under ERISA.
Disability Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Liberty
The terms of the lawsuit state that Liberty failed to provide the following to the Plaintiff:
- Performing its fiduciary duties under ERISA
- Coherent, specific reasons why the Plaintiff’s claim was denied
- Reasons why specific medical evidence provided by the Plaintiff as part of his case was ignored by Liberty
The terms of the lawsuit claim that Liberty committed the following wrongful acts against the Plaintiff:
Denying benefits based on "cherry-picking" portions of the Plaintiff’s medical record
Failure to perform other acts that constitute a full and fair review of the Plaintiff’s claim
Using a conflict of interest to wrongfully deny Plaintiff’s claim, as Liberty was both the decision-maker and payer of the claim and benefits under the Plan
Plaintiff Seeks The Following Relief From The Court
Due to Liberty’s actions against the Plaintiff, Plaintiff seeks the following relief from Liberty:
- All Plan benefits from the date that his benefits were denied
- Reinstatement of Plan benefits that remain as long as Plaintiff is eligible under the terms of the Plan
- All prejudgment interest owed on unpaid benefits from the date they were stopped until the present date of this judgment
- All reasonable attorney fees and court costs
- All other relief that the Court deems fair 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.