In Mary A. Vs Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the Plaintiff, with the help of her Alabama Disability Attorney, files this lawsuit against Sun Life seeking reinstatement of long term disability benefits as promised under the terms of the Plan.
History of Case
Plaintiff is a disabled individual who was employed by Liberty National as a Sales Agent. This occupation required her to consistently spend an average of nine hours "in the field" traveling to and from job sites. It further required 10-11 hour work days during the course of a week. The Plaintiff was required to perform and fulfill numerous essential job functions, requirements, and qualifications associated with her occupation. Some of these functions included compiling lists of prospective clients, contacting those prospective clients, calling on policyholders to deliver and explain the policy, and servicing the business of existing and new customers.
On or about January 28, 2007, Plaintiff became unable to work due to a culmination of disabling physical health issues. These issues related to seizure auras, physical pain, fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, and problems with memory. These issues primarily relate to seizure auras, physical pain, fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, and problems with memory. As a result of her health problems and inability to continue working, the Plaintiff filed an application for long term disability benefits with Sun Life on or around July 12, 2007.
Sun Life approved the claim and began paying out monthly disability benefits effective July 27, 2007. The Social Security Administration determined that the Plaintiff was unable to perform any gainful occupation based on her physical health problems, thereby approving her for Social Security Disability benefits upon her initial application. These benefits began to be paid out in July 2007.
Sun Life Abruptly Terminates Long Term Disability Benefit Payments
On or about July 31, 2008, Sun Life informed Plaintiff that she no longer qualified for disability payments based on a review of her records. Plaintiff filed an appeal of this decision via letter dated August 4, 2008. Plaintiff also supplied additional medical documentation that she was still disabled and unable to work. She included notes from two different physicians she had been seeing, both of whom stated that Plaintiff was not able to work.
Despite this mounting evidence, on August 17, 2009, Sun Life terminated Plaintiff’s long term disability benefits retroactive to July 27, 2009. Plaintiff filed an appeal letter on or about October 21, 2009. Once again, she submitted multiple pieces of medical evidence, including statements from both treating physicians, to back her claim. Sun Life failed to respond to this latest appeal until it finally sent a letter to the Plaintiff on March 26, 2010.
Due to its failure to follow ERISA regulations, Plaintiff’s administrative remedies have been exhausted, leading to the filing of this lawsuit against Sun Life.
Premise of Argument Against Sun Life
Sun Life wrongfully denied Plaintiff’s claim and subsequent appeals. It relied upon several biased and erroneous physician consultant reports generated by physicians who are regularly utilized by insurance companies to deny claims.
Furthermore, these physicians were employed by third-party vendor companies Network Medical Review and Professional Disability Associates, companies which receive a substantial portion of income from providing physician consultant reviews to insurance companies and employers. These physicians ignored most of the medical evidence in the claim, cherry-picked evidence favorable to justify a termination of benefits, and misconstrued evidence and statements contained in the claim record.
Relief Sought By Plaintiff Against Sun Life
Plaintiff wants the following relief due to the wrongful termination of long term disability benefits:
- An award of penalties of $110.00 per day, per violation for each day that the Defendants fail to provide the long term disability benefits that are promised under the Plan
- An award of all associated attorney’s fees and court costs
- All other relief that the Court decides to be proper and fair
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.