The Plaintiff, Joni D., with the help of her Alabama Disability Attorney has filed a lawsuit against Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company and the Group Long Term Disability Policy For Employees Of Madison County Community Hospital for the wrongful termination of long term disability benefits.

In Joni D. Vs. Reliance Standard, Plaintiff is suing the Defendants for the unjust termination of her long term disability benefits under the terms of the long term disability plan.

Plaintiff Needed To Use LTD Plan

Plaintiff worked as a Critical Care Registered Nurse, an occupation that required her to perform and fulfill numerous essential job functions, requirements, and qualifications associated with her occupation, including providing direct and indirect patient care, responding quickly and accurately to changes in condition or response to treatment, and performing general nursing duties. Due to her employment, Plaintiff was eligible and partook in the LTD policy that was underwritten by Reliance Standard.

On or about May 5, 2003, Plaintiff became unable to work due to a culmination of disabling physical health issues. These issues were clearly documented in the Plaintiff’s medical records. Plaintiff became totally disabled on a permanent basis on or about February 25, 2010. This prevented her from any type of gainful employment as was confirmed by the Social Security Administration as of May 4, 2003. But does receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration mean the insurance company will also continually provide long term disability benefits? As Joni came to find out, that answer is no.

Filing of Benefits

Plaintiff filed for LTD benefits on or around November 24, 2003. Reliance Standard agreed to pay the LTD benefits effective October 31, 2003. According to the terms of the Plan, the Plaintiff’s condition changed from "disability" to "inability" as of October 31, 2006.

Reliance Standard paid LTD benefits for six years. This included paying the Plaintiff disability benefits under the "any occupation" definition of disability from October 31, 2006 to August 31, 2009.

Reliance Standard Terminated the Benefits Five Times From 2003-2010

On five different occasions, Reliance Standard terminated, denied, or closed the claim between October 31, 2003 and January 7, 2010. This was despite the fact that numerous objective tests showed that the Plaintiff’s back pain and radiculopathy continued to exist. The Plaintiff has also continually submitted additional evidence confirming her pain, including medical records and information from doctor visits.

Reliance Standard also improperly handled the Plaintiff’s claims over the years, including a time when it claimed that the Plaintiff returned to work even though she never did. It is alleged that Reliance Standard did this to avoid paying the Plaintiff LTD benefits. Despite Reliance Standard’s own "quality review unit" claiming that Plaintiff met LTD terms of the Plan and could not handle "any occupation," Reliance Standard continually terminated Plaintiff’s benefits until its final termination letter on January 7, 2010.

Plaintiff Files Lawsuit Against Reliance Standard and Group

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against Reliance Standard because Reliance Standard based its denial on its own "independent" medical examiner’s report and attached physical capacity form, even though the two reports contradicted each other and the Plaintiff’s submitted medical records and reports. The examiner was also provided through MES Solutions, a biased third party company that has regularly had contact with Reliance Standard, indicating a conflict of interest. Plaintiff also claims that Reliance Standard failed to consider all medical records and other information submitted by the Plaintiff.

Plaintiff Seeks The Following From This Lawsuit

Plaintiff wants the following relief from Reliance Standard and Group:

  • A de novo review of the Plaintiff’s claim for long term disability benefits
  • All of the past due long term disability benefits
  • Reinstatement of Plaintiff’s claim to all present and future disability benefits so long as Plaintiff is eligible under the LTD Plan
  • Award of all attorney’s fees and expenses
  • Interest on all past due benefits
  • All other relief that the Court deems to be just 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.