In Vicki Young v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Company, plaintiff Young, a mortgage broker, was initially granted disability benefits in September 2010 based on her diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The initial two years of her disability were based on her inability to perform the essentially duties of her own occupation.

After two years, Sun Life continued her long term disability (LTD) benefits on the grounds that she did not have the ability to perform the job duties of any occupation for which she was qualified. Suddenly, in 2015, Sun Life terminated her benefits, stating she was no longer disabled under the “any occupation” standard. Young’s administrative appeal was denied and she filed this ERISA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

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In Micha v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and Group Disability Benefits Plan (Sun Life v. Group Disability), plaintiff John Paul Micha, M.D., was covered by a disability benefit policy through Sun Life which had been purchased by Group Disability, an employee welfare plan maintained to provide disability benefits to the employees of the medical group of which Micha was a part.

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In Schmitz v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life), the claimant, Jeff Schmitz, was fired by Banner Engineering in July 2008 on the grounds his work performance was poor. In October 2011, Schmitz was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He then filed for disability benefits under the policy which covered him during his employment with Banner. He claimed symptoms caused by his multiple sclerosis were what caused his poor performance resulting in him being terminated. Therefore, he argued, he was disabled at the time he was fired.

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In an unpublished opinion issued on July 7, 2014 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, a Federal Court ruled somewhat surprisingly and approved Sun Life’s decision to “offset” VA Benefits from a disabled Veteran’s monthly disability benefits. While this case is not “binding precedent,” it can serve as a warning for those that are receiving VA Benefits, or any other income benefits, that are not listed in their Long Term Disability (LTD) ERISA Policy.
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Mr. R had worked as a shop floor supervisor before his chronic back pain, which resulted from a slip and fall that herniated several disks in his back, and resulted in three failed back surgeries, caused him to file for long-term disability under his Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada group long-term disability insurance policy. Like most group long-term disability policies, Mr. R’s Sun Life policy paid disability benefits for the first 24 months if he was disabled from his own occupation as a shop floor supervisor.


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After receiving disability benefits for 5 years from Sun Life insurance Company, Connie never expected her disability insurance benefits would be denied. Connie Hepburn was a "participant" in a Sun Life Disability benefit plan ("the Plan,") due to her employment with Toyoda-Koki Automotive North America, Inc. ("Toyoda") as a Shipping Supervisor in the Production Control