A recent decision from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee established strong arguments in support of total disability for an OB/GYN suffering from an injury to her right index finger. In Nylander v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum) the Court was tasked with ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgement filed by Unum in which Unum was asking the Court to dismiss Dr. Nylander’s claim for total disability benefits. For reasons discussed below the Court denied Unum’s motion and in doing so allowed Dr. Nylander’s claim for total disability to proceed through to trial.
There are certain legal factors that must be determined by a Judge when entering a ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment, the most important being a determination as to the existence of a material issue of fact for a decision maker (Jury) to consider. This article will focus on the factors that the Court deemed were sufficient to establish a material issue of fact in Dr. Nylander’s claim for total disability benefits that resulted in the case not being dismissed. It should also be noted that Dr. Nylander’s disability insurance policy was an Individual Disability Income/Insurance (IDI) policy and not an employer provided group disability policy governed by ERISA. As such Dr. Nylander has a great deal more rights as it relates to trial- including a jury trial, live testimony, the ability to take depositions, etc.
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