Attorneys’ Fees

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Surprising ruling finds Unum’s interpretation capricious

After overturning a district court denial and winning a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals finding Unum’s interpretation of the self-reported illness clause in its disability insurance policies was arbitrary and capricious (661 F.3d 323), the plaintiff was denied fees on remand. Weitzenkamp v. Unum Life Ins. Co. 2011 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11095 (E.D.Wisc. Jan. 31, […]

Considering a ‘prevailing party’ requirement

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) provides: “In any action under this title (other than an action described in paragraph 2) by a participant, beneficiary, or fiduciary, the court in its discretion may allow a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs of action to either party.” 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1). In Hardt v. […]

Courts deal with issue of ERISA attorney fees

The saga of Fitts v. Unum Life Ins.Co. of America, 2010 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 2529 (D.D.C. Jan. 13, 2010), which has spanned more than 10 years, has finally come to an end. The case went to the Court of Appeals twice on the issue of whether Unum’s limitation on the duration of benefits for mental and nervous […]

Appeals court clarifies factors for fee awards

A federal appeals court recently examined the issue of when attorney fees are properly awarded in cases brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case of Gaeth v. Hartford Life Insurance Co., 2008 U.S.App.LEXIS 17590 (6th Cir., Aug. 19), involved a former sales manager for Oracle Corp. […]

Court issues important case on attorney fees

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Moon v. Unum Provident Corp., 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 22321 (June 29) (published), has tremendous instructive value with respect to awards of attorneys’ fees following a Court of Appeals reversal of benefit denial. Following the 6th Circuit’s reversal of the district court’s ruling in Moon v. […]