Civil Procedure

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Documents ruling cuts access to courts

A federal judge in Georgia recently answered the question of whether the penalties that are available under § 502(c)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c), up to $110 per day for failure to provide plan participants and beneficiaries with plan documents on request, applies to documents sought as part of […]

Court judgment stays on the books

A federal court in Virginia recently confronted a situation that arises with some degree of regularity: a judgment is entered by a court, the loser files a notice of appeal and then offers to settle the case, but imposes as a condition of the settlement that the judgment be vacated. Earlier this year, a district […]

Court applies common sense to ERISA

In this short but fascinating ruling, a federal court in Florida analyzed defendant Unum Life Insurance Co.’s motion for a protective order after the plaintiff issued notices to depose Unum claims employees and one of the insurer’s doctors. The claimed basis for the protective order was Unum’s contention that the depositions would not lead to […]

Appeals court rejects ruling on tardy review

Deadlines carry little weight if there are no repercussion for missing them. Take the case of Gatti v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., 2005 U.S.App.LEXIS 9895 (9th Cir., May 31), which involved a claimant who received disability benefits for nearly seven years due to complications of Hepatitis B. The insurer cut off benefits in 2000, […]

Ruling undercuts ERISA promise of protection

For the last year, there has been an ongoing debate in the federal court in Philadelphia as to whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. sec1001, et seq., preempts claims involving insured benefits such as disability or health insurance disputes brought under Pennsylvania’s bad-faith statute, 42 Pa.C.S. sec8371. On the one side are […]