Disability Benefits

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5th Circuit stands alone on degree of disability

After winning summary judgment in the trial court, plaintiff Linda Ellis suffered a crushing defeat in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected her claim for disability coverage.Ellis v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, 2004 U.S.App.LEXIS 24199 (5th Cir., Nov. 19). Ellis was a loan officer for Chase Manhattan Bank until 1999, […]

Disability claims will falter without specifics

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Jordan v. Northrop Grumman Corp. Welfare Benefit Plan, 2004 U.S.App.LEXIS 10626 (June 1), is one of those cases where plaintiff lawyers are able to learn an important lesson even though this particular plaintiff was unsuccessful. Vicki Jordan, an administrative secretary for Northrop Grumman, alleged disability due […]

Defining ‘disability’ means looking at duties

One of the difficulties in analyzing insurance claims involving disability has to do with deciding whether the individual claiming benefits is unable to perform the duties of his own occupation. The case of Freling v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., 2004 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 7107 (S.D. Fla. 2004) is a very interesting example. An obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. […]

Ruling warns against failure to communicate

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided a disability benefits case involving a medical condition that is drawing increased attention among neurologists. Abram v. Cargill Inc., 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 1142 (8th Cir., Jan. 24). Plaintiff Ellen Abram applied for disability benefits in 2000 when she could no longer work due to post-polio […]