Fiduciary Duties

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Can an employee’s obligation to provide evidence of insurability to secure life insurance be excused by the doctrine of incontestability or by an ERISA claim for breach of fiduciary duty?

A recent life insurance case involving the issue of incontestability caught our attention. Patterson v. Reliance Standard Life Ins.Co., 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 171873 (C.D.Cal. December 4, 2013)(Issue: Incontestability). This case involved life insurance – the plaintiff’s sister was an employee of Redlands Community Hospital who was offered the opportunity to purchase $260,000 in voluntary group life […]

Court recognizes fiduciary breach claim when health insurer gives erroneous information

Killian v. Concert Health Plan, 2013 U.S.App.LEXIS 22657 (7th Cir. November 6, 2013). Most private insurance plans require pre-certification before hospital admissions; and a major cost-savings method used by insurers is to negotiate rates with “preferred” providers. The utilization of a preferred provider network encourages plan participants to utilize the services of the preferred providers […]

DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari wins ruling on fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege

In Krase v. Life Ins.Co. of North America, 11 C 7659, 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 100302 (N.D.Ill. July 18, 2013), Judge John Grady upheld DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari’s challenge to an insurer’s assertion of attorney-client privilege over emails generated by an in-house attorney during the course of administering an appeal of the denial of a life insurance […]

Equity provides a way to right a wrong

If a health insurer mistakenly advises a patient that a surgical procedure is covered by its policy – and in reliance on that advice, the patient proceeds with the surgery, can the patient recoup the expenses incurred in undergoing the procedure from the insurance company if the insurer maintains that its prior advice was mistaken? […]

Florida case offers lesson on ERISA, good-faith duties and fair dealing

The main lesson taught by a recent federal court ruling issued in Florida, Wilson v. Walgreen Income Protection Plan, 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 62021 (M.D.Fla. April 29, 2013), is that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) imposes duties of good faith and fair dealing that preclude deceptive and unreasonable claim handling tactics. The plaintiff, Deborah Wilson, […]