Mental vs. Physical Disabilities

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Does a co-morbid psychiatric impairment allow a disability insurer to invoke a policy limitation limiting the duration of benefit payments for psychiatric conditions?

The lesson taught by Okuno v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., 2016 WL 4655741 (6th Cir. September 7, 2016), is that the answer to the question posed by the title of this blog is a resounding NO. The case involved a former art director for a clothing company who became disabled on account of Crohn’s […]

One disability claim case brings several common themes together

In reviewing disability determinations, a number of problematic issues appear with relative frequency. The recently issued ruling in Groth v. Centurylink Disability Plan, 2016 WL 1621724 (S.D. Ohio, April 25, 2016), contains a potpourri of such issues. Plaintiff Stacie Groth claimed she was disabled due to lumbar degenerative disk disease, fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety. Despite […]

Court casts questioning eye on whether doctors’ review was fair, independent

Two lessons taught by a recently decided case from Indiana are that insurers need to fairly and independently assess disability claims and must consider the co-morbidity of multiple physical and psychological impairments. In Maiden v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., 2016 WL 81489 (N.D. Ind., Jan. 6, 2016), the court was harshly critical of the manner […]