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May 2017 Archives

Fibromyalgia recognized as a disabling impairment

Attorneys Mark DeBofsky and Bridget O'Ryan secured a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals on May 18, 2017 in a disability benefit case involving fibromyalgia - Kennedy v. Lilly Extended Disability Plan, 2017 WL 2178091 (7th Cir. May 18, 2017)(available at Final Opinion). The court began its ruling by announcing that this case is about fibromyalgia, and then proceeds to explain the nature of the condition, its chronicity, and the severity of the pain it causes. Cathleen Kennedy was a senior human resources executive at Eli Lilly & Company, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, before she became disabled due to fibromyalgia. Lilly is very familiar with fibromyalgia since it markets Cymbalta to treat the disease.  Lilly has also retained Dr. Daniel Clauw, a professor of rheumatology at the University of Michigan, as a consultant on fibromyalgia.  Dr. Clauw has publicly stated that many persons who suffer from fibromyalgia "end up needing to stop working because of this condition" and has also remarked that fibromyalgia "is not only very common but is typically also very disabling." 

Surveillance, social media investigations, and tactics insurance companies use to deny disability insurance claims

Insurance companies often hire private investigators to find ways to deny or discontinue payment of disability insurance benefits. The tactics that big business uses to develop evidence seems to expand as technology changes. For years, insurance companies have sent investigators to conduct undercover surveillance stake outs, hoping to secure video evidence that a claimant is not really disabled, or is less injured than he or she claims. However, in a court ruling obtained several years ago by our firm, Skibbe v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., No. 05 C 3658, 2007 WL 2874035, at *11 n. 3 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2007), the court pointed out: 

DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari, PC