Cathleen Kennedy v. Eli Lilly & Co.

DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C., along with Bridget O’Ryan and O’Ryan Law Offices won a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on May 18, 2017 in the case of Cathleen Kennedy v. Eli Lilly & Co., 856 F.3d 1136 (7th Cir. 2017). The case involved a disability benefit claim brought by Kennedy, a former senior human resources executive for Lilly, who became disabled on account of fibromyalgia. Although her claim for benefits were originally approved, Kennedy challenged the subsequent termination of her benefit claim and won her case in federal court. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling that Lilly’s termination of benefits was arbitrary and capricious.

The court’s discussion of fibromyalgia and disability reinforced the disabling nature of that condition; and the court was critical of Lilly’s inadequate consideration of Kennedy’s claim both as to a deficient medical examination and the benefit committee’s failure to offer a reasonable explanation of Kennedy’s employability in the face of unpredictable symptom flares that made working on a regular and continuous basis impossible.