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Microsoft Employee Sues Prudential For Wrongful Denial Of Long-Term Disability Benefits

A Washington lawyer just filed a federal lawsuit against The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential). The Plaintiff, Jewel T., worked as an Escalation Specialist for Microsoft. This employment entitled to the Plaintiff to short-term and long-term disability benefits via Microsoft’s Group Disability Insurance Plan that was funded by Prudential.

In Jewel T. v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Plaintiff seeks long-term disability benefits that were wrongfully withheld by Prudential.

Case Facts Against Prudential

Plaintiff was employed by Microsoft as an Escalation Specialist until she became disabled on December 1, 2009. On September 22, 2008, Plaintiff was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 268 from Seattle to New York. This flight lost multiple power systems and ran off the runway. Due to this traumatic experience, Plaintiff began experiencing symptoms of anxiety and PTSD. These symptoms greatly interfered with her ability to perform her material duties as an Escalation Specialist, a high-stress occupation. Her work performance declined and began missing work without pay. Her last day of work was November 30, 2009.

Plaintiff applied for and received short-term disability benefits from December 1, 2009 through May 17, 2010, a period of 168 days. Plaintiff’s long-term disability benefits were to begin on May 18, 2010.

Plaintiff attempted to return to work on May 18, 2010 and worked through June 8, 2010. She worked two days per week at home, but despite this, she went back out of work on June 9, 2010 due to increased panic attacks and PTSD. Plaintiff then applied for long-term disability benefits.

Denial Of Long-Term Disability Benefits By Prudential

On June 30, 2010, Prudential denied Plaintiff’s claim for long-term disability benefits. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal challenging this denial, but Prudential denied the appeal on April 11, 2011. Plaintiff filed a second appeal, but Prudential also denied this appeal on December 9, 2011. Plaintiff has exhausted all of her administrative remedies and has filed this ERISA lawsuit against Prudential.

Lawsuit Filed Against Prudential For Denial Of Long-Term Disability Benefits

According to the terms of the lawsuit, it is alleged that Prudential committed the following wrongful actions against the Plaintiff:

  • Prudential did not properly discharge its duties as plan fiduciary
  • Prudential’s denial of Plaintiff’s claim for long-term disability benefits is capricious and arbitrary
  • Prudential failed to properly evaluate the Plaintiff’s claim, including medical evidence supplied by the Plaintiff
  • Prudential failed to identify why Plaintiff’s claim was denied
  • Prudential failed to identify how Plaintiff could modify claim so as to have her claim accepted

Plaintiff Wants Following Relief From Prudential

Due to Prudential’s wrongful actions against the Plaintiff, Plaintiff seeks following relief from the Court:

  • A judgment against Prudential to award Plaintiff past long-term disability benefits, along with accrued interest from the date of June 9, 2010 to the present date
  • A judgment against Prudential that Plaintiff is entitled to future long-term disability benefits so long as she remains eligible for them according to the terms of the Plan
  • A judgment against Prudential that all reasonable attorney fees are paid
  • A judgment against Prudential that all associated court costs are paid
  • A judgment against Prudential for all equitable relief as the law and case facts warrant
  • A judgment against Prudential for all other relief that the Court declares to be fair and proper