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Aetna Life Insurance Company sued by Bank of America and Huhtamaki employees for failing to provide ERISA benefits

Two Plaintiffs filed cases against Aetna Life Insurance Company (Aetna) in the Maine and California District Courts due to the failure to provide disability benefits provided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. In the previously mentioned cases filed through the plaintiffs’ disability lawyers, it is alleged that Aetna has wrongfully denied the Plaintiffs’ claims for disability benefits as provided by the terms of those respective plans.

First Case – Maine

In Bonnie R. Vs. Huhtamaki, Inc. and Aetna Life Insurance Company, the Plaintiff filed an ERISA lawsuit in the District Court of Maine via a Maine disability attorney against the Defendants for failure to provide disability benefits covered by ERISA. Plaintiff was hired by Huhtamaki, Inc., a specialty packaging and consumer food service product manufacturer, as a rough finisher with the “Rough Finish Dry End Crew” (Rough Finish). Due to her employment, Plaintiff was covered by the Huhtamaki TDI plan, which was insured by Aetna.

Plaintiff filed a report on February 18, 2010 stating that she could no longer work for the “Rough Finish Dry End Crew” due to continuing sexual harassment and retaliation against her by other Rough Finish workers that led to Plaintiff developing depression, anxiety, a psychological breakdown, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite continuing treatments and psychological counseling sessions from February to September 2010, the Plaintiff had not made enough progress to resume working in a factory setting according to her psychological counselor, Patricia G., LCSW (Ms. G.) and her primary care physician, Dr. Susan C. (Dr. C.). As a result, Ms. G. and Dr. C both completed Aetna’s Attending Physician’s Statement, stating that Plaintiff could not return to factory work with Huhtamaki.

On April 2, 2010, Aetna denied her claim for benefits under the Plan as provided by Aetna. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal of that decision, but that appeal was denied by letter by Aetna on July 21, 2010, based largely on the opinion of Aetna’s own peer physician, Elana Mendelssohn, Psy.D., who never examined the Plaintiff. On April 25, 2011, a letter was sent from Aetna to the Plaintiff stating that no further review of Plaintiff’s claim would be examined. Due to the Plaintiff exhausting her administrative appeals, Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit against Aetna.

The Second Case – California

In Mary S. Vs. Aetna Life Insurance Company, Bank of America Corporation Short Term Disability Plan (Bank of America), the lawsuit was filed via a disability attorney in the District Court of the Central District of California. Plaintiff was employed by Bank of America as a Claims Administrator and Senior Vice President of the Home Loans Division for Bank of America Corporation and was covered under Bank of America’s short-term disability plan, which was believed to be funded by Aetna.

Plaintiff had a two-year history of left eye twitching that started in October 2008. She was treated with Botox, which helped to stop the twitching. However, the Botox treatment in February 2011 caused complications that led to slurred speech and hypersensitivity above her left eye, popping in her left ear, ear pain, and headaches above the eye.

Plaintiff became totally disabled and was on medical leave between March 4, 2011 and March 8, 2011. Aetna denied Plaintiff’s claim due to a lack of medical evidence to support the Plaintiff’s inability to perform the essential functions of her own occupation. This was despite the fact that Plaintiff’s treating physician, Dr. Cher C. , M.D. (Dr. C.), extended Plaintiff’s medical leave from March 28, 2011 through April 11, 2011.

On March 29, 2011, Plaintiff faxed a written appeal of this decision to Aetna, including a letter from Dr. C. from March 28, 2011 that stated that Plaintiff needed time off work to overcome her increasing anxiety, in the appeal. Aetna requested more information on April 1 and 19, 2011 and on May 4 and 18, 2011. Dr. C. again extended Plaintiff’s medical leave from April 11, 2011 through May 9, 2011.

Aetna had conducted peer reviews with Dr. C. between April 2011 to July 2011. Aetna’s physicians were unconvinced that Plaintiff had visual impairment that would keep her from working in her occupation, eventually leading to Aetna denying Plaintiff’s appeal on July 29, 2011.

Following Relief Sought In Filed Lawsuits

In the two previously mentioned cases, the Plaintiffs request that the following relief from Aetna is granted:

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FAQ

Do you help Aetna claimants nationwide?

We represent Aetna clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Aetna disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Aetna. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Aetna.

How do you help Aetna claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Aetna long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Aetna:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

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