CIGNA under fire in Minnesota Federal Court for termination of claimant's disability benefits

Plaintiff and her disability attorney filed a lawsuit against CIGNA in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in an effort to procure her entitled disability benefits.

A former employee of Medica Heal Plans (Medica) since May 26, 2006, Plaintiff became disabled in June of 2008 when she “developed increasing difficulty functioning” in the performance of her job due to “various medical problems. These medical problems included “rheumatoid arthritis, ovarian cancer, the after-effects of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lymphedema, peripheral neuropathy, obstructive sleep apnea, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.”

Claimant was initially awarded disability benefits

Plaintiff applied for her ERISA-governed CIGNA disability benefits and was awarded long term disability benefits in June 2008. Subsequently, Plaintiff applied for and was awarded Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), and adhered to CIGNA’s requirement that her disability benefit payments be reduced by the amount of SSDI she received. Plaintiff’s SSDI payments began on September 1, 2008. Then on December 30, 2008, per the terms and conditions of her CIGNA insurance policy, Plaintiff received a waiver on premium payments for her CIGNA life insurance plan.

In April 2009, Plaintiff contacted the insurer and asked for “assistance in making a return to some work.” Hoping to be able to return to part-time employment, Plaintiff signed a Rehabilitation Plan Agreement with CIGNA. After complying with the rehabilitation plan, Plaintiff and her vocational counselor informed the insurer that Plaintiff was looking for a work-at-home opportunity. As such, Plaintiff began working part time for J. Lodge on October 2009 from home by propping up in a chair or in her bed to participate in her new job.

Claimant’s disability claim “red-flagged” as fraud by CIGNA

Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, as a result of her part time work, Plaintiff’s claim was red-flagged for a fraud investigation. The basis of this investigation was that: “(1) Plaintiff was working from home; (2) Plaintiff had too many doctors; [and] (3) Plaintiff was perceived as ‘defensive and aggressive’ when asked about her work limitations.” Surveillance was ordered on Plaintiff by the insurer which captured Plaintiff traveling to a medical appointment and shopping for groceries.

After her claim was reviewed by a CIGNA nurse, who reviewed only a portion of Plaintiff’s medical information, Plaintiff was informed in a letter on March 30, 2010 that it had been determined that she was able to work in any occupation, and her disability benefits would be terminated. Plaintiff appealed the decision, underwent a functional capacities evaluation (at her own expense) and was evaluated for her function ability to return to full-time employment. It was determined that she was precluded from performing any full-time work, including sedentary work. Plaintiff’s records were then forwarded to a CIGNA internist for review, with the internist opining that Plaintiff’s evaluation was wrong and Plaintiff was not disabled.

Claimant’s Life Insurance Benefit Plan Administrator considers Plaintiff disabled

About the time of all this investigation, Plaintiff’s Life Insurance benefit plan was transferred to the care of UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits, who continues to waive Plaintiff’s premium payments as according to this company Plaintiff remains disabled. Plaintiff submitted a second appeal to CIGNA in an effort to retrieve her disability benefits from the insurer, along with proof of the validity of her functional capacities evaluation with a refuting opinion of the pervious internist’s opinion to no avail.

CIGNA claimant engages a disability attorney

Consequently Plaintiff had no other option but to hire a disability attorney to file the subject lawsuit against CIGNA. Asserting that Plaintiff has “satisfied the applicable definition for disability under the LTD [(long term disability)] plan,” is being “wrongfully denied benefits under the LTD plan,” and is a victim of CIGNA’s “breach of the LTD plan and ERISA for terminating disability benefits,” Plaintiff’s attorney asks the District Court for:

  • Plaintiff’s past due LTD benefits plus interest;
  • Continuation of Plaintiff’s LTD monthly benefits payments per the terms of the plan;
  • Payment of costs, disbursements and other expenses of the litigation; and
  • “Such other further relief as this court deems just and proper.”

In the above referenced case our firm did not represent the Plaintiff and had no involvement in the case. The plaintiff in this case was or is represented by a Minnesota Disability Lawyer that is not in any way affiliated with our firm. The information in this post comes from our review of a Complaint that was filed in Federal Court as a public record. This post has been modified from a previous version.


Did you find this helpful?
Unhelpful (0)

Resources to Help You Win Disability Benefits

Disability Benefit Denial Options
Submit a Strong Cigna Appeal Package

We work with you, your doctors, and other experts to submit a very strong Cigna appeal.

Learn more

Sue Cigna

We have filed thousands of disability denial lawsuits in federal Courts nationwide against Cigna.

Learn more

Protect Your Benefits
Get Your Cigna Disability Application Approved
We help claimants throughout the entire application process.

Learn more

Prevent a Cigna Disability Benefit Denial
We manage every aspect of your disability claim following claim approval.

Learn more

Negotiate a Cigna Lump-Sum Settlement

Our goal is to negotiate the highest possible buyout of your long-term disability policy.

Learn more

Answered Questions by Our Lawyers
(70)
Showing 8 of 70 Answered Questions

Q: Why can Cigna get away with not paying me anything for my disability?

Answered on November 6th 2022 by Attorney Jay Symonds
A: Barbara: It sounds like you have a complex situation. Unfortunately, it also sounds like you had legal represe... Read More >

Q: Do I have to be an active employee to apply for LTD?

Answered on October 27th 2022 by Attorney Steven Dell
A: Lori: Generally speaking, if out on claim and a new/different disability arises you can add that to your exist... Read More >

Q: Can Cigna refuse to give me a copy of my short term disability policy?

Answered on September 2nd 2022 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia
A: Dave, since the policyholder is your employer CIGNA can refuse to provide it to you. You should contact your e... Read More >

Q: Is my plan governed by ERISA?

Answered on October 9th 2020 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: LeRoy, we will have to review the policy in order to give an opinion as to whether it would be governed by ERI... Read More >

Q: Can I add a physical disability claim to my mental health one without seeing a doctor (hard to get an appointment with COVID)?

Answered on April 14th 2020 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia
A: Heather, the only way to effectively include your physical disability claim is to see a physician qualified to... Read More >

Q: Do you handle CIGNA cases in Florida?

Answered on February 12th 2020 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Vito, yes. We absolutely do handle Cigna cases in Florida. Please email me at Rachel@diattorney.com and send... Read More >

Q: How can Cigna get away with not answering my calls?

Answered on July 22nd 2019 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Carol, knowing Cigna it sounds like they are approving your claim on appeal for a closed period of time and th... Read More >

Q: Do you handle closed cases only, or open ones as well?

Answered on May 10th 2019 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Renee, we handle all types of open claims with Cigna – applications, claims handling, appeals, lawsuits, buy... Read More >
Helpful Videos
(861)
Showing 12 of 861 Videos
Disability Benefit Tips
(329)
Showing 8 of 329 Benefit Tips

Is Cigna Seeking To Offset Disability Benefit by Social Security Survivor Benefit?

I recently spoke with a gentleman who called into our office who has been receiving long term disability benefits from Cigna for several years... Read More >

Is Cigna's Denial of Your Appeal Really a Denial?

Following the submission of your appeal has Cigna sent you a letter stating that after review of the information provided on appeal their deci... Read More >

What Should a Claimant Expect When Suing Cigna or any Other Disability Company for Long Term Disability Benefits?

ERISA disability lawsuits are complicated due to the pro-insurance company laws. Our disabili... Read More >

Are Cigna Short Term Disability Denials on the Rise?

When it comes to claims for short term disability benefits under ERISA governed group policies, more often than not the short term disability ... Read More >

Cigna's latest strategies for handling and denying disability benefit claims

Watch Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss Cigna's latest strategy for handling disability... Read More >

Is a Claimant's Complaints of Pain Enough to Qualify for Short or Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits?

The answer to this question applies to the vast majority of long term disability insurance claims that we handle on a daily basis. Pain is sub... Read More >

Is My Insurance Company Allowed to Take An Offset of My Monthly LTD Benefit for Social Security Benefits My Kids Receive As A Result of My Disability?

It is common practice for insurance companies to find ways to limit the amount of money they have to pay to claimants. If you are receiving lo... Read More >

Is My "No-Fault" Auto Insurance Settlement an Offset Under My Long Term Disability Insurance Policy?

If your policy is an employer provided group disability policy governed by ERISA, then any proceeds you receive from a settlement based on "No... Read More >
Dell Disability Cases
(369)
Showing 8 of 369 Dell Disability Cases

Cigna Sued For Failing To Make A Timely Decision on Appeal

If your disability insurance claim has ever been denied you will have received a formal denial letter from your insurance carrier in which you... Read More >

CIGNA Overturns a Waiver of Premium for Group Life Insurance Policy

In early 2019, the widow of a decease man contacted our firm as she was troubled by the actions of CIGNA, also known as Life Insurance Company... Read More >

Cigna Admits Error In Denying Disability Benefits

Our client, a former school teacher, suffering from multiple severe medical conditions including autonomic nervous system damage, small fiber ... Read More >

CIGNA Overturned Their Denial of LTD Benefits for Nevada Healthcare Coordinator

Our client, Ms. G, formerly worked as a Healthcare Coordinator for a large regional healthcare provider. For many years Ms. G suffered from ch... Read More >

CIGNA Denies Technology Manager under the Own Occupation Provision & Dell Disability Lawyers Wins Appeal

Our client, Mr. N, formerly worked as a Technology Manager / Vice President for a large bank. For many years Mr. N suffered from chronic debil... Read More >

CIGNA overturned previous denial of waiver of life insurance premiums

Our client was the husband and beneficiary of Ms. S, who formerly worked as a registered nurse for a regional Healthcare System. In January 20... Read More >

Dell Disability Lawyers successfully appeal denial of benefits to claimant with CRPS/RSD

Ms. S contacted our firm after receiving a letter from her disability carrier, Cigna, denying her claim for short term disability benefits und... Read More >

LINA overturned its previous LTD denial for Medical Technologist

Our client, Ms. H, formerly worked as a Medical Technologist for a National Clinical Laboratory. In July 2017 a number of medical issues, incl... Read More >
Disability Lawsuit Stories
(764)
Showing 8 of 764 Lawsuit Stories

Cigna Denial of LTD Benefits for Schlumberger Shop Manager Upheld

In Jerry Courville v. Life Insurance Co of North America (LINA), Plaintiff was employed as a shop manager for Schlum... Read More >

Missouri Court Rules Cigna Wrongfully Terminated Disability Benefits

In the case of Lapidus vs. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am. a Missouri federal court ruled against Cigna finding that Cigna wrongfully terminated long ... Read More >

Missouri Court Orders Cigna to Pay LTD Benefits to Medical Sales Executive

The Plaintiff in this case was vice-president of Medical Benefits at BJC Healthcare when a severe back condition required her to have a spinal... Read More >

Cigna's Termination of Disability Benefits was Arbitrary and Capricious

The case of Lani Kyle Moar v. Cigna Corporation, et al., demonstrates the lengths insurance companies will go to avoid paying long term disabi... Read More >

Court Criticizes Lina For Failing to Perform Independent Examination

Disability Insurance companies are criticized often for failing to perform independent medical evaluations and instead relying exclusively on ... Read More >

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Analyst Wins Long-term Disability Lawsuit against CIGNA

Cal Van Steen had been employed as a Systems Integration Business Analyst at Lockheed Martin Corporation and participated in the company’s g... Read More >

Colorado District Court overturns denial of benefits by Life Insurance Company of North America

In Johnson v. Life Insurance Company of America, a Colorado District Court ruled in favor of the claimant finding LINA’s decision unsupporte... Read More >

Texas Judge Disagrees with Cigna and Applies Claimant Friendly Disability Standard of Review

In Brasseur v. Life Insurance Company of America (LINA), Plaintiff Wilfred Brasseur, a computer engineer, worked in the Houston office of Chic... Read More >

Reviews from Our Clients

Request a Free Consultation

Our Lawyers Respond Same Day

5 Ways We Help Get Your Benefits Paid

Get Your Disability Application Approved

Our goal is to get your application for disability income benefits approved. Applying for disability benefits can be a difficult process and the information you provide is critical. Most disability insurance companies look at your application in hopes of finding a reason to deny your claim. Your disability company will ask you to complete numerous forms, interview you, request lots of information, speak with your doctors and possibly request to have you examined by their "hired gun" doctor.

Through our experience of having helped thousands of disability insurance claimants, our lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and give you the best chance to get your disability claim approved the first time.

Submit A Strong Appeal Package

If your disability insurance benefits have been wrongfully denied, then our lawyers know exactly what it takes to get your disability claim approved. You only get once chance to submit an Appeal, therefore every piece of evidence that will support your disability claim must be included. The goal is to win your disability benefits at the Appeal level, but while preparing your Appeal you must consider how a federal judge will review your disability claim if your benefit denial is upheld.

Preparing a strong disability appeal package is an art that requires you to understand how the courts interpret your disability policy language, ERISA regulations / laws, and how to strategically present evidence in support of your definition of "disability". We encourage you to contact any of our lawyers for a free immediate review of your disability denial.

Sue Your Disability Company

98% of the disability insurance lawsuits filed by our law firm have resulted in either the payment of benefits or a lump-sum settlement agreement. Our disability lawyers have filed ERISA governed and private policy long term disability insurance lawsuits against every major disability insurance company in state and federal courts nationwide and we love fighting for the "little guy" against the multi-billion dollar insurance company giants.

We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we would like the opportunity to provide you with a free review of your disability benefit denial. There are many complex factors in a disability benefit lawsuit and the legal battle to win long term disability benefits can be fierce.

Prevent A Disability Benefit Denial

Approval of long-term disability is a continuous process as every disability insurance company will evaluate your eligibility for benefits on a monthly basis. You can never let your guard down and assume that your disability company will continue to pay your benefits for as long as you think you need them.

Our law firm offers a reasonable flat fee monthly claim handling service in which we handle every aspect of your long-term disability claim and do whatever it takes to make sure you are paid every month.

Negotiate a Lump-Sum Settlement

Let's discuss if a lump-sum settlement or buyout of your disability insurance claim is both available and makes financial sense for you. Our lawyers have negotiated more than five-hundred million dollars in disability insurance buyouts and we know how to get you a maximum settlement. A disability insurance company is not required to offer a buyout and not every disability company offers them.

Questions About Hiring Us

Who are Dell Disability Lawyers?

We are disability insurance lawyers that know how to get your short or long term disability benefits paid. As a nationwide law firm we have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the United States to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits from every major disability insurance company.

In more than 98% of our cases, our lawyers have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our lawyers have seen it all when it comes to disability insurance claims and we know exactly what it takes for your disability claim to be approved.

We welcome you to contact any of our attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability claim. We also invite you to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have more than 700 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

Who do you help?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer. We have helped individuals in almost every type of occupation with monthly disability benefit payments ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.

Our clients include all types of employees ranging from retail associates, sales representatives, government employees, police officers, teachers, janitors, nurses, pilots, truck drivers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, professional athletes, business owners, and high level executives.

A strong understanding and presentation of the duties of your occupation is essential for securing disability insurance benefits.

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 phone, email, fax, GoToMeeting 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 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers 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.