Cigna ordered to re-review denial of long-term disability benefits for Senior Vice President at Salomon Smith Barney

William Chapman worked as a Financial Consultant at Salomon Smith Barney, but stopped on June 5, 2004, following a series of heart attacks and angioplastic surgery in four occasions. Because of the side effects, he was unable to take medications to combat his high cholesterol. Both his primary care physician and the specialists treating him restricted him from work because of his conditions.

Although he worked as a Senior Vice President, Cigna classified his occupation as a “Registered Representative/Sales Agent,” and declined his claim for long-term disability benefits on November 2, 2005, claiming that his conditions did not prevent him from performing the sedentary position they claimed he was performing, even though he already had been approved for Social Security Disability benefits. Mr. Chapman filed suit against Cigna for his long-term disability benefits on August 31, 2006.

The court reversed this denial, finding that Cigna had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying long-term disability benefits by failing to consider both Mr. Chapman’s physical and mental conditions within the context of his position. Additionally, the court found that Cigna had failed to adequately consider the physical impairment caused by his cardiac condition that was made worse by his inability to take cholesterol-lowering drugs. Ultimately, the court ordered that Cigna re-review Mr. Chapman’s file, taking into account all the relevant information in the file in determining whether he was entitled to long-term disability benefits.

See Chapman v. The Plan Admin. Comm. of Citigroup, Cigna Life Ins. Co of N.Y., No. 06-CV-6444, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2654 (W.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2008).

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