CIGNA Group Insurance and Subsidiaries sued in Alabama, New York and Michigan for allegedly acting arbitrarily and capriciously in denying claims for long term disability benefits

Recently, the CIGNA Group Insurance and its subsidiaries (CIGNA) faced a barrage of disability insurance lawsuits filed against the company and its subsidiaries across the country allegedly for denying long term disability (LTD) benefits by ignoring overwhelming medical evidences that supported the plaintiffs’ disabled condition.

The Plaintiff v Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company:

The case of The Plaintiff v Cigna Health and Life Insurance Companywas filed by a disability attorney at the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiff participated in a LTD insurance policy that was issued by CIGNA. Under the terms of the policy, the plaintiff who suffers from lupus, fibromyalgia, and severe depression was supposed to be entitled for LTD benefits if she was rendered unable to work due to a debilitating medical condition. Nevertheless, the plaintiff’s claim for LTD benefits was denied by CIGNA. And despite several appeals to CIGNA’s decision to deny LTD benefits the plaintiff, CIGNA remained steadfast in its decision to reject the plaintiff’s claim for LTD benefits.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that CIGNA’s denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious and that the termination of the plaintiff’s LTD benefits amounted to a breach of the contract for insurance. Having exhausted all her administrative remedies, the plaintiff is resorting to bringing a civil action against CIGNA to compel CIGNA to comply with the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), resume payment of LTD benefits to the plaintiff and to recover past due LTD benefits in addition to costs, interest and attorney fees.

The Plaintiff v Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York:

Filed by a disability attorney at the District Court for the Northern District of New York, The Plaintiff v Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York also concerns the denial of a claim for LTD benefits by CIGNA. The plaintiff was employed as a Fabricator Specialist at Schonbek & Co, Inc. through her employment at Schonbek & Co, Inc, the plaintiff participated in an employee benefits policy issued by CIGNA.

On March 31st 2009, CIGNA determined that the plaintiff was disabled from her own occupation due to spondylosis and Iumbosacral radiculopathy. Under the terms of the policy, CIGNA paid out LTD benefits to the plaintiff. However on January 22nd 2010, the plaintiff was informed by CIGNA that it would terminate the plaintiff’s LTD benefits on January 25th 2010. According to the lawsuit, CIGNA based its decision to terminate the plaintiff’s LTD benefits on the grounds that it no longer considers the plaintiff to be disabled. This conclusion was reached by CIGNA despite the fact that the plaintiff shows no medical improvement in her condition that would have allowed her to resume her previous employment.

The plaintiff alleged that CIGNA not only committed numerous errors in handling her claim for LTD benefits, it had also reached its decision to terminate the plaintiff’s LTD benefits without basing it on any medical examination. Hence, the plaintiff argued that CIGNA had violated the provisions of ERISA by acting arbitrarily and capriciously in terminating her claim for LTD benefits. The plaintiff’s lawsuit is demanding the following relief from CIGNA:

The Plaintiff v. Honda Manufacturing North America, LLC, Cigna Group Insurance:

In The Plaintiff v. Honda Manufacturing North America, LLC, Cigna Group Insurance, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit through her disability attorney at the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff also alleged that CIGNA had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in the handling of her claim for LTD benefits. The plaintiff was formerly an employee at Honda Manufacturing North America, LLC.(Honda) but stopped working with Honda on March 6th 2007.

Through her employment at Honda, the plaintiff participated in an employee welfare benefit plan in which CIGNA acted as the claims administrator. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s claim was initially denied by CIGNA. After going through the administrative appeal process, the plaintiff’s claim was again denied on March 4th 2009. The plaintiff argued that this was despite the fact that she was “unable to perform any gainful occupation for which she is reasonable fitted by training, education or experience.”

As such, the plaintiff alleged that CIGNA’s decision to deny her claim for LTD benefits was erroneous as it was not supported by evidence but instead based on an arbitrary and capricious determination. Having exhausted all her administrative remedies, the plaintiff is seeking from the Court the following relief:

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Terri E. (Maryland)

The process has been exactly how I had hoped it would be. Disability is a scary, unfriendly process, even for those of us who have worked in the claims administration area. It seems to be designed to deny benefits with complicated rules, burdensome documentation requirements, and constant requests for information to the beneficiary and my doctors. As a patient/beneficiary, you can feel like you are all alone and that you spend too much time jumping through hoops for the disability provider.

After a few months of doing it myself, I realized I wanted an advocate who could advocate for me with the provider and answer all of my questions on the Erisa process and rules. I interviewed one attorney in Maryland who was actually adversarial with me (his future client) so it was an awesome breath of fresh air when I interviewed Stephen Jessup. He was polite, extremely knowledgeable, upbeat, and calm! He helped me to understand the process and where I stood in it.

He and Vanessa communicate and keep me apprised of events within my case and make recommendations on actions I should take to proactively help my case win approval (e.g., Functional Capacity Evaluation). They are truly my safety net and well worth every penny because they help manage the disability provider and my doctors as well as ensuring I am on track in the process. I don’t think I would have survived this without them.

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