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Disabled employee of University Of California Davis diagnosed with fibromyalgia sues Liberty Mutual for denial of disability benefits and seeks punitive damages

Recently a disability attorney filed a lawsuit against the Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty Life) at the Superior Court of the state of California. In the case of Cassie Ray v Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, the plaintiff alleged that by denying the plaintiff’s claim for disability benefits, Liberty Life, among other things, had caused the plaintiff to suffer damages. This disability policy is not governed by ERISA as the claimant is a government employee.

Liberty Mutual Claim Denial History

The plaintiff was an employee for the University of California Davis. While employed with the university, the plaintiff purchased an employer and employee paid disability insurance from Liberty Life. Under the policy, the insured is regarded as “Totally Disabled” if:

From the first 12 months of Supplemental Disability Benefits –

Due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment resulting from a bodily Injury or disease, you are completely unable to perform any and every duty pertaining to your own occupation;

You are not working at any occupation for wage or profit; and

You are under the direct and continuous care of a Physician.

“Total Disability” or “TotaIly Disabled” with respect to Supplemental Disability Coverage, long term period, means you will be considered Totally Disabled when Liberty determines that all of these conditions are met:

For the 13 months of Supplemental Disability Benefits Onward

Due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment resulting from a bodily Injury or disease, you are completely unable to perform the material and substantial duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably fitted by your education, training, or experience;

You are not working at any occupation for wage or profit; and

You are under the direct and continuous care of a Physician.

The plaintiff, on April 2009, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Consequently, she filed a claim for disability benefits with Liberty Life under the disability policy. Her claim for disability benefits was denied by Liberty Life. As a result of the denial, the plaintiff appealed the Liberty Life decision to deny her claim for long term disability benefits. The appeal was acknowledged by Liberty Life on August 31st 2009.

The plaintiff was informed by Liberty Life on February 11th 201o that her appeal was unsuccessful. Subsequently, the plaintiff requested Liberty Life to reconsider its decision again. The plaintiff alleged that during the entire claims and appeal process, the plaintiff had fully cooperated and provided Liberty Life with all necessary authorizations and medical documentations to support her claim. In spite of the cooperation rendered by the plaintiff, Liberty Life issued a final denial of the plaintiff’s claim for long term disability benefits on June 10th 2010.

The Allegations

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that Liberty Life had breached and acted in bad faith with regards to the insurance contract between the plaintiff and Liberty Life due to the following reasons:

Relief sought in the Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, as a result of Liberty Life’s actions, the plaintiff is seeking the following relief from the Court:

In response, Liberty Life through their disability attorney filed a motion for the case to be removed and heard in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Comments (5)

  • Kerri,

    We represent disability claimants at all stages, including the application process. We accept clients on a contingency basis. To learn more about our services during the application process please watch our videos at https://www.diattorney.com/disability-application/ . Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options.

    Gregory Dell Dec 21, 2012  #5

  • Hi, After visiting your site and others, I was totally shocked I to find how corrupt this insurance scam is. I have LTD through my work at Placer County in California. I have been on SDI for 9 months. I have applied for SSDI and have been denied. I hired a representative to help me and an appeal was filed. I had no idea I was going to encounter this kind of fraud with my LTD insurance.

    MyLTD requires that I b off work and disabled for one year before I can apply. I have fibromyalgia, bladder and bowel problems which has required hospitalizations, osteoarthrits, PTSD, severe concentration and memory problems.. I also have anxiety disorder and depression. In add tion to all the pain, extreme fatigue and dizziness, I have extreme drowsiness.

    What I want to know is an I hire you right when I apply? I do not have the strenghth to take up this apparently long fight to obtain the insurance that has been paid for.

    Do you take clients on a contingency basis?

    kerri Dec 20, 2012  #4

  • Thank you for your response, Mr. Dell. I will start taking the appeal steps right away, as I just received the denial letter a few days ago. I will keep your information for future reference.

    J Oct 4, 2011  #3

  • J,

    It may be possible to file a class action disability lawsuit against Liberty, but it may not be in your best interest. Please contact us if you would like us to review your disability denial and discuss your possible options. You will probably need to file an appeal before you can file a lawsuit, but we will discuss when you call. You must comply with all applicable time deadlines.

    Gregory Dell Sep 30, 2011  #2

  • Hi – I am also a UCD employee who was just denied short-term disability coverage from Liberty as well. I would like to know if there is possibly a way we can start a class-action lawsuit since I’ve heard this happens to most, if not all, non-pregnancy disability claims here…


    J Sep 29, 2011  #1

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Liberty Mutual claimants nationwide?

We represent Liberty Mutual 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 Liberty Mutual disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Liberty Mutual. 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 Liberty Mutual.

How do you help Liberty Mutual claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Liberty Mutual 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 Liberty Mutual:

  • 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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Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

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