Our client was an executive assistant for a leasing company who became disabled after developing fibromyalgia. In April 2007, she filed a claim with USAA Life, with whom she had taken out a personal long-term disability policy in 1995.
Our client’s occupation as an executive assistant required her to spend long hours in front of a computer. However, her job required her to be able to multi-task and perform a large variety of tasks beyond those of a typical assistant, including preparing reports and financial data, training and supervising other support staff, and making travel arrangements.
With our client’s conditions – fibromyalgia and depression – she was unable to spend the time necessary to perform her job as she once had, and left work in an effort to get better. While she continued to treat with a number of doctors, including a chiropractic neurologist, three rheumatologists, her ob/gyn, and primary care physician, all of whom supported her diagnoses, she was unable to find relief from the pain that prevented her from working in her job.
Our client’s definition of disability stated:
You will be considered Disabled once you are under the care of a Physician for an Injury or Sickness and such Injury or Sickness results in one of the following conditions:
- you have a 20% or greater loss of time at work, or
- you experience the inability to perform one or more of your substantial and material daily business duties. (Business duties are considered substantial and material if they accounted for 20% or more of your income for the prior 12 months).
USAA Life denied her claim on June 22, 2007, asserting that she was not disabled. Four days later, our client contacted Attorneys Dell & Schaefer to represent her against USAA Life. Dell & Schaefer filed an appeal with USAA Life in an attempt to settle our client’s claim without having to file suit. After USAA Life refused to overturn their denial of the claim, Attorneys Cesar Gavidia and Robert Kerr filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court demanding all past due benefits, attorney fees and interest. Following several months of extensive litigation, Dell & Schaefer secured a confidential settlement on behalf of our client.