Federal Court rules that degenerative arthritis of claimant’s knee was a “sickness” and not caused by an “injury”

Lawrence Levy, M.D., insured under two disability policies with Minnesota Life Insurance Co., became disabled in March 1996 and has been receiving total disability benefits due to osteoarthritis in his right knee. Dr. Levy claims his disability is an “injury” rather than a “sickness” because the osteoarthritis is due to a basketball injury. The policy provides disability benefits to the age of 65 if the disability is caused by “sickness”, disability benefits will be paid for life is the disability is caused by an “injury”.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schnekier said the best interpretation of the policy is the term “immediate cause”. Under the immediate cause standard, Dr. Levy’s disability is due to sickness. The Judge stated the knee pain is due to degenerative arthritis and should characterize as a “sickness” under the long-term disability policy. Dr. Levy’s benefits will terminate at age 65.

See Lawrence B. Levy, M.D. v. Minnesota Life Insurance Co., No. 03-C-5141, N.D. Ill.; 2006 U.S. Dist..

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Cynthia B.

I learned in March 2014, that my LTD insurance provider was auditing my case. Two weeks later I received a denial letter. I didn’t even have time to provide the info requests to my doctors much less have them completed and sent back to the LTD company. I promptly called the rep who fumbled about for a few minutes then stated that the letter was mistakenly sent to me. The rep (I’ll refer to him as L) was often rude and aggressive even bordering on threatening on the phone.

They did not contact me from early June, I think, until September when L called me to inform me that my payments had already been stopped and a denial letter was in route. This letter informed me I had not complied in getting information from my Doctors and, he claimed in part that since they were not responsive to the insurance company, I was now in receipt of this denial letter. After all he claimed, I really was just fine (not quoted but implied in my opinion). I had not heard a word from L in 3 months prior to that call. I had been promised I no longer had to talk to L after I complained to the insurance company. How surprised I was to pick up a call from L. He seemed quite pleased to let me know they had already stopped my payments. Long story short, like you perhaps, I was scared and had no idea where to turn. Did I need to find a local attorney? That’s what I started doing. I quickly learned there were a lot of people who had or were currently going through the same thing. Misery really does seem to love company.

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