Federal Express (“FEDEX”) thought their disability insurance plan was governed by ERISA, but attorneys Dell & Schaefer and the US Southern District Court of Florida disagree

Attorneys Dell and Gavidia filed suit against Federal Express (“FedEx”) on behalf of their client, Richard Bilheimer, in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, alleging that their client’s former employer Federal Express had breached the terms and conditions of the Federal Express Short-term Disability Plan by denying Mr. Bilheimer’s claim for disability benefits. Moreover, FedEx prevented Mr. Bilheimer from applying for long-term disability benefits as a result of denying his claim for short term disability benefits.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed in state court, FedEx removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, arguing that the short-term disability plan was an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), a federal law which governs most employer provided disability, health and life insurance plans.

Attorneys Gavidia and Dell moved to remand the case back to state court and claimed that the short-term disability plan fell within the “payroll practice” exception of 29 C.F.R. § 2510.3-1(b)(2) and was not governed by ERISA. Attorneys Gavidia and Dell also moved to recover attorney fees and costs against FedEx.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled in favor of Mr. Bilheimer, concluding in part, “[t]hat the payroll practice exception to ERISA applies and that remand is appropriate”¦.” The opinion issued in this case is a precedent setting case that will set new standards for the way group disability plans are structured by employers. A claimant is always at a disadvantage if their claim is governed by ERISA, therefore Attorneys Dell & Schaefer are always challenging the applicability of ERISA in all disability insurance claims. Fedex offers short and long-term disability insurance as an employee benefit for thousands of employees. This case is currently pending in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

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FAQ

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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Meg N., MD

Working with Dell & Schaefer has been a consistently positive experience. My life changed precipitously as well as my career and ability to support my family. Over time, discussing simple issues with my disability insurer became more and more difficult. I reached a point of frustration one late afternoon from the west coast and decided to call and leave a message for the next day. Greg Dell actually picked up the phone ( it was 730 P his time) and was enormously helpful and thoughtful. That same thorough care has occurred in my ongoing relationship with Cesar Gavidia over the last 6+ years. He is organized, knowledgeable and accomplishes what needs to get done.

Most importantly, but still surprisingly, he has been incredibly thoughtful, kind and empathetic – all nice perks for those going through the torment of disability. I have come a long way in my ability to cope but knowing that I did not have to keep dealing and being demeaned with my disability insurer has meant the world. I know this seems overly enthusiastic, but it is all true.

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