Attorneys Dell & Schaefer successfully resolved a long-term disability claim for a former floor trader on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (“CBOE”). In July 1998, Mr. T underwent bilateral eye surgery to correct vision loss which was preventing Mr. T from accurately reading the monitors in his trading pit, a necessary skill in Mr. T’s profession. Despite undergoing corrective eye surgery and hoping to return to his occupation as a floor trader, Mr. T continued to suffer from visual difficulties as result of dry eyes, halos and glare.
In December 1998, further corrective surgery was attempted; however, it failed to correct his vision to the extent that he could return to trading on the floor of the CBOE. Mr. T realized that he had no further option but to file a claim for disability benefits under his individual long-term disability insurance policy.
In April 2000, Mr. T submitted claim forms for disability benefits. Initially, the disability insurer acknowledged receipt of Mr. T’s claim. However, not long after submitting his claim, the disability insurer ceased communicating with him. Compounding matters, in January 2001, Mr. T became disabled due to severe neck and back pain, discomfort and restriction of motion associated with cervical radiculopathy for which he underwent surgical fusion of the C4-C5 and C5-C6. Frustrated with the lack of communication by the disability insurer and their failure to promptly approve his claim for disability benefits, Mr. T stopped paying his insurance premiums. Shortly thereafter, the insurer denied all of Mr. T’s claims.
Mr. T contacted Attorneys Dell & Schaefer in May 2007, after receiving a letter from his disability insurer about an opportunity to have his 1998 claim reevaluated. Attorneys Gregory Dell and Cesar Gavidia began by gathering volumes of documentation, including Mr. T’s financial records, medical records and the disability insurer’s claim file dating back to the 1990’s. Following the submission of an Appeal, the disability insurer agreed to pay some but not the entire period for which Mr.T was claiming disability benefits. After being advised that they would not pay the entire claim, Attorneys Dell and Gavidia file suit in US District Court claiming breach of contract damages in excess of $1,000,000.
After two years of litigation, which included depositions and review of thousands of pages of documents, the parties reached a confidential settlement at mediation prior to trial. In this case our client had stopped paying premiums years before he retained counsel. In an effort to retain rights to an individual disability, we always advise our clients to never stop paying premiums even though the disability company does not want to pay the claim.