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Liberty Mutual Disability Denial Of Wachovia Employee Upheld By Appellate Court

This case is another reminder of the importance to comply with ERISA disability Appeal time deadlines. Plaintiff was a commissioned securities broker for Wachovia Corporation, and a participant in Wachovia’s Long Term Disability Plan (“the Plan”). Liberty Mutual was the administrator of the plan. He was awarded Long term disability benefits in 2005, though he disputed the amount he was being paid monthly.

In 2007, he received a Liberty Mutual disability denial as they found he was no longer disabled. Liberty gave the claimant 60 days to appeal. He filed a letter of appeal, but several months after the 60 day deadline. Wachovia found it untimely and rejected his appeal. He hired a New Jersey disability attorney and filed a lawsuit.

A New Jersey District Court found he did not exhaust the administrative remedies. The Circuit Court further said they found no basis to rule that the Plan’s calculation of the benefits was in error or an abuse of the administrator’s discretion. The appellate court agreed with the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the lawsuit. This claimant’s failure to file a timely appeal barred him from challenging Liberty’s denial and seeking any further benefits.

Comments (2)

  • Tony,

    The appeal deadlines for claimants are strictly enforced by the courts. I agree that insurance companies can get away with more than the claimants do. Courts do come down hard on disability insurance companies for ERISA violations, so you should not think that they get away with everything. We fight these battles every day.

    Gregory Dell Feb 26, 2012  #2

  • Why can a claimant be severely punished for missing an ERISA deadline, but the insurance company seems to be able to act with impunity regarding virtually any violation of ERISA?

    Tony Feb 26, 2012  #1

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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.

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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.

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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.

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