Liberty Mutual is sued for denial of long term disability benefits to woman suffering with fibromyalgia

Disability Insurance Attorneys Gregory Michael Dell and Rachel Alters of Dell and Schaefer have filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston “Liberty Mutual” for failure to pay long-term disability benefits owed to a disability claimant in violation of The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The Plaintiff suffers from Fibromyalgia Syndrome which causes her unrelenting pain in her arms, legs, wrists, neck, shoulders and feet. Additionally, she suffers from severe fatigue and cognitive impairment as a result of her Fibromyalgia Syndrome. All of which prevents her from being able to perform the material and substantial duties of her occupation as a Benefits Coordinator, for Bridgestone Americas, Inc., an occupation that requires her to sit at a desk and type on a computer 6-8 hours a day.

The Plaintiff’s treating physicians all concur that she is disabled and unable to work due to severe pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment. She underwent a functional capacity examination which revealed that she was only able to sit or stand for a maximum of 2-4 hours in an 8 hour day. Her pain was so severe on the first day of testing she was unable to complete the exam. A neuropsychological examination revealed that she was impaired in her high order thinking which was likely due to her fibromyalgia syndrome.

Liberty failed to provide a “full and fair review” of the Plaintiff’s claim in violation of ERISA. Liberty ignored her treating physicians’ opinions, with whom she has treated with for over 15 years, who opined that she was clearly disabled and unable to work. Liberty disregarded the neuropsychological test results as well as the functional capacity exam results. Instead Liberty determined that the Plaintiff was not disabled, could work 40 hours a week in her regular occupation and should not limit her activity when she is in severe pain, but should be as active as possible in order to prevent her joints from stiffening. According to Liberty and the physician they paid to review our client’s medical records, working 40 hours a week would actually be beneficial to her condition. Liberty provided these opinions without ever examining the Plaintiff. They based their denial solely on a paper review of her medical records ignoring the medical opinions given by her treating physicians that she should not and could not work.

In our opinion, Liberty has really bent over backwards to wrongfully deny this claim. It is shocking that Liberty has relied on the opinion of a doctor that says 40 hours of work each week will make our client recover from her 15 years of suffering from fibromyalgia.

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There are 2 comments

  • Gina,

    If you are approved for SSDI, then the amount from SSDI will be deducted from your monthly long term disability payment. You should apply for LTD at least 60 days before your STD benefits will expire.

    Gregory DellDec 13, 2011  #2

  • Hi, I am currently on short term disability thru my Employer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC, for being denied a drug for my bipolar disorder.

    Liberty Mutual has been harassing me and my doctors every month since August after I was approved for it. I am also under the ADA for the disorder. Since August I have had numerous health issues and because the harassing has caused a lot more stress and other illnesses, I now believe I have fibromyalgia and am waiting for an appt. for that.

    I have read where Liberty Mutual might deny my long term disability when it comes into affect at the end of Feb. from all that I have read about them. And I am scared to death because I live alone with no other financial support. Am I not protected by ERISA and the ADA? They ended my job on 11/01/11. I have worked for them for 6 years. I have also applied for Social Security disability and waiting to be approved. Can they also stop paying for long term disability if I were to get SS disability? Liberty Mutual told me that I automatically qualify for SS when this goes to long term with Blue Cross. I am 50 years old.

    I appreciate any info you can give me.

    GinaDec 12, 2011  #1

FAQ

Do you help Liberty Mutual claimants nationwide?

We represent Liberty Mutual clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Liberty Mutual disability insurance policy?

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.

How do you help Liberty Mutual claimants?

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.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Liberty Mutual:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

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.

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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.

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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.

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Christine C.

I had a very positive experience working with Dell & Schaefer. While attempting to handle it on my own, my long-term-disability claim had been denied two previous times. With Attorney Alter’s help, I was able to obtain a settlement I never would have been able to get without her assistance.

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