Liberty Mutual sued in Tampa Federal Court for denying long term disability insurance benefits

An ERISA disability lawsuit was filed against the Liberty Life Assurance Company, this time in Federal Court in the Middle District of Florida. Andrea Medders was forced to file suit after her administrative appeals were denied and Liberty Life, also known as Liberty Mutual refused to pay her long term disability benefits.

In the suit, Ms. Medder’s tampa disability attorneys argues that Liberty Life did not afford her with a full and fair review of her disability claim and utilized an unreasonable claims handling process. Additionally, Ms. Medder’s tampa disability lawyers also allege that a serious conflict of interest exists for Liberty Mutual. Liberty Mutual makes the final decision to approve or deny claims under the policy. If the claim is approved, Liberty Mutual is then responsible for paying claimants, such as Ms. Medders, the benefits they are due. This creates a conflict for Liberty Mutual between its duties to Ms. Medders as an ERISA fiduciary and its duties to its shareholders as a for-profit corporation.

Lastly, Ms. Medders argues that the Court should allow her to present evidence of her disability under the de novo standard instead of the “abuse of discretion” standard. In ERISA cases, the default standard of review is “de novo” unless the governing disability policy grants discretion to the insurance carrier. It is very rare to see employer provided disability insurance policies that do not grant this discretion to the carrier, thus most ERISA cases tend to be subject to judicial reviews that only allow the court to determine if the carrier abused its discretion. If the abuse of discretion standard is used, although there may be sufficient evidence to support a finding of disability, the court will uphold the carrier’s decision to deny if there is a reasonable explanation for the denial. If the court is allowed to use the “de novo” standard, the court is can review the decision with a more critical eye. The Court then has the right to look at the evidence and evaluate whether the carrier’s decision was right, not just reasonable.

With this lawsuit, Ms. Medders is seeking a judgment for the disability benefits that she is due pursuant to the contract, plus interest, costs and attorney fees. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer are not representing Ms. Medders in this lawsuit.

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There is one comment so far

  • This is not an Insurance Co. it is a racketeering ring. I won a fully fav. to me decision in SSA paid me wrong this Company took everything. We sent them the proof over and over again. Now they will not talk to me. I have a payee through SSA they never once spoke to him. Offset % of my payments and sent w2’a to the IRS all that time stating I was paid. I paid taxes on money I never received because of them. While they did all this they sent me to a Collection agency telling them I was not paying anything the collection agency stopped collecting from me when they found out what they where doing. Wow. We now have an Attorney helping us that informed us we have to fix the mess this “Insurance Co.” left at SSA 11 years ago.

    Melinda GoldmanMar 20, 2015  #1


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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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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, 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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Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

Jeff P. (Oklahoma)

After a very long and frustrating ordeal to keep my LTD payments coming I decided to seek assistance from and attorney. After much research and asking those in the legal profession Dell & Schaefer seemed to be the top choice. I reached out and Alex Palamara was the attorney assigned to my case. All I can say is the experience was outstanding. Both Alex and his Paralegal, Danielle Lauria were excellent to work with. They were very kind, concerned, understanding of my frustrations and treated me with the utmost respect. Communication was excellent with regular updates and telling me what I could expect in each stage of the process.

Alex was also very straight forward with what to expect and no pie in the sky promises or expectations were made. In the end we won our case and I believe it was solely due to their experience and knowledge of not only the laws but the insurance companies as a whole. I would highly recommend them and am very grateful for the help they afforded to me.

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