Microsoft employee denied disability benefits by Prudential

A Microsoft account representative and her disability lawyer filed suit against Prudential Insurance and Tanaka’s employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) on August 1, 2011 in an effort to get a Federal Court to order the insurer to pay her entitled disability benefits. The Employee became disabled in March 2006 due to the worsening of her fibromyalgia condition which included symptoms of pain, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. Initially approved for receipt of her disability benefits in May 2007 retroactive to September 13, 2006, Tanaka thought she was set for continuing disability benefits per the terms of her employee Prudential policy.

Prudential Terminates Claimant’s Disability Benefits

Unfortunately, Prudential did not come through for Tanaka, and her disability benefits were terminated on September 9, 2008, when the insurer took away Tanaka’s benefits, “claiming that her disability was based primarily on ‘self-reported symptoms’ and thus she was limited to 24 months of benefits.” Submitting medical evidence documenting her disability, Tanaka appealed the insurer’s decision and was again turned down by the insurer for the same reasons as given for the termination of her disability benefits. The denial letter also stated that Prudential attributed Tanaka’s condition to “mental illness,” a condition that precludes the receiving of disability benefits. And, in addition, Tanaka’s live insurance plan premium waiver was denied in that the insurer alleged that Tanaka was never disabled in the first place and did not qualify for the waiver.

Claimant and Her Disability Lawyer File a Complaint In California District Court

After exhausting all of her administrative appeals, Tanaka saw no other alternative but to hire a disability lawyer to bring her case to District Court. Tanaka and her lawyer allege that Prudential’s decision to terminate Tanaka’s benefits was “wrongful, unreasonable, contrary to the medical evidence, contrary to the provisions of the Plan, and contrary to law.” Tanaka and her attorney seek relief from the District Court, asking the Court for:

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There are 2 comments

  • Brenda,

    If you have another appeal available, then please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options. There are always industry secrets, but you need to hire a law firm that has extensive experience dealing with Prudential. Regardless of any secrets, you have the burden to prove that you are disabled.

    Gregory DellJan 10, 2012  #2

  • I have been struggling with Prudential concerning my LTD benefits. Fibromyalgia was just one of a long list of serious health conditions that left me unable to work per my doctor and specialists, however I have been denied twice already. I have just began looking for a lawyer to help me with the final appeal and possible lawsuit. Is there some industry secret that I should know when dealing with Prudential? They are not denying any of my illnesses including Ecoli pneumonia, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis of the spine, diabetes, chronic obstructive asthma and a partially collapsed lung.

    Brenda MuseJan 5, 2012  #1


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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, 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.

Chad B. (Illinois)

I originally spoke with 3 other long term disability lawyers about my case before contacting Dell and Schaefer. None of those law firms would take it. They said the chances of me winning was not good. After finding Dell and Schaefer online I spoke with one of the attorneys that has since left. He did take my case but later it was picked up by Rachel Alters. Rachel is amazing and a very intelligent attorney. She not only won my case but also was able to get my back pay for 6 months.

I also cannot say enough about Sonia Nogueira. Sonia was always quick to answer any of my questions. I would usually hear back from her within hours of sending her a email. I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t contacted them. My family and I cannot thank them enough. Don’t let an insurance company tell you they are not responsible for paying you. I paid them for 20 years monthly and they looked for any reason they could not to have to pay me when I needed my benefit. Thank you Rachel and Sonia for all you guys do.

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