• Cigna & New York Life  Strategies & Tips for a Disability Benefit Lawsuit After an Appeal DenialCigna & New York Life Strategies & Tips for a Disability Benefit Lawsuit After an Appeal Denial
  • A Disability Lawyers' View of Cigna Disability Claim HandlingA Disability Lawyers' View of Cigna Disability Claim Handling
  • Cigna Disability Appeal Tips Following Disability Benefit DenialCigna Disability Appeal Tips Following Disability Benefit Denial
  • Cigna ERISA Disability Benefit LawsuitsCigna ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Watch Out For a  Disability Benefit Denial Strategy Used By Cigna Insurance Co.Watch Out For a Disability Benefit Denial Strategy Used By Cigna Insurance Co.
  • 3 Important Steps to Take Following a CIGNA / LINA Disability Denial3 Important Steps to Take Following a CIGNA / LINA Disability Denial
  • Colorado Court Reverses Cigna Disability Denial of Geico EmployeeColorado Court Reverses Cigna Disability Denial of Geico Employee
  • Cigna Disability Benefit Denial Won on Appeal by Alex PalamaraCigna Disability Benefit Denial Won on Appeal by Alex Palamara
  • CIGNA Long-Term Disability Insurance Company (Ep. 6, part 1/2)CIGNA Long-Term Disability Insurance Company (Ep. 6, part 1/2)
  • CIGNA Long-Term Disability Insurance Company (Ep. 6, part 2/2)CIGNA Long-Term Disability Insurance Company (Ep. 6, part 2/2)
  • Cigna Disability Insurance Denial to Woman with Sjogren's DiseaseCigna Disability Insurance Denial to Woman with Sjogren's Disease
  • CIGNA Ordered To Pay Disability Insurance Benefits Beyond 24 Month Mental Nervous LimitationCIGNA Ordered To Pay Disability Insurance Benefits Beyond 24 Month Mental Nervous Limitation
  • Cigna Lump Sum Buyout & Settlement Disability Claim AssistanceCigna Lump Sum Buyout & Settlement Disability Claim Assistance
  • Cigna / LINA Long Term Disability Insurance Settlement Agreement InformationCigna / LINA Long Term Disability Insurance Settlement Agreement Information
  • Attorney Alex Palamara wins disability appeal against Cigna for Lockheed Martin employeeAttorney Alex Palamara wins disability appeal against Cigna for Lockheed Martin employee
  • We Win Long Term Disability  Appeal Against Cigna For Cardiac Cath TechnicianWe Win Long Term Disability Appeal Against Cigna For Cardiac Cath Technician

Office medical specialist suffering with fibromyalgia and CFS hires Arizona Disability Attorney to sue CIGNA for denial of disability benefits

Anita Barajas has taken her disability claim to the United States District Court of Arizona in an attempt to force University Physicians, Inc. (“UPI”), CIGNA Group Insurance, and Life Insurance Company of North America to provide her the disability benefits she is entitled to. An Office Medical Specialist 2 for UPI, Barajas became disabled on July 8, 2008 when “fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (“CFS”), Sjorgen’s syndrome, and depression with memory loss” prevented her from performing her duties as an office medical specialist or any other occupation.

Barajas’s Disability Benefits Claim

A fully-qualified employee under UPI’s CIGNA Disability Insurance policy, Barajas’ Cigna Disability Application for long-term disability benefits was denied on December 2008 in large part because she had no records of psychological testing to prove her claim except for a MMPI administered by a rehabilitation professor. Consequently, Barajas underwent a detailed neuro-psychological evaluation conducted by a certified physician in September 2009. According to the report generated from this evaluation, Barajas has “cognitive difficulties, which prevent her from performing her duties as a medical specialist.”

Armed with this current neuro-psychological report, Barajas appealed CIGNA’s earlier denial of her disability benefits claim in October 2009, and was again denied in March 2010, CIGNA’s final denial. According to CIGNA’s denial letter to Barajas the insurer relied on the opinion of a Dallas rheumatologist who reviewed Barajas’s record on December 10, 2009. Unfortunately for Barajas, the rheumatologist did not have a copy of the October 2009 appeal letter from Barajas that included the neuropsychological evaluation of September 2009. Consequently the rheumatologist’s review caused CIGNA to deny Barajas’s benefits claim again.

Barajas Demands CIGNA Re-evaluate Her Disability Claim

Upon receipt of the final denial, Barajas requested that the last reviewer be provided with the missing neuropsychological report for further review. The requested document was sent to the rheumatologist and the doctor stated that as a rheumatologist he was unable “to comment on neuropsychological testing and any potential impairments suggested by such.” He suggested “the commentary would best be provided by a mental heal practitioner familiar with the detailed interpretation of [the] testing.”

Barajas demanded that CIGNA forward the report to a mental health professional, but was ignored. According to her CIGNA’s plan Barajas was within the 60 day period allowed to request further review of her claim when she was ignored, constituting a violation of CIGNA’s own policies and initiating Barajas’s filing of a Complaint on May 27, 2011 in the United States District Court of Arizona.

Barajas Turns To A Disability Attorney To File Her Lawsuit

Barajas and her disability attorney filed Barajas’s lawsuit pursuant to the Employee Welfare Benefits Plan Act (ERISA) 29 5 U.S.C. § 1002, claiming that CIGNA did not fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities toward Barajas in the provision of disability benefits per the terms and conditions of the insurance plan. As a participant in UPI’s CGINA Insurance Plan, Barajas rightfully expected that she was entitled to long-term disability benefits under the plan when she became disabled in July 2008. In her complaint, Barajas and her Arizona disability attorney allege that CIGNA’s breach of contract with Barajas was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, not supported by substantial evidence, and clearly erroneous.”

They allege that CIGNA’s decision to deny Barajas her disability benefits was “influenced by an improper conflict of interest,” and since Barajas had exhausted all administrative remedies, she was forced to initiate a lawsuit to force CIGNA to provide her promised disability benefits.

Barajas’s Lawyer States Barajas’s Case

Citing a Ninth Circuit opinion that states there is an “inherent conflict that exists when a plan administrator both administers the plan and funds, it,” and that to eliminate this dilemma, a fiduciary must show that he/she “labored under a conflict of interest” when making the decision to deny benefits for the decision to be valid, Barajas’s Arizona disability attorney alleges that CIGNA’s administrator did not make a correct decision in the case of Barajas. Thus, Barajas is entitled not only to her long-term disability benefits but is “entitled to reinstatement of any other employee benefits, which were terminated, discontinued, or suspended as a result of the termination of her disability benefits.”

Barajas and her Arizona disability lawyer have petitioned the United Stated District Court of Arizona to grant her:

DISABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY INFORMATION
Videos, Questions, Resolved Cases, Lawsuit Summaries & Company Reviews

disability insurance companies complaints

Leave a comment or ask us a question

There are 2 comments

  • Meryl,

    Based on your comment that you have difficulties concentrating on account of your medication the carrier could be sending you for a neuropsychological exam to document the difficulties. They could also be requesting the exam to determine if it shows you are “faking” symptoms in any way, so be incredibly cautious and truthful in taking the exam. Please feel free to contact our office to further discuss what you can expect during the IME.

    Stephen JessupSep 9, 2015  #2

  • I have a disability claim as well as social security disability due to a back injury involving a 2nd fusion that never healed and chronic pain, as well as multiple spinal deformities. The private disability company has ordered an 8 hour neuropsych eval, approximately 50 miles away despite me living in a major metropolitan area. Can you shed any light on what could possibly be the purpose of a neuropsych eval, given I have never claimed any brain injury or that mental issues were part of my claim? Also wondering why they would insist I drive so far when there must be neuropsych testers who are qualified near by.
    It will be terribly hard for me to focus for 8 hours, my sleep is poor and pain affects my ability to concentrate.

    MerylSep 9, 2015  #1

FAQ

Do you help Cigna claimants nationwide?

We represent Cigna 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 Cigna disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Cigna. 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 Cigna.

How do you help Cigna claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Cigna 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 Cigna:

  • 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.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

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.

How can I contact you?

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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Dorothy L.

My experience with Dell & Schaefer was wonderful. I don’t think that my disability would have been reinstated if it hadn’t been for this firm.

Read 424 reviews

Speak With An Attorney Now

Request a free legal consultation: Call 800-682-8331 or Email Us