Pizzeria owner suffering from Celiac disease filed lawsuit against Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America for breach of contract in refusing to pay disability benefits

Recently a lawsuit was filed against the Berkshire life Insurance company of America at the Circuit Court for the County of Wayne in Michigan by an owner and operator of several pizzerias through his disability attorney. The disability lawsuit was filed after Berkshire evaluated the disability claim and made a determination that the claimant was not disabled.

The Facts of the Case:

The plaintiff Patrick Buck purchased an insurance policy on March 15th 1990 with Berkshire Life that included total disability coverage. On April 17th 2008, the plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering from Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a type of disease that affects the small intestine which hinders with absorption of nutrients from food. Individuals who suffer from Celiac disease are not able to tolerate gluten, a vegetable protein that is found in Barley, Rye and Wheat. Symptoms of the disease include:

In addition, individuals affected by celiac disease can also suffer from other diseases in which the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues. The connection between celiac disease and these diseases may be genetic. They include

Due to his medical conditions, the plaintiff was instructed by his attending physician to avoid contact with all gluten products. The plaintiff informed Berkshire Life in writing of the situation and submitted a disability statement requesting disability income benefit payments as per the terms under the life insurance policy issued by Berkshire Life.

Despite having kept and complied with all the terms, requirements and conditions stipulated in the disability insurance policy, Berkshire Life refused to pay any disability benefits to the plaintiff. Reasonable proof supporting the plaintiff’s claim was also submitted to Berkshire Life. However, even after through many repeated requests for payment, Berkshire Life still refused to make disability income benefits payments to the plaintiff according to the policy.

Relief sought by the Plaintiff under the Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff argued that because of the failure of Berkshire Life to honor its contractual obligations, Berkshire is in breach of the contract between it and the plaintiff. As such the plaintiff is seeking from the Court:

  1. A declaration that Berkshire Life is liable to pay the plaintiff disability income benefits
  2. Judgment against Berkshire Life for compensatory and exemplary damages which the plaintiff is entitled to inclusive of interest, attorney fees and any penalties that are provided by the law
  3. A speedy hearing of this lawsuit
  4. A trial by jury

Notice of Removal:

Berkshire Life on April 19th 2011 in response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, filed a motion for the case to be removed and heard in the Federal District court for the Eastern District of Michigan instead of State Court. It is not uncommon for a disability insurance company to prefer to have a case in federal court rather than state. Our disability law firm prefers to handle disability lawsuits in federal court.

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FAQ

Do you help Berkshire claimants nationwide?

We represent Berkshire 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 Berkshire disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Berkshire claimants?

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

  • 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.

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Lori N. (Texas)

I have had such a great experience working with both Rachel and her Paralegal Vanessa. They answered any question I had very quickly. They walked me through every step of appealing my long term disability case. It was a very long process and I was glad to have them there to help me. My denial decision was reversed and they are still answering all my questions. I am so thankful for Rachel and Vanessa because I know I couldn’t have done this without them.

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