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Northwestern Mutual sued by shareholder attorney for underpaying and denying long-term disability benefits

A Washington disability attorney filed a federal lawsuit in the District Court serving the Western District Court of Washington at Seattle against Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (Northwestern). The Plaintiff, Scott D., worked as a shareholder attorney at a law firm in the state of Washington. Plaintiff was covered under a long-term disability policy purchased from Northwestern, who was contracted by the law firm to provide these benefits to its employees.

In Scott D. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Plaintiff is suing Northwestern for the underpayment of and the denial of long-term disability benefits.

The Facts Of The Case Against Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Plaintiff was a shareholder attorney until approximately July 28, 2005. Plaintiff suffered a disabling injury, which caused him to be unable to work at his profession. Plaintiff is eligible to receive both short-term and long-term disability benefits until he reaches 65 years old. Plaintiff filed for short-term disability benefits, which was accepted by Northwestern.

Northwestern Underpays Plaintiff’s Short-Term Benefits, Denies Future Short-Term And Long-Term Disability Benefits

Plaintiff accused Northwestern of underpaying those benefits. Northwestern agreed to review the additional information supplied by the Plaintiff and agreed that the calculations for payments were inaccurate, but refused to reconsider the mathematical bases for its calculations. Plaintiff asked Northwestern to review the submitted information again, but again, Northwestern refused to accept this approach.

Both the Plaintiff and Northwestern agreed to reconsider the denial within a three-year time period, as that is the time period for reconsideration as defined by the plan. However, Northwestern still has not changed its position to adjust the monthly payments that are sent to the Plaintiff. Due to this impasse, Plaintiff has filed this disability lawsuit against Northwestern.

Disability Lawsuit Filed Against Northwestern By Washington Attorney

According to the terms of the lawsuit, Plaintiff alleged that Northwestern did not provide the following to the Plaintiff:

  • The proper amount of monthly disability benefits as defined by the plan;
  • Following the terms of the plan in lowering the monthly benefit payments to a level that is not supported by the terms of the plan;
  • Following the Consumer Protection Act, which has caused damage to the Plaintiff;
  • Duty to deal with the Plaintiff in good faith.

According to the terms of the lawsuit, Plaintiff alleged that Northwestern committed the following wrongful actions against the Plaintiff:

  • Construed the terms of the plan in such a way so that it would benefit Northwestern and harm the Plaintiff;
  • Construed the terms of the plan to benefit Northwestern due to its inherent conflict of interest;
  • Did not take into proper account the medical evidence that the Plaintiff submitted to Northwestern to prove his long-term disability claim.

Plaintiff Seeks Following Relief From The Court

Northwestern’s actions against the Plaintiff has caused the Plaintiff to seek the following relief from the Court:

  • All damages that have been caused by Northwestern’s breach of contract;
  • All damages caused by Northwestern’s breach of the Consumer Protection Act;
  • All damages caused by Northwestern’s bad faith dealings;
  • An award for full benefits under the ERISA plan, along with accrued interest on all past due benefits;
  • All reasonable attorneys’ fees and associated court costs;
  • An award that Plaintiff continue to receive future benefits so long as Plaintiff meets the disability definition as defined by the terms of the plan;
  • An award that triples the amount of monetary damages imposed upon Northwestern by the Court;

All other relief that the Court deems equitable and just.



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