During the week of July 13, 2009, Attorney Gregory Dell spent several days in Portland, Oregon deposing multiple employees of The Standard Disability Insurance Company. Prior to taking the depositions, The Standard refused to make their employees available for deposition and instructed their attorney to file a motion preventing Attorney Gregory Dell from taking the depositions. The court received multiple motions and entered an opinion stating that our client has the right to take the depositions and The Standard must produce their witnesses. The Standard’s motion for attorney fees against our client was denied. It is obvious that the Standard did not want their claims handling practices exposed through deposition testimony.
Attorneys Gregory Dell and Cesar Gavidia filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, after The Standard denied our client long-term disability benefits. Our client, an invasive cardiologist, has been unable to work in his occupation as result of neck, back and shoulder problems. Our client purchased his long-term disability policy as a benefit offered through his membership in the Southern Medical Association. Our client has been unable to perform the duties of an invasive cardiologist due to the requirement that her wear a heavy lead apron during most of the cardiac surgeries he performs on patients. Our client’s claim is supported by his treating neurologist.
The Standard relies on the paper review of our client’s file by two neurologist in order to deny disability benefits. Moreover, while reviewing the claim, the Standard never bothered to take into consideration what percentage of our client’s occupational duties required him to wear a lead apron. During the recent depositions of The Standard employees, none of the employees had any idea how much a lead apron weighs, how long our client would need to wear the lead apron during a procedure, or specifics about the procedures that an invasive cardiologist performs. The Standard was of the opinion that our client should have no restrictions and limitations, and that the only reason he gave up his career as an invasive cardiologist was so that he could work as a chief medical officer for a medical tool manufacturer.
It is interesting to note that our client had a long-term disability policy with Unum Provident and the definition of disability during the first two year of benefits was almost identical to the definition of disability in the The Standard long-term disability policy. Unum Provident evaluated our client’s claim and determined that he was unable to perform his duties as an invasive cardiologist. Furthermore, Unum Provident’s outside neurologist reviewed our client’s medical records and opined that our client should not wear a lead apron and therefore would be prevented from working as an invasive cardiologist. During deposition of the Standard employees, they did not have any explanation as to how Unum Provident’s doctor could find that our client had restrictions and limitations, but The Standard’s doctors found that our client was perfectly healthy.
The Standard recently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and basically alleged every possible defense they could think of, in hopes that something would stick. Attorneys Gregory Dell and Cesar Gavidia believe that the motion filed by the Standard is a desperate attempt to further their denial of long-term disability benefits. A response to the motion for Summary Judgment is currently being drafted and the jury trial is set for October 2009 in Federal Court.