Steel fabricator suffering from disability wins lawsuit against Lincoln National

A Federal Court recently ruled in favor of a man denied long-term disability benefits by Lincoln. The court agreed with his disability attorney in this ERISA Lawsuit and ordered reinstatement of LTD benefits along with past due benefits with interest.

The Facts of the Case Against Lincoln National Life Insurance Company

Plaintiff was employed by Genzink Steel as a steel fabricator. Plaintiff applied for disability in April 2000 as a result of neck problems and pain arising from injuries, including an auto accident suffered in 1998.

Plaintiff’s treating physician diagnosed Plaintiff with “cervical disc disease/L paracentral herniated disc C-4+5” in May 2000. Plaintiff underwent spinal surgery in July 2000, successful in relieving pain in his left arm, but not in his neck and triceps.

Plaintiff’s neurosurgeon referred Plaintiff to a Pain Clinic from July through November 2001, but this did little to relieve the pain.

Plaintiff’s LTD benefit was approved to start on July 24, 2000. Plaintiff received LTD benefits for the first two years of disability on the basis that he was disabled from his own occupation as stated by the terms of the Plan.

Terms of the Plan had Lincoln initiate its review of the Plaintiff’s qualification for continuing benefits under the “any occupation” definition; Plaintiff met these requirements each time Lincoln requested updated information and proof from his treating physician. This physician also reported all of the numerous calamities that befell the Plaintiff between July 2004 to December 19, 2007, including a compression fracture in Plaintiff’s back, an elbow fracture, and a diagnosis of diabetes.

Plaintiff was regularly checked from September 23, 2003 to February 12, 2008, with each time the Plaintiff being designated as eligible for LTD benefits due to being unable to work as a steel fabricator and not being easy to retrain for another occupation.

On May 14, 2008, Plaintiff was sent a list of 6 possible job alternative for his former occupation of steel fabricator. It was reported that a full report would be sent next to see if Plaintiff could handle the restrictions/limitations that came from sitting regularly due to his condition.

Denial of Lincoln Disability Benefits Claim

On June 4, 2008, Plaintiff received letter from Lincoln that his benefits would be terminated as of July 1, 2008 on the grounds that the Plaintiff was not limited from working in a sedentary capacity based on 2003 and 2005 Functional Capacity Evaluation and from medical records provided by his treating physician.

Plaintiff filed an appeal of the denial on October 27, 2008, including medical reports and a report by the treating physician that refuted the Defendant’s claim of the Plaintiff being able to work in a sedentary position.

Lincoln had Plaintiff submit to an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) with a neurosurgeon. This physician determined that while the Plaintiff did have advanced degeneration of the spine, he would likely be able to work a sedentary position.

As a result of that IME and the conclusion that Plaintiff was not totally disabled to continue receiving LTD benefits, Lincoln denied Plaintiff’s appeal via letter on February 11, 2009.

Results From Lawsuit Against Lincoln

After careful consideration of the parties’ briefs and the Administrative Record by the Court, the Court concludes that the Plaintiff’s motion for judgment should be granted and the Defendant’s motion should be denied based on the following reasons:

The Court did side with the Defendant’s position on the following issue:

Judgment Ruled By The Court

Plaintiff is to have LTD benefits reinstated, along with receiving all past due benefits with interest. The Plaintiff may also file an appropriate motion for attorney costs and fees.

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FAQ

Do you help Lincoln Financial claimants nationwide?

We represent Lincoln Financial 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 Lincoln Financial disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Lincoln Financial claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Lincoln Financial 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 Lincoln Financial:

  • 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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