UNUM sued by Ohio disability attorney for failure to pay disability insurance benefits to ex-nurse restricted to using a cane or motorized scooter to get around

Karen Russell has filed a lawsuit against her previous employer and UNUM Life Insurance Company of America in an attempt to collect her long term disability benefits in the United States District Court of the Southern District of Ohio Western Division. In her complaint, Russell asks the Court to order Defendant UMUM to pay her long term disability payments as is proper under her ERISA-controlled plan with her previous employer. In addition to disability benefits, Russell has petitioned the Court for attorneys’ fees and any other relief it deems appropriate.

Russell’s Disabiity Benefit Claim Denied By UNUM

In May 2007, Karen Russell, a registered nurse, stopped working at her job at Catholic Healthcare Partners due to her condition, documented as “bilateral knee osteoarthritis, right ankle post-traumatic osteoarthritis anxiety, and depression.” Initially, Russell was awarded long term disability benefits by UNUM, but in October 2009, UNUM withdrew Russell’s disability benefits award alleging that Russell was no longer disabled. Upon the news of this, Russell provided UNUM additional medical results; and, after reviewing the new medical records, UNUM was not convinced to reverse its decision. In January 2010, the insurance provider reiterated its decision to deny Russell further long term disability benefits.

Russell, following UNUM’s administrative procedures, submitted an ERISA appeal of the January 2010 decision, with a supplemental written opinion from her physician, dated March 27, 2010. Russell’s doctor wrote that she had been treating Russell since December 2003 and continues to be Russell’s primary caregiver for her osteoarthritis condition. According to Russell’s physician, Russell suffers with “endstage osteoarthritis of both ankles, osteo-arthritis of her keens, low back pain, bi-lateral carpal tunnel syndrome, diffuse muscle atrophy and osteopenia.” Russell’s doctor opines that as a medical professional, she has determined that Russell is unable to lift more than 10 pounds, cannot stand for a mere 2 hours in an eight-hour workday, cannot sit for even 2 hours in an eight-hour period, has “complete postural limitations,” and “limited manipulative abilities.” Further, Russell’s doctor says that Russell has a high risk of falling as she is in a lot of pain and is unstable as a result of her osteoarthritis in her weight-bearing joints. Russell’s doctor said that Russell needs assistive devices to stand and walk and uses a motorized vehicle at times to move around as her gait is abnormal as a result of extreme lower back pain and pain in her legs. In addition, Russell’s doctor states that Russell’s pain and anti-inflammatory medication regime has impaired both Russell’s kidney and liver function.

Basis For Russell’s Disability Lawsuit

Even after receiving medical verification of Russell’s disability from her physician of 6 years, UNUM denied Russell her long term disability benefits, propelling Russell and her disability attorney to file suit. In her complaint, Russell’s disability lawyer attempts to have Russell’s long term disability benefits restored and continued. Russell and her attorney stand on the evidence that Russell is disabled under the specifications set forth in her UNUM insurance policy and that the insurance company has based the decision to deny her disability benefits on “improper and deliberate coverage… interpretation of the Plan” and that the decision is “arbitrary and capricious.”

There is one comment so far

  • I will pray for your company. Unum has a long track record in this kind of behavior. As long as companies can buy the influence of our political system it will never be fair.

    Regbates Jul 30, 2011  #1

Leave a comment or ask us a question

Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Unum claimants nationwide?

We represent Unum 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 Unum disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Unum claimants?

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

  • 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   *****

Daniel L. (Tennessee)

Working with Jay Symonds restored our lives. The day we received the letter from our long term disability insurance Co. stating they were not going to cover my spouse was paralyzing. After much research searching for a legal firm to handle our case we decided on Dell and Schaefer. Mr. Symonds called me the day I contacted the firm. He explained the process in detail, timelines and what would be expected of us. Mr. Symonds works long hours as well as his staff.

My spouse suffered a life altering stroke of which he will need caregiving the rest of his life. This fact is stressful in and of itself. To add an extra burden the insurance company wanted to drop my spouse. Mr. Symonds made sure my spouses policy was reinstated. My statement is grossly understated on all levels. There is little space to go into the depth of detail. If you are on the site reading this testament then you are all too familiar with the what happens to your life when you or your spouses health suffers.

Lastly, I/we owe our deepest gratitude to Mr. Symonds and his team for helping us through this difficult time. It is emotional writing this but I want people to know there is help.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

Speak With An Attorney Now

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