On October 15, 2013, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a long term disability insurance case against Hartford Insurance Company (Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co.). The issue before the court involves a long term disability insurance lawsuit which was dismissed as a result of the claimant filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations had run. The claimant was a former Walmart employee. The statute of limitations is a set period of time within which a lawsuit must be filed. If the lawsuit is not filed before the deadline, then the lawsuit is forever barred. In the disability case against Hartford the disability policy required a lawsuit to be filed three years from when proof of loss was due.
The problem is that the claimant did not receive a final decision on all of her ERISA appeals within three years from the date of which proof of loss was due. The current law provides that an ERISA lawsuit cannot be filed until all appeals have been completed unless the filing of a lawsuit would be futile. Hartford argues “that ERISA plans are ordinarily enforced according to their terms, and the parties can agree, if they wish, to start the statute of limitations before the administrative process runs its course“.
This argument is unreasonable as it basically means that a disability insurance company can draft a disability policy that directly contradicts Federal Law. The US Supreme Court will issue an opinion on this case in the next few months and its impact can have a potentially dramatic impact on when ERISA disability insurance claim denials must be denied. For a great summary of the US Supreme Court argument to take place today in the case of Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., we recommend you review a great blog entry on the Supreme Court of the United States Blog.
Our disability lawyers have helped hundreds of individuals with their claims against Hartford. We are not handling this specific case. Contact any of our lawyers for a free review of your disability insurance claim.