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Employees of Wells Fargo, Heinz, and Otis Elevator sue Liberty Life for denial of ERISA benefits

Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston (Liberty) was sued by three Plaintiffs in District Courts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California for failure to provide disability benefits as promised by ERISA. In all three cases that were filed via the Plaintiffs’ respective attorneys, Liberty is accused of wrongfully denying the claims of all three Plaintiffs for long-term disability benefits as promised under their respective plans.

The First Case – Pennsylvania

In Paul P. Vs. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston and Wells Fargo and Company (Wells Fargo), Plaintiff was employed by Wells Fargo, and as a result, was covered by the Wells Fargo and Company Long-Term Disability Insurance Plan. This plan was funded and administered by Liberty.

On March 5, 2010, Plaintiff had to terminate his employment due to becoming totally disabled from chronic diverticulitis, coronary artery disease, resection of the colon, and other ailments. Plaintiff received $2,708.00 per month from March 5, 2010 to the present date based on what Liberty perceived as a pre-existing condition. Since Plaintiff’s condition was not due to a pre-existing condition, Plaintiff should have received $7,661.00 per month.

Plaintiff has complied with all terms of the Plan, including providing Liberty with all necessary documentation to prove that his current condition was not a pre-existing condition, but the monthly rate continues to be $2,708.00 per month. Due to the lack of full benefits that the Plaintiff is entitled, Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit against Liberty.

The Second Case – Ohio

In Raymond A. Vs. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston and Group Benefits Program For Non-Bargaining Employees For H.J. Heinz Company (Heinz), Plaintiff was employed by Heinz, thereby entitling him to benefits under the Program. The Program was administered by Liberty.

In October 2008, Plaintiff ceased employment due to chronic low back pain secondary to surgical intervention. Plaintiff has not been involved in substantial gainful activity since this time. Plaintiff made a claim for benefits under the Program, which entitled him to 180 days of short-term disability benefits as defined by the Program. Long-term disability benefits were scheduled to begin in March 2009 and were governed by Plaintiff’s ability to perform the material and substantial duties of his “own occupation.”

On January 11, 2011, Liberty sent a letter to the Plaintiff denying him of any future long-term disability benefits because of the “any occupation” clause in the Program. Plaintiff hired a lawyer in February 2011 and submitted an appeal letter in July 2011. This appeal letter included a sworn statement by Plaintiff’s physician, Dr. Kendall H., M.D., a Functional Capacity Evaluation, updated medical records, a video statement from the Plaintiff himself, a written statement from Plaintiff’s wife, and a vocational opinion report.

Despite all of the above, Liberty denied the Plaintiff long-term disability benefits on October 17, 2011. This denial was based on the opinion and of a “peer review” physician, who claimed there was no documentation to support Plaintiff’s claim for long-term disability benefits. Due to the Plaintiff exhausting his administrative remedies, he has filed this lawsuit against Liberty.

The Third Case – California

In Tina B. Vs. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, Plaintiff was employed by Otis Elevator as a Service Account Manager. Due to this employment, she was eligible for the benefits of Otis Elevator’s group long-term disability benefits plan, which were administered by Liberty. Plaintiff was initially approved for long-term disability benefits for the first 24 months after becoming disabled in July 2008 from a ganglion cyst, internal derangement of both knees, severe low back pain, and other ailments.

Liberty then denied her claim for future benefits due to a lack of medical information to support her claim of physical disability. Despite continuing reports that the Plaintiff is still disabled to where she cannot perform the material and substantial duties of her occupation, Plaintiff has not received long-term disability benefits beyond the first 24 months from Liberty. As a result, Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit against Liberty.

Relief Requested In The Lawsuits

The Plaintiffs from the three aforementioned cases request the following relief from Liberty in their lawsuits:

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Liberty Mutual claimants nationwide?

We represent Liberty Mutual 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 Liberty Mutual disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Liberty Mutual claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Liberty Mutual 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 Liberty Mutual:

  • 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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As an attorney who found herself in the shoes of a litigant against an insurer on a disability policy, I found Cesar Gavidia and his assistant Michal, wonderful. I was distraught with grief over losing a child. Proceeds from my disability policy were keeping my practice afloat until the insurer turned on me and not only terminated my benefits but was demanding tens of thousands of money back. It was a terrible time for me and my family (losing our child is still devastatingly difficult). Once Cesar took my case, I was able to let him take care of the battle with the insurer so that I could focus on other issues: my grieving, my family, and trying to stay in practice. My family and I are grateful for his representation.

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