Wisconsin man sues Liberty Life for termination of disability insurance benefits

Jeffrey Barr has not been able to work with any continuity and has been completely disabled since 2007. Hypertension and cerebral micro vascular disease of the brain have prevented Mr. Barr from working as an active employee of Danaher Corporation in Wisconsin. As result of his being completely and totally disabled, Mr. Barr was eligible to receive long-term disability insurance benefits from his long-term disability insurance company – Liberty Life and Mutual (Liberty). Mr. Barr was able to claim long-term disability benefit payments because he fit the definition of being disabled since he could not perform the material duties of his own occupation and, eventually, any occupation, according to his long-term disability plan.

Mr. Barr received a monthly benefit of $1,040 per month until Liberty denied and terminated Mr. Barr’s long-term disability benefit payments effective August 10, 2010. Mr. Barr appealed Liberty’s decision to terminate benefits and was denied his ERISA appeal.

Having exhausted his administrative remedies in order to resume receiving long-term disability insurance benefit payments, Mr. Barr was left with no choice but to file an ERISA lawsuit against Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston and, his former employer, Danaher Corporation in United States District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin with the help of his disability lawyer.

While the specific cause of Mr. Barr’s hypertension is not stated within the complaint, hypertension or high blood pressure is a common disabling condition that often comes as result of stress, anxiety, diabetes, being overweight, or even as a result of genetics. High blood pressure can lead to hardening of the arteries which can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. Even though high blood pressure can be regulated by medication, there can come a time in a person’s life when it becomes more difficult to regulate high blood pressure especially when it is exacerbated by high levels of stress and anxiety.

Cerebral micro vascular disease is a coexisting disabling condition that often occurs in people who have problems with high blood pressure or diabetes. With this disease, blood vessels in the brain tend to thicken, yet weaken at the same time, thus leading medical experts to conclude that patients with cerebral micro vascular disease are often at a higher risk for stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Again, even though Mr. Barr’s complaint against Liberty does not specify the exact nature of his cerebral micro vascular disease, as diagnosed by his treating physician, it appears that the severity of Mr. Barr’s cerebral micro vascular disease coupled with his high blood pressure prevents him from working with any continuity.

For Mr. Barr to have received approximately 24 months of disability insurance benefit payments, he would’ve had to submit supporting documentation from his treating physician that shows him to be completely and totally disabled. But since Liberty terminated his long-term disability benefits, Mr. Barr alleges that Liberty acted unreasonably and contrary to the facts that were presented to them regarding his claim.

Mr. Barr is asking the court to find in his favor and award him the disability insurance benefit payments that are due him retroactive to the date his benefits were denied and terminated by Liberty. Additionally, Mr. Barr is asking the court to have Liberty pay court costs and money to cover the fees for the Wisconsin disability lawyer representing him.

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