My clients with long term disability insurance (LTDI) claims that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) often are surprised by the lack of legal options available to them. For example, most ERISA based LTDI claims are not decided at a trial. Their cases are decided by a judge based on legal arguments filed by the attorneys. Beyond this, there is not chance to take discovery to find out how their claim was decided.
A recent case, however, has opened the door to allow limited discovery in LTDI cases. In MetLife v. Glenn, the Supreme Court found that courts could consider whether the insurance company had a conflict of interest when it was both the payer and adjudicator of claims. In order to examine these issues, courts have allowed plaintiffs to take discovery and depositions to examine the extent of the conflict of interest. Plaintiffs may finally be able to ask questions about the bonus structure of appeals analysts or whether ERISA guidelines were followed. To be sure, this is a positive development for individuals whose LTDI benefits claims wrongfully were denied. If your LTDI claim has been denied, contact Hawks Quindel for a free consultation to review your claim.