A Great Employer Doesn’t Mean Anything in ERISA [Video]
Mrs. Landry worked for 40 years for a terrific company. After suffering from a life-changing hemorrhagic stroke, her employer provided her with sick leave and a long-term disability benefit. Unfortunately, the disability insurer refused to pay her claim. Anyone can become disabled. Disability insurance should prevent a disability from causing financial ruin. Unfortunately for Mrs. Landry, that isn’t what the insurer intended.
Mrs. Landry worked for 40 years for a terrific company. They tried to provide for their employees. She took pride in her work and progressed to the position of internal auditor. One day, she suffered a life-changing hemorrhagic stroke which involved extensive intracranial bleeding. An extended hospital stay and lengthy physical therapy followed. She had to relearn many simple tasks that we take for granted. She lost much of her cognitive function. She also suffered memory loss, significant weakness fatigue, and headaches. She could not return to her work. She had been a significant wage earner for her family who was now forced to try to make ends meet on her husband’s income alone.
Fortunately, her employer had provided her with sick leave and a long-term disability benefit. Unfortunately, the disability insurer refused to pay her claim. Unbelievably, it argued that there was no objective evidence that she suffered functional deficits. The insurer attempted to hang its hat on one isolated physical therapy note that said Mrs. Landry showed some improvement in her short-term memory and attention.
We filed an appeal of their denial. They did not relent. So, we filed suit. Initially, the insurer dug in. But, eight months into the litigation process and our aggressive discovery, it relented. We were able to settle Mrs. Landry’s claim.
Mrs. Landry had a very supportive employer who wanted only the best for her. Unfortunately, their insurer didn’t feel the same way. It is rewarding to help someone like Mrs. Landry.