The Dow Chemical Company is a multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan. Dow manufactures plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. With a presence in about 160 countries, it employs about 54,000 people worldwide. Dow Chemical also has a large complex on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
Liberty Mutual provides disability insurance to employees of Dow. Liberty Mutual Insurance is an American diversified global insurer, and the second-largest property and casualty insurer in the world. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, it employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 locations throughout the world.
In the disability policy provided to Dow employees, Liberty Mutual defines disability as follows:
“If the Covered Person is eligible for the 24 Month Own Occupation benefit, “Disability” or “Disabled” means during the Elimination Period and the next 24 months of Disability the Covered Person, as a result of Injury or Sickness, is unable to perform all of the Material and Substantial duties of his Own Occupation; thereafter, the Covered Person is unable to perform, with reasonable continuity, the Material and Substantial Duties of Any Occupation.”
The O’Ryan Law Firm represented a Dow chemist in a disability claim that was denied by Liberty Mutual. The chemist suffered from a disease that is difficult to diagnose, Huntington’s disease, because of the slow manner in which the disease progresses. Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease which causes the slow breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. The disease can cause cognitive, physical and psychiatric symptoms. The movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease include: involuntary jerking, muscle problems, such as muscle rigidity, impaired gait, and slowed speech. The cognitive issues may include: difficulty in organizing abilities, lack of flexibility and impulse control, and difficulty in learning new information. The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s is depression. Oftentimes, this is the most common and prevalent symptom to first appear in the early onset of Huntington’s disease.
The Dow employee represented by the O’Ryan Law Firm had been diagnosed with depression; however, the other symptoms of Huntington’s were not appearing as frequently or as severely as the depression. The Dow employee applied for disability benefits before being officially diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. As a result, Liberty Mutual denied the disability claim contending that the Dow chemist only suffered from depression and therefore should be able to return to work.
After filing a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual in federal court, the parties scheduled a mediation with a private mediator. Fortunately, the case was resolved at the mediation without the necessity of further litigation. The case was then dismissed against Liberty Mutual.
If your disability benefits have been denied by Liberty Mutual, please contact the O’Ryan Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your claim in more detail. The O’Ryan Law Firm has been successful in resolving disability cases with Liberty Mutual.