O’Ryan Law Firm, on behalf of Plaintiff, William M., recently filed a federal lawsuit against Lincoln National Life Insurance Agency (“Lincoln”). Lincoln is an Indiana corporation with its main headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. William M. was employed by Olon Industries, which made him eligible for Olon Industries’ employee benefit plan. Part of the employee benefit plan included long term disability coverage which pays 60% of an employee’s salary if an employee becomes unable to work due to sickness or injury. Lincoln National agreed to insure the long term disability benefits and provided this coverage to the Olon Industries employees.
William M. was employed by Olon Industries until he became disabled in May 2012. He became unable to work due to a severe stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, hypertension, permanent vertigo, and partial blindness in his right eye. His treating physicians provided objective medical proof that he was unable to continue working due to these medical conditions.
Lincoln paid Plaintiff’s claim for disability benefits for 24 months, then they abruptly terminated the benefits with little notice. Plaintiff internally appealed Lincoln’s decision and in November 2016, Lincoln upheld their decision to deny Plaintiff’s long term disability benefits. William M.’s doctors never returned him to work even though he was 4 years past his stroke. As proof that he remained disabled, the Social Security Administration recently reviewed Plaintiff’s claim, and after sending him for a medical exam, concluded that he remains disabled.
The O’Ryan Law Firm, on behalf of William M., prepared and filed a federal lawsuit against Lincoln alleging that they violated the terms of the policy and ERISA. The terms of the lawsuit found that Lincoln intentionally and without reasonable justification terminated Plaintiff’s disability benefits in violation of the Long Term Disability Plan and ERISA.
In support of its termination of benefits, Lincoln Financial relied upon the opinions of record reviewing physicians, contracted physicians hired by Lincoln Financial to simply review medical records and generate reports. These reviewing physicians have never met or examined William M., and simply reviewed medical records in this claim. Certainly, their opinions carry less weight than his treating physician, who has been treating and examining Plaintiff for several years.
The parties attended a court ordered settlement conference with the magistrate judge conducting the negotiations. After just two hours, the parties were able to quickly reach a resolution of the case. The case has now been settled and the case has been dismissed.
If you have a claim that has been terminated by Lincoln National, contact the O’Ryan Law Firm to discuss the terms of your policy and determine whether it is in your best interests to pursue an appeal with Lincoln or to file a lawsuit.