O’Ryan Law Firm, on behalf of a former employee of Purdue University recently filed a lawsuit against Cigna for wrongfully denying the former Purdue employee’s disability claim. The plaintiff had was a long time employee of Purdue, worked at Purdue for over 32 years, until he became unable to continue working in May 2013 due to chronic respiratory failure, cardiomyopathy, recurrent pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, bronchial asthma, and osteoarthritis. The Purdue employee’s treating physicians provided objective medical proof that the Plaintiff was unable to continue working due to these this combination of symptoms. Cigna originally approved the claim but then terminated his benefits contending that the Plaintiff could return to work.
Prior to Cigna’s termination of the Plaintiff’s long term disability, a Functional Capacity Evaluation was performed that actually showed that he was unable to return to work. The functional capacity report states, “Mr. R has been off work since 2013 after developing problems with lung infections and difficulty breathing. He shows fair static muscle strength in the lower extremities when seated, however, is unable to functionally use his legs on stairs, working off the floor, getting to the floor, sustained walking and standing. Mr. R. showed a consistent standing limit to 2 minutes at a time.” Throughout the exam, Mr. R demonstrated using a cane to walk, labored breathing and slight wheezing, along with needing to rotate positions and taking multiple breaks. The physical ability assessment concluded Mr. R is only able to stand two minutes at a time, rarely able to walk, and rarely able to lift/carry 0-10lbs.
Under video surveillance conducted by Cigna on 3 separate days, there was no activity on the 1st and 3rd days, and when the Plaintiff was observed, he used a cane when walking