Ettel v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America and Costco Wholesale Corporation

Frederick P Langer

Case Conclusion Date:December 10, 2008

Practice Area:Employee Benefits

Outcome:Unum's Summary Judgment denied-Benefits Reinstated

Description:Teresa was employed by Costco until approximately November 2005. During the time she was employment by Costco, she became eligible to receive disability benefits, and premiums were paid to Defendants in consideration for disability coverage. Defendant Costco contracted with Defendant UNUM as to the determination, claim administration, and payment of these disability benefits. Teresa became afflicted with a disabling illness while she was employed by Costco. She has been diagnosed with chronic back pain, and is unable to work because of her medical condition. She is eligible to receive long-term disability benefits as an employee of Costco, until she reaches the age of 65 years however. She was paid approximately three (3) months of short-term disability benefits through March 2006. Thereafter, UNUM denied long-term disability benefits based upon their arbitrary and capricious claim review process. Teresa presented UNUM with objective medical proof of her disability, supported by her treating and examining physicians; however UNUM without ever examining the Teresa refused to consider the same. Teresa sustained severe economic and emotional damages as a result of UNUM’s' actions.

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