A Louisiana court ordered Unum to disclose attorney-client communication in a disability case. The Court applied an exception to the attorney client privilege called the “fiduciary exception.”
Our firm has successfully handled similar issues in long-term disability cases. We know how and when to apply this exception to get the best outcome for our clients.
In Wittman v. Unum, the claimant, Ms. Wittman, who also happened to be a lawyer, suffered from fibromyalgia. UNUM denied her disability benefits claim and she sued. She submitted discovery requests to Unum that included any communications between Unum and its lawyers regarding the administration of her disability claim.
Unum objected on the grounds that those communications are privileged. Ms. Wittman filed a motion in federal court to compel Unum to turn over the communications. She argued the communications fall under the “fiduciary exception.”
The attorneys working for the insurance company, also known as a fiduciary, owe a duty to the plan beneficiaries. They do not owe a duty to the plan administrator, which is the insurance company. In a case like this, the fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege applies because the attorneys are there for the benefit of the claimant, not the insurance company.
Thus, if there are any communications between the insurance company and it’s lawyers regarding the administration of a claim, the insurance company may be ordered to turn over the communication. The attorney-client privilege does not apply.
Dabdoub Law Firm’s Success with the Fiduciary Exception
We handled a disability insurance case with a similar issue with great success.
We filed a motion with the court and argued the fiduciary exception to the attorney client privilege and work product doctrine. The insurance company was ordered to turn over their attorney communication regarding our clients claim administration.
The disability attorneys in our firm are well versed on the complexity of ERISA law. We have done extensive legal research into issues such as the fiduciary exception. Our goal is to provide our clients with superior representation to get the best outcome.
Disability Insurance Companies Have Experienced Disability Insurance Lawyers. Shouldn’t You?
As a law firm created to focus on disability insurance, we have fought all major disability insurance companies and have won several major disability lawsuits.
All our lawyers commit every day of their legal career with helping people get disability benefits from UNUM, MetLife, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual, CIGNA, and other insurance companies.
Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we do not have to be located in your state to help. We help clients nationwide.
Call to get experienced disability lawyers on your side with:
- Submitting a disability insurance claim;
- Appealing a long-term disability denial;
- Negotiating a lump-sum settlement; or
- Filing a lawsuit against your disability insurance company.
Call for a free consultation with a disability attorney.