Florida Attorney with Heart Condition Wins Disability Case Against Reliance Standard
A Florida attorney with a heart condition wins his disability case against Reliance Standard Insurance Company. Attorney Gary Levinson filed for disability insurance benefits when he was no longer able to work. He suffered from a severe heart condition, including prolapse of the mitral valve associated with mitral insufficiency. His doctors advised that he cannot work because job stress could worsen his heart condition.
Attorney Levinson presented medical evidence, including records from doctor’s visits, tests results, and attending physician statements that supported his disability. During the review of his claim, Reliance failed to produce any evidence that contradicted Attorney Levinson’s disability. However, it still denied benefits.
Attorney Levinson sued Reliance Standard and the lower court ruled in his favor. The lower court found Reliance did not have a reasonable basis to deny benefits. Interestingly, after the lawsuit commenced, Standard tried to present evidence that contradicted Attorney Levinson’s claim for disability. The Court rejected it because the case was reviewed with a closed record. No new evidence could be presented at that time.
Reliance Standard appealed the lower court's decision. It argued that the lower court was wrong because it did not remand the case back to Reliance for review. Specifically, Reliance wanted an opportunity to review the case with it’s new evidence that it believed showed Attorney Levinson was not disabled. The appellate court rejected Reliance’s argument.
The Appellate court held that Reliance had plenty of opportunity to produce evidence it wanted to rely upon during the review of the claim. Waiting until after litigation commenced was not appropriate.
This case highlights the importance of preparing your case before litigation begins. The claim process and appeal process are very important. It is your opportunity to get information into your file that helps prove your disability.
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