Texas Man Suffering From Small Fiber Neuropathy Has Lawsuit Against Prudential For Long-Term Disability Benefits Dismissed

Texas Man Suffering From Small Fiber Neuropathy Has Lawsuit Against Prudential For Long-Term Disability Benefits Dismissed

Background

Mr. Sobolewski worked as a senior enterprise architecture manager for Capgemini for 9 years. Through his employment, Mr. Sobolewski had long-term disability coverage with Prudential.

In May of 2015, Mr. Sobolewski had to stop working due to the effects of small fiber neuropathy. Specifically, he was experiencing symptoms of nerve pain, decreased balance, and difficulty focusing.

Unable to continue working, Mr. Sobolewski filed a claim for long-term disability with Prudential. Prudential initially approved his claim on November 15, 2015. On April 25, 2017, Prudential terminated Mr. Sobolewski’s benefits and gave him the chance to appeal the decision.

Mr. Sobolewski’s appeal for long-term disability benefits was denied on December 27, 2017. He then filed a lawsuit against Prudential on July 08, 2020, seeking his long-term disability benefits.

The Court’s Review

Prudential filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Sobolewski’s claim. It argued that Mr. Sobolewski’s lawsuit was untimely because he waited more than three years (allowed by the disability policy) after proof of disability was owed to file the lawsuit. The court ultimately agreed with Prudential and dismissed the lawsuit.

The court did not agree with several arguments set forth by Mr. Sobolewski:

  1. First, the court dismissed Mr. Sobolewki’s argument that because the three-year limitations period was not included in the plan summary provided by his employer that the three-year limitation does not apply. The court reasoned that the plan summary specifically incorporated the limitations period of the policy.
  2. Mr. Sobolewski’s second argument was that the three year deadline to file suit should have started at the end of the appeals period, and not when proof of disability was first required. The court disagreed and stated that the three year period begins on the date proof of disability is required.
  3. The court also refused Mr. Sobolewski’s argument that the deadline to file a lawsuit should have been tolled (or paused) while he was going through the appeals process with Prudential. The court disagreed and stated that Mr. Sobolewski had 17 months from the date his appeal was denied by Prudential to file the lawsuit and made no effort to do so. Nor did he identify any reasons or explanations for why he waited so long to file a lawsuit.
  4. Finally, the court disagreed with Mr. Sobelowski’s argument that Texas’s four year statute of limitations for breach of contract cases should apply. The court remarked that the stated limitations under the Prudential policy, which was three years, applied to this case.

Mr. Sobolewski’s lawsuit for benefits was thrown out and he was barred from pursuing his benefits further.

Help from an Attorney with Expertise in Disability Insurance

This is a cautionary tale. There are strict deadlines one must meet when pursuing disability insurance benefits. If a deadline is not met, you may jeopardize your chances at receiving disability benefits. Our lawyers explain what these deadlines are and how they work.

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