Washington Court Rules in Favor of Microsoft Employee Seeking Long Term Disability Benefits from Prudential Insurance Company
Before his disability, Mr. Christopher Chapin worked as a software engineer for Microsoft. In March of 2018, Mr. Chapin presented to his primary care physician complaining of anxiety and insomnia related to work pressures. His doctor recommended he cease working and seek treatment from a psychiatrist.
Mr. Chapin’s last day of work was March 20, 2018. A few days later, Mr. Chapin presented to psychiatrist Dr. Olsen with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and nervousness. Based on his evaluation of Mr. Chapin, Dr. Olsen diagnosed him with:
Other trauma or stressor related disorder
Cognitive disorder due to depression and several months of occupational harassment and sleep deprivation
Dr. Olsen also recommended that Mr. Chapin not return to work as doing so would place his mental and physical health in jeopardy. Unable to work, Mr. Chapin submitted a claim for short-term disability benefits. Prudential denied the claim stating that Mr. Chapin’s conditions did not result in functional impairments. Mr. Chapin appealed this decision twice. Prudential denied both appeals.
Prudential and Mr. Chapin eventually settled the short-term disability claim. But, Mr. Chapin also filed a claim for long-term disability benefits. After Prudential failed to make a decision on the claim, Mr. Chapin filed a lawsuit against Prudential for his LTD benefits.
The Court’s Review of Mr. Chapin’s Claim
The court had a good grasp on the facts of the case and ruled in Mr. Chapin’s favor. It found the following:
Mr. Chapin’s treating providers provided proof that his condition rendered him disaled and unable to work in his occupation.
Prudential’s reliance on its own doctor’s paper review who had never met or examined Mr. Chapin was wrong.
Prudential failed its fiduciary duty to act in Mr. Chapin’s best interest by shutting its eyes to evidence of disability.
Prudential’s rejection of Mr. Chapin’s doctors’ conclusions without reason was unjustifiable.
Prudential’s suggestion that Mr. Chapin was physically active was irrelevant to the analysis of his cognitive impairments
The court ultimately held that Prudential must pay Mr. Chapin all of his past-due benefits.
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