A New York State federal court ruled against both claimant James Quigley and his insurance company, Unum Life Insurance Company of America (“Unum”), in a disability benefit case, finding that there were too many factual issues in dispute to make a decision on cross-motions for summary judgment. Consequently, the court ordered a trial to resolve all material factual disputes and determine whether Quigley was entitled to disability benefits from Unum.
James Quigley, a former bond trader at TP ICAP Americas Holding, Inc., was involved in a car accident in September 2016. Despite initially being released without medical care, Quigley later sought treatment from various healthcare providers. He returned to work post-accident until November 2020, when he sought a leave of absence due to his inability to perform his occupation.
Quigley was eventually diagnosed with binocular vision dysfunction, visual-vestibular integration dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and chronic migraines. Quigley filed a claim for long-term disability (“LTD”) and waiver of life insurance premium (“WOLP”) benefits with Unum, which were denied. Quigley appealed Unum’s denial, which Unum rejected. Quigley then filed a lawsuit in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
The Court’s Decision
The court ruled that neither Quigley nor Unum was entitled to judgment because there were too many factual disputes at issue to determine if Quigley was entitled to LTD benefits from Unum. The court reasoned that reasonable finders of fact could disagree on:
- The weight of Quigley continuing to work for several years after his accident;
- Whether Quigley’s symptoms were largely self-reporting and lacking in objective evidence corroborating those symptoms;
- Whether Quigley’s treatment was aggressive enough to support disability; and
- The material duties of a bond trader and the necessary skills to perform that occupation;
For these reasons, the court held that neither party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law and ordered a trial.
As can be seen by the outcome of Quigley’s disability lawsuit, these cases can be complicated. Having an experienced disability insurance attorney on your side is crucial to your case.
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