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Kentucky Court Finds Reliance Standard’s Termination of Bank Branch Manager’s Long-Term Disability Benefits was Wrong

The Western District of Kentucky found Reliance Standard’s termination of a bank manager’s long-term disability claim was wrong. So, the court awarded all unpaid long-term disability benefits.

Jessica Smith’s Disability Claim

Before her disability, Ms. Smith was employed by Old National Bank as a retail center manager. She stopped working in September of 2020, due to a number of medical conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, chemotherapy induced arthralgia, and breast cancer.

Unable to work, Ms. Smith filed for and was awarded all her short-term disability benefits. Reliance then approved her claim for long-term disability benefits following a medical review completed by its in-house nurse consultant.

A few months after its approval of benefits, Reliance reversed course and terminated Ms. Smith’s benefits. So, Ms. Smith filed a lawsuit against Reliance.

The Court’s Decision

The court ruled for Ms. Smith finding Reliance’s termination of benefits was not correct. Ms. Smith argued to the court that the medical records did not support a sudden termination of benefits – and the court agreed.

Specifically, the court noted that although Reliance is not required to just accept the opinions of Ms. Smith’s doctors – who consistently supported Ms. Smith’s disability – those opinions cannot be just dismissed.

Reliance said Ms. Smith's doctors exaggerated, but the court disagreed. It reminded Reliance that it first accepted these doctors' opinions to approve benefits. The court saw no reason for Reliance to change its mind suddenly.

Basically, the court said Reliance couldn't end Ms. Smith's benefits without showing her condition had improved. It wasn't fair for Reliance to doubt the same doctors and evidence it once trusted to prove Ms. Smith's disability.

Reliance also argued to the court that Ms. Smith did not provide objective evidence of her disability and suggested she should have supported her claim with a functional capacity evaluation. The court disagreed and stated Reliance had every right to examine Ms. Smith—but it chose not to.

The court ultimately found that Reliance made the correct decision when it approved Ms. Smith’s benefits and the wrong decision when it suddenly terminated the benefits. Reliance was ordered to pay Ms. Smith the benefits it owed her.

Disability Insurance Companies Have Lawyers. Shouldn’t You?

Because this law firm was created to focus on disability insurance, we have developed an expertise in this complex area of the law.

Our expertise in long-term disability claims means our clients have the backing of a law firm that has attorneys who:

  1. are experts in disability claims;
  2. fought all major disability insurance companies and know their tactics;
  3. a track record of success;
  4. won major disability lawsuits that created good law; and
  5. recovered millions of dollars in disability benefits.

All our lawyers commit every day of their legal career to helping people get disability benefits from UNUM, MetLife, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual, Hartford, CIGNA, and others.

Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we do not have to be located in your state to help. We represent 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; and/or
  • Filing a lawsuit against your disability insurance company.

Call (800) 969-0488 or contact us online to speak with an experienced disability attorney. Pay no fees or costs unless you get paid.