AETNA Life Insurance Company sued in Florida, South Carolina and Ohio for Disability Benefit Claim Denials

May 5, 2011

The disability insurance company AETNA is certainly no stranger to lawsuits. Like many other disability insurance companies, The AETNA Life Insurance Company (AETNA Life) has been the subject of numerous consumer complaints and legal lawsuits filed against it for failure to pay disability benefits to eligible participants of the disability benefits plans that it issued. Hence, it comes as no surprise that AETNA was sued last week by three different individuals suffering from disabilities across the nation. The plaintiffs through their respective disability attorneys filed lawsuits against AETNA Life in Florida, Ohio and South Carolina.

Aetna Claim Denial Lawsuit filed by Florida Disability Lawyer:

In the first case, Dwight J. Barton v AETNA Life Insurance Company, the plaintiff Dwight J. Barton through his Florida disability attorney, filed a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act 1974 (ERISA) against AETNA Life in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Mr. Barton was an employee of Harris Corporation. While employed there, he participated in the employee benefits plan sponsored by Harris Corporation. AETNA Life was the issuing disability insurance company for the policy. In the lawsuit, Mr. Barton contended that he applied for long term disability (LTD) benefits and was denied his claim because AETNA Life claimed he didn't satisfy "the definition of Total Disability" under the plan. This is in spite of Mr. Barton alleging he meets the plan's definition of disability based on restrictions and limitations relating to a neurological condition.

Aetna Claim Denial Lawsuit filed by Ohio Disability Lawyer:

The second lawsuit filed by the plaintiff's Ohio disability attorney at the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio concerned a LTD benefit plan maintained by Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. In the case of Brenda Fleming v Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company & AETNA Inc, the plaintiff Brenda Fleming was a former employee of Honda of America Manufacturing. Inc. And through her previous employment at Honda, she was a participant in the LTD benefit plan maintained by Honda. When she became disabled a few years ago, she applied for disability benefits to AETNA and received benefits under the Honda plan.

The plaintiff was also determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as being totally disabled in 2002 but only began to receive the disability benefits payments from the SSA in 2005. Because of the delay in payments, this resulted in the plaintiff receiving a lump sum payment of backdated disability benefits from the SSA. The lump sum payment in turn triggered an overpayment of benefits claim from AETNA Life.

AETNA Life first claimed an overpayment of $10,843.88 which the plaintiff repaid to AETNA Life from her award of lump sum payment from the SSA. July 28th 2010, AETNA Life claimed that it had miscalculated the overpayment of disability benefits and demanded from the plaintiff pay an additional amount of $9,607.89. The plaintiff was also informed that she was required to remit the sum of $9,607.89 before September 29th or AETNA Life will begin withholding $928 per month from her disability benefits beginning October 1st 2010. The plaintiff appealed several times but was ignored by AETNA Life.

Aetna Claim Denial Lawsuit filed by South Carolina Disability Lawyer:

The third lawsuit filed against AETNA Life concerned an employee of the First Citizens Bank in Lexington, South Carolina. In Randy S. Morris v AETNA Life Insurance, the plaintiff Randy S. Morris, through his South Carolina disability attorney, filed an action under ERISA at the District Court for the District of South Carolina. The plaintiff being employed at the First Citizens Bank in Lexington, South Carolina was a participant of a group benefits plan that was offered by the bank. Under the plan, both short term and long term disability were covered. The plaintiff was determined to be disabled on November 15th 2006 and received both short term and LTD benefits from AETNA Life. However, on March 18th 2011 AETNA Life wrongfully terminated the plaintiff's LTD benefits. In the lawsuit filed, the plaintiff argued that AETNA Life's decision to stop the plaintiff's LTD benefits was arbitrary, capricious and in bad faith without any substantial evidence.

In all the above three lawsuits filed against AETNA Life, the relief sought through the court is the payment or reinstatement of disability benefits which AETNA Life refused to pay to these claimants. Hopefully, the plaintiffs through their disability attorneys will be successful in obtaining the judgment they seek from the court against AETNA Life.

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