A Pennsylvania disability attorney just filed a federal lawsuit against Liberty Life Assurance Company Of Boston International, Inc. (Liberty) and Comcast. The Plaintiff, Mary C., was employed by Comcast as a Change Management Analyst. Due to this employment, Plaintiff was entitled to short-term and long-term disability benefit payments from Comcast's Comprehensive Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.
In Mary C. Vs. Liberty Life Assurance Company Of Boston International, Inc. and Comcast, Plaintiff seeks short-term and long-term disability benefits that were wrongfully withheld from her by Liberty and Comcast.
Liberty and Comcast Case Facts
Plaintiff was employed by Comcast as a Change Management Analyst until August 31, 2009 when she was terminated from her position by Comcast. Plaintiff had been working from home since 2005 after she suffered a motor vehicle accident that caused multiple fractures of her arms and right ankle.
On or about June 29, 2009, Plaintiff requested to go on leave under Comcast's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Program to tend to her husband, who was suffering from a serious health condition. Liberty approved this on or about July 1, 2009. Plaintiff's own health condition deteriorated while she was absent from Comcast, leading to a hospital stay at Winthrop-University Hospital on August 24, 2009. The diagnosis was a narrowing of the small intestine, leading to surgery.
Liberty Terminates Plaintiff's Position, Leading To A Loss Of Potential Short-Term And Long-Term Disability Benefits
Liberty, through Comcast, terminated Plaintiff's employment in August 2009, which Plaintiff found out about on August 31, 2009 after returning home from the hospital. Plaintiff filed a claim for both STD and LTD benefits, but her STD claim was denied by Liberty via letter dated November 2, 2010 due to the fact that she was no longer employed by Comcast.
Plaintiff believes that she is entitled to these benefits due to her long history of abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems, unexplained weight loss, and other ailments that began shortly after her 2005 motor vehicle accident. Liberty initially claimed that Plaintiff's employment had been terminated before her disability, negating her ability to claim disability benefits. Plaintiff has been receiving Social Security Benefits from June 30, 2009. Due to the exhaustion of administrative appeals, Plaintiff has filed this lawsuit against Liberty and Comcast.
Pennsylvania Disability Attorney Files ERISA Lawsuit Against Liberty And Comcast
On or about February 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed an ERISA lawsuit against Liberty and Comcast. On May 31, 2011, both parties agreed to a voluntary dismissal of the case to allow the Liberty, the administrator of the Plan an opportunity to review the STD and LTD claims based on their merits.
On June 14, 2011, Plaintiff requests a full administrative review of Plaintiff's claim for STD and LTD benefits, but as of this date, there has been no response from Liberty. Due to the fact that Liberty did not respond within the specified time period for responding as determined by ERISA, Liberty's decision regarding the Plaintiff's claim has been defined as "denied."
Plaintiff claims that Liberty and Comcast committed the following wrongful actions against the Plaintiff:
- Failing to provide a timely response to the Plaintiff's claim for STD and LTD benefits, leading to a "denial" of those benefits
- Claiming that the ailments that occurred from 2005 onwards occurred after Plaintiff was terminated from her position at Comcast, thereby making her ineligible to receive STD and LTD benefits
- Failing to properly evaluate the medical evidence presented by the Plaintiff in evaluating her claim and paying STD and LTD benefits
- Failing to consider the Plaintiff's current medical condition and taking into account that Plaintiff cannot perform the material and substantial duties of her own occupation, thereby wrongly denying benefits she is entitled to according to the terms of the Plan
- Claiming that Plaintiff's STD claim was "not timely," which is false, as Plaintiff has followed each step of the appeals process in a timely fashion
Plaintiff Seeks Following Relief From Liberty And Comcast In This Lawsuit
Due to the wrongful actions of Liberty and Comcast, Plaintiff requests the following relief from this Court:
- Declare judgment that the Plaintiff is "disabled" as defined by the terms of the Plan
- Declare judgment that Plaintiff is entitled to STD benefits as defined by the terms of the Plan
- Award all overdue STD benefits to the Plaintiff
- Award all prejudgment interest on all overdue STD benefits to the Plaintiff
- Award all reasonable court costs and attorneys' fees to the Plaintiff
- Award all other relief that the Court declares to be just and proper