The plaintiff is Rhea Hammond, who has brought an ERISA claim against Unum Group with regard to her disability insurance. According to the substance of the lawsuit filed with the Court at the end of February, the McKinney woman was forced to actively stop working as of June 13, 2008, due to a host of medical ailments. Among them…
Pancreatitis, abdominal pain, spondylosis, knee pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, sleep apnea, cirrhosis of the liver, osteoarthritis, lumbago, osteoporosis, chronic pain, hepatitis C, deep vein thrombosis, lumbar spine strain, polyarthralgia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, trigger finger, pneumonia, lupus, hypertension, hypothyroidism, headaches, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, post traumatic stress syndrome, memory loss, lack of concentration, anemia cellulites, reactive airway disease and bronchitis.
Due to the above-noted ailments and her overall physical condition, the plaintiff claims the date of June 13, 2008, as the point at which she became disabled. Upon filing a request for short-term disability benefits with Unum disability insurance, Hammond was duly granted short-term benefits prior to the plaintiff filing for long-term disability benefits soon thereafter.
Those benefits were also initially granted by Unum insurance, according to the lawsuit, as of March 9, 2009. Six months later, Unum notified Hammond that her long-term benefits were being terminated subsequent to an appeal at the plaintiff's option.
Hammond, according to court documents, appealed the denial and submitted additional medical records to corroborate her claim that she could no longer work in either her chosen profession or any other occupation covered by the Unum long-term disability insurance plan.
On November 9, three months to the day after notifying Hammond of the suspension of her benefits, Unum affirmed its denial of benefits. In so doing, the insurer dismissed any of the professional opinions of her medical team.
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Unum Group, formerly Unum Provident and First Unum, is one of the largest providers of insurance in the world. It has been fighting a reputation, borne from various accusations, lawsuits and news reports, that it systematically attempts to deny benefits to deserving policyholders in spite of expert medical opinion. Unum clients have alleged bad faith insurance based on the payment, in good faith, of monthly premiums to keep LTD policies in good standing in the event of a catastrophic long-term disability.
Hammond's policy, according to court documents, came into effect July 31, 2007, and was in force less than a year before disability was claimed. The lawsuit was filed at the end of February.