News Brief

Bachrach and Austin Obtain Summary Judgment in LTD ERISA Case

February 23, 2021

Heather Austin and Josh Bachrach (Partners-Philadelphia, PA) obtained summary judgment in the Western District of Arkansas in favor of their client, the benefit plan insurer, upholding its denial of plaintiff’s claim for long-term disability (LTD) claim. The claimant was a store manager who asserted that she could not work due to dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain and joint pain, and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Benefits were paid for several months before our client concluded that the treatment records no longer supported impairment. Reviewing the claim decision de novo, the court concluded that the decision was correct, and that her “complaints are not sufficiently credible to overcome the contrary evidence in the record.” The court then rejected plaintiff’s reliance on her treating doctor’s opinion that she was disabled, because it was based on her own “description of her symptoms … and the court cannot rest determination on that fact alone.”

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