We do not handle social security disability claims
Recent Post

Court Finds Liberty Life Abused Its Discretion

Jason Newfield
June 27, 2012 | Disability Insurance Claims
Over $200 Million Recovered for Our Clients

A New York Federal Court has determined that Liberty Life abused its discretion in denying benefits to a long term disability insurance claimant who suffered from both cardiac problems and secondary depression. The Court reviewed a report and recommendation from the Magistrate Judge and upheld the recommended decision to award benefits to a claimant, whose benefits were denied.

The Court took issue with Liberty Life’s failure to have the claimant evaluated regarding his mental health claim, despite the recommendation for such an evaluation by a doctor hired by Liberty Life to examine the claimant. This was one factor leading the Court’s decision. The Court determined that “exclusive reliance upon second-hand opinion suggests that a claim administrator’s decision is less than fair” even if not per se wrong for an administrator to rely upon such reports. The Court thus determined “this practice seriously undermines a reviewing court’s confidence in such opinions where they appear to be unsupported and arbitrary rejections of the opinions of treating physicians as well as objective indications of disability.”

The Court thus ordered the claimant’s own occupation long term disability insurance benefits to be paid, with interest, and remanded the consideration of his any occupation claim to Liberty Life.

The practice of second hand opinions from non-examining physicians is a pervasive problem in ERISA long term disability insurance claims. If your claim has been denied or terminated on the basis of one of these second hand opinions from hired doctors who have never evaluated a claimant, we can help.

Donachie v. Liberty Life

Written By Jason Newfield


Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.

Client Testimonials

5.0 Average on Martindale & AVVO
  • We know how important our work is to the people we represent, and we’re pleased to share this recent note from a client. Dear Justin and Christina, I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere g…
  • Our 60-year-old client worked for the world’s largest out-of-home advertising company as a Senior Buyer and outdoor furniture supplier, doing everything necessary to manage a contract for twenty ye…
  • Successful ERISA Appeal of Cigna Denial for High-Ranking Aviation Executive from Florida A 61-year old woman with a prestigious role at a leading aviation company never imagined she would stop work…
  • ERISA Case Headed to Trial in Federal Court – Barber v. Sun Life & Health A Federal Judge in Connecticut has scheduled a trial with live witnesses in an ERISA case, to be decided under the arbi…
  • F&N Resolves a Four Year Delay in UNUM Lump Sum Settlement Matter We were contacted by a 56 year-old man from Maryland who had been trying to negotiate a lump sum settlement of his private disa…
  • Our client, a successful New York dentist, was on claim for a number of years with Trustmark Insurance, due to severe orthopedic issues, which did not permit him to safely and effectively practice …
  • “OK, now that I have had a chance to calmly review the documents, I just wanted to thank you for all of your help. I am certain that if I would have tried to do this myself, I would not have had th…
  • Frankel & Newfield Navigates Complex Issues, From Claim Preparation to Lifetime Management, for Chiropractor A New York chiropractor in his mid-50s was concerned about complex issues associated…

Filing a Disability Insurance Claim

Secrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know!