Ninth Circuit Affirms McKennon Law Group Client’s Six-Figure Award, Plus Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, in ERISA Long-Term Disability Insurance Case Against Sun Life

On April 22, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a substantial award to a McKennon Law Group PC client for his past-due ERISA plan benefits. This award included all his unpaid benefits plus attorneys’ fees, costs and interest. In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court correctly found that Sun Life “abused its discretion” in denying the claim and acted with bias, as evidenced by its failure to correct an error caused when another patient’s record was mixed with the insured’s, its reliance on a purely paper review, its failure to reconcile its findings with those of the insured’s physicians and its own psychiatrist’s earlier contrary determination and its demand for objective evidence despite the psychiatric nature of the disability. Previously, District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney identified flaws in Sun Life’s review and commented that they “raise[] serious questions about the quality of the process Sun Life used in making its determination.” The district court ultimately ruled for the insured, and in April 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this Judgment. The McKennon Law Group expects to be awarded substantial attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the appeal

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