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Tag Archives: Attorneys’ Fees

In Harlow v. MetLife, Judge Bernal Brings Clarity to Disputes Involving “Reasonable” Attorneys’ Fees Adopting Standards Favorable to ERISA Claimants

Posted in: Attorneys Fees, Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance News, ERISA, Insurance Litigation Blog, Legal Articles June 19, 2019

The topic of attorneys’ fees has long been of interest to insurance lawyers and clients alike.  Recently, the courts have grappled with issues such as: When are attorneys’ fees recoverable? What types of billing practices are reasonable?  What are reasonable hourly rates?  Attorneys want the assurance that the fees they charge will be deemed “reasonable,” and defendants (the insurance companies) want to know when they can raise defenses to the amount of an attorneys’ fees they may be expected to pay.  In this article, we will consider a recent case that has helped bring some clarity to the issue of “reasonable” fees for legal work.  Robert J. McKennon of McKennon Law Group PC acted as an expert in this case …

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Court Says the Development of a Disabling Condition after Surgery for an Unrelated Condition Does Not Preclude Recovery of ERISA Disability Benefits under Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion

Posted in: Disability Insurance News, ERISA, Insurance Litigation Blog, Pre-existing Conditions January 16, 2019

Insurance companies often seek to exclude insureds from coverage through their long-term disability (“LTD”) plans by asserting the pre-existing condition exclusion.  If an applicant for LTD benefits has a non-disabling condition or becomes disabled as a result of a condition that developed after corrective surgery for an unrelated condition, is the applicant excluded from receiving benefits?  In a plaintiff-friendly decision, Hines v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 2018 WL 6599404 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 17, 2018), the court held that the plaintiff-disability claimant could not be excluded from coverage due to a vision disability on either the basis that she had received a diagnosis for a non-disabling condition before she became disabled or that she had developed a new …

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In an Insurance Bad Faith Case, Attorneys’ Fees are “Compensatory Damages” That can Increase a Punitive Damages Award

Posted in: Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog June 24, 2016

In 2003, the United States Supreme Court decision State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408 (2003) that generally limited punitive damages suffered by a plaintiff.  Since then, California courts have stated generally that a 10-1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages may be the legal limit based on the due-process clause, although some California courts have allowed a higher ratio.  Given that limitation, plaintiff’s attorneys and defense counsel have waged many battles regarding what constitutes compensatory damages and can be counted when calculating the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded.  In Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company, 203 Cal. Rptr. 3d 23 (2016), the California Supreme Court awarded a victory …

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