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Denver, CO 80202
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Greenwood Village
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Greenwood Village, CO 80111
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ERISA HEARSAY AND SANCTIONS

November 29, 2012

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Experience of Counsel is Important

A local federal district court judge, Judge Brooke Jackson, recently issued a decision in an ERISA case confirming sanctions against the attorney representing the Plaintiff whose long term disability payments had been denied by The Prudential Insurance Company of America (“Prudential”). While I do not wish to blog about the specific abilities of the attorney who was representing the Plaintiff in this case, the slip opinion issuing an order on the various pending motions on that case reveals what Judge Jackson referred to as the inexperience and inadequacy of counsel in representing the Plaintiff in this ERISA-governed claim. The actions of counsel resulted in an award of several thousands of dollars in favor of the Defendant Plan, which were to be paid by the counsel for Plaintiff. The lesson to be learned is to ensure that you hire truly experienced counsel in handling your Colorado ERISA long term disability claim or denial, and pursuing ERISA litigation if it becomes necessary. The slip opinion is attached below.

Hearsay

The opinion of Judge Jackson is relevant to issues we have faced in the past in that the Judge specifically commented on the issue of inadmissible hearsay. Our office has been required to address this issue in the past. We have experienced Defendant Plans or insurance companies argue that certain documents submitted by the ERISA disability claimant (often times with our assistance during the internal appeal) are either inappropriate or constitute inadmissible hearsay. We have always opposed such argument with regard to evidence submitted by the claimant. Judge Jackson’s order in the attached case clarifies, at least in his opinion, that ERISA disability litigation is different, and what may be considered hearsay in an otherwise ordinary litigation would not be considered hearsay in ERISA litigation. That is because the typical rules of evidence do not apply to what may or may not be considered in evaluating a long term disability claim. Whenever this arises in the future, we now have the ability to cite to at least one judge’s clear opinion on this issue in the future.

If you are in need of experienced counsel to review your long term disability insurance and to obtain an honest and forthright opinion about the potential success of your denied benefit and the proper steps to be followed, please feel free to contact the Colorado ERISA disability attorneys at the Law Office of Shawn E. McDermott. We can be reached at (303) 964-1800.

Categories: Colorado, Disability, ERISA Claims, Insurance

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