A Federal Court Magistrate Judge recently ordered Qwest Disability Plan to pay Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees in an action pending in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
In Robin Cross v. Qwest Disability Plan, Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya awarded attorney’s fees in favor of Plaintiff Cross whose disability benefits had been reinstated during the course of litigation. The Court ordered Defendant to pay for all but a small portion of Plaintiff Cross’s attorney time incurred on the claim. The Court determined that $290.00 per hour was a reasonable hourly attorney fee. Other cases in Colorado have granted fees in favor of ERISA claimants up to $400.00 per hour. The attorney for Cross retained the service of Shawn McDermott to offer expert testimony as to the reasonableness of the legal services performed on behalf of Ms. Cross and the reasonableness of the hourly rates being requested.
Potentially obtaining attorney’s fees against a disability plan or insurer is an important aspect of ERISA cases and one of the few valuable provisions (to claimants) found in the statutory scheme. The potential award of attorney’s fees in favor of Plaintiffs in ERISA-governed long-term disability cases makes it somewhat easier for individuals to find attorneys willing to take on such a case. If you have a disability, health or life insurance claim which has been denied or terminated, please contact the attorneys at our office for a review. We may be able to help.