On Monday, March 7, 2011, our office filed a class action lawsuit against The Standard Insurance Company and Colorado Public Employees Retirement Act (PERA). The basis of this class action lawsuit is discussed in several prior blogs on this website. You may want to review our prior blog from August 26, 2010 as well as our blog on January 19, 2011. Click here for a link to our website further describing PERA disability benefits.
The amended complaint in Lawless v. Standard and PERA, pending in the Denver District Court, seeks certification of a class whose members are defined as those PERA members whose claim for short term disability benefits have been denied even though Standard Insurance has determined that such individual is incapable of performing the essential functions of their “own job.” As such, these individuals meet the statutory definition of short term disability found in the PERA law. However, PERA has adopted a Rule and purchased a disability policy from The Standard which does not comply with this law. Instead, it adds a “second prong” or additional requirement that the PERA member also prove the inability to earn 75% of their pre-disability earnings in some other job based upon their education, training and experience. This second prong in the definition is not authorized by statute. We intend to immediately request the court to rule on this legal question so as to hopefully obtain benefits for our current clients and other members of the class. We also hope to obtain class certification in an expedited manner.
Please feel free to contact the Law Office of Shawn E. McDermott if you have a denied PERA disability retirement (short term disability or disability retirement) claim by either Standard Insurance Company or the new PERA disability program administrator, Unum Insurance Company, and if you believe you fit the description of the class of PERA members whose benefits have been wrongfully denied. Our phone number is (303) 964-1800.