Elliott Bushnell v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America

Elliott Bushnell v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America
(August 2003)

On a motion for reconsideration, Lauren Welch obtained a summary judgment in Unum’s favor upholding Unum’s determination that the insured was able to perform the duties of his occupation as a casino gaming supervisor. In deciding that plaintiff was not entitled to benefits, Unum relied on a vocational specialist’s assessment of plaintiff’s job duties based on the occupational definition contained in the Labor Department’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The Court originally denied Unum’s motion, and had accepted plaintiff’s contention that a factual issue existed as to whether Unum had utilized the occupational definition which most closely resembled plaintiff’s job duties. However, on reconsideration the Court agreed with Unum’s contention that the Court could not properly consider any alternate job descriptions because the plaintiff did not challenge Unum’s assessment of plaintiff’s occupation during the administrative review and the Court could not look beyond the administrative record to determine whether Unum had abused its discretion in determining that plaintiff was not entitled to benefits.