Daryl King v.  Unum Life Insurance Co. of America
(December 2012)

Lauren A. Welch won a summary judgment in favor of Unum Life Insurance Company of America (“Unum”) on a long term disability claim governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”).  In the suit, Darryl King argued that Unum improperly denied him disability benefits when a back injury prevented him from continuing his employment as a construction supervisor.  In its Motion, Unum argued that the medical restrictions issued by King’s treating internist, Dr. Charles Brunell, were overly restrictive.  Unum noted, in particular, that despite Dr. Brunell’s repeated assertions of restrictions and limitations, “physical findings [had] not revealed any dermatomal sensory loss, reflexes have been normal, and there has been no specific muscle weakness noted.”  Unum also had learned that King, a former special operations soldier, was running an international security consulting business which employed Dr. Brunell as its staff physician.    In the end, Judge Tucker Melancon found substantial evidence in the administrative record to support Unum’s decision to discontinue paying Long Term Disability benefits to plaintiff.  Accordingly, King’s claims were dismissed in their entirety.  Read the decision.