Western v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America


Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP successfully represented Unum Life in an ERISA disability benefits case.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the judgment entered in favor of Unum Life Insurance Company of America in a case involving a claim for disability benefits by a former engineer at The Aerospace Corporation. Unum issued the group insurance policy that funded the disability benefits provided under Aerospace’s ERISA-governed employee welfare benefit plan.

The claimant asserted he was totally disabled due to chronic fatigue syndrome, but Unum determined he was capable of performing his occupational duties and therefore not entitled to benefits under the terms of the plan. The district court, applying a de novo standard of review, agreed with Unum that the medical evidence did not establish that the claimant was totally disabled. The court also held that Unum was entitled to judgment on Plaintiff’s claim for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA Section 502(a)(3).

Hinshaw partner Robert Hess (Picture) represented Unum at trial in the district court (Central District of California), and on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

Involved fees earner: Robert Hess – Hinshaw & Culbertson;

Law Firms: Hinshaw & Culbertson;

Clients: Unum Life Insurance Company of America;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti