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Supreme Court Makes Decision on Plan Filing Limitations

Buffalo, NY – The Supreme Court recently made a decision on filing time limits in a long-term disability (LTD) case. The Court upheld the statute of limitations regarding when a claimant could file suit or waive an LTD claim.

The case, Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life Insurance, involved Julie Heimeshoff, a Wal-Mart employee. Ms. Heimeshoff had been suffering from lupus and irritable bowel syndrome. After the symptoms became too severe for her to work, she filed a LTD claim with Hartford Life Insurance.  Hartford denied Heimeshoff’s claim twice. Once because her doctor failed to provide the necessary medical records, and the second time because Hartford decided she could still perform her old job duties.

Heimeshoff appealed and was denied a third time.

“Unfortunately, cases where people have severe medical conditions get denied by insurers all the time,” Jeffrey Freedman, Managing Attorney, said. “LTD benefits are supposed to help people who cannot work due to injury or illness. Our firm has fought against the insurance companies on behalf of clients for 30 years.”

Heimeshoff filed suit in District Court, claiming that Hartford had violated the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by denying her claim. The District Court dismissed her suit because her plan only allowed three years from the time of loss to take legal action. Her suit had been filed past the time limit. The Supreme Court upheld the District Court’s ruling on the time limit in their recent decision.

“There can be critical time deadlines when dealing with LTD claims. It may be advisable to contact a knowledgeable LTD attorney so that important deadlines are not missed,” Freedman said.