Hartford Life, as claims administrator of a long term disability (“LTD”) plan, relies on claim procedures, which the Second Circuit found violated ERISA’s regulations. Hartford argued that its procedures, which it called “protocols,” entitled Hartford to take more than 45 days to decide if a claimant is entitled to receive benefits. Hartford admitted that it routinely applies the protocols. One protocol is Hartford’s appeals department remanding administrative appeals to Hartford’s claims department. Another protocol is arguing that COVID entitles Hartford to an extension of time.
Since Hartford admitted that it regularly employs the protocols as a general matter, we asserted a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty, and as relief, asked that Hartford be removed as the Plan’s claim administrator. Hartford asked the Court to dismiss the breach of fiduciary duty claims. On January 13, 2023, Magistrate Judge (“MJ”) Arlene Lindsay rejected Hartford’s request. However, MJ Lindsay indicated that since the breach of fiduciary claims may subject Hartford to a class action, within 30 days, she wanted to be notified of the steps the plaintiff will take towards serving as an adequate representative.
In compliance with MJ Lindsay’s order, we served interrogatories on Hartford that seek the identities of past and present participants of the LTD Plan, since each of those individuals is a potential plaintiff. The interrogatories also seek the identities of past and present participants of other disability plans where Hartford has or may apply its protocols because each of those individuals also has a potential breach of fiduciary duty claim against Hartford.
Feel free to contact us if Hartford is your LTD claim administrator, and you have questions about the way your claim has been handled. We can be reached at (888) 572-0861.
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