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New York Long Term Disability Lawyers Get Bad Decision for Claimants from Appeals Court

Thursday, July 9, 2009

NY Long Term Disability Attorneys  have had some pretty good days in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently with cases like McCauley v. Unum. Unfortunately, today the winning streak stopped cold with the mind-boggling decision in Burke v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Hartford Insurance, (Second Circuit, 7/9/09).

This case dealt with the issue of when the Statute of Limitations (S.O.L.) to sue in an ERISA disability claim begins to run.  The S.O.L. is important because failure to sue within the applicable time limits could cause the plaintiff to lose his right to sue in federal court regarding a long term disability claim denial. In Burke, the Court held that the S.O.L. begins to run from the date the insurance company claims that a "proof of loss" is due pursuant to a contract. 

This practically can result in the S.O.L. beginning to run even before a claim is denied!  It is an absurd result which will cause unnecessary litigation with plaintiffs in ERISA disability termination cases to having to run to court earlier than before. 

Thankfully, the Fourth Circuit in White v. Sun Life, 488 F.3d 240 (4th Cir. 2007) is now in conflict with the Burke decision. Splits among the circuit courts can often lead to US Supreme Court review so as to have uniform law nationwide on the issue.  Let’s hope some sharp appellate lawyer attempts to take this silly decision up to the Supremes!

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