Attorneys Dell & Schaefer and lead trial attorney Gregory Dell have filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against Prudential Insurance Company of America in the Eastern District of New York Federal Court to protect the potentially long-term disability claimants that filed a second/voluntary appeal after November 14, 2005.
The firm said that the second/voluntary appeal was denied by the same Prudential employee that denied the claimant’s first appeal. Dell & Schaefer is seeking to stop Prudential from conducting voluntary appeal reviews which violate the employee retirement income security act (ERISA).
In addition, the class action seeks an order requiring Prudential to re-evaluate thousands of voluntary appeals which were denied by Prudential after November 14, 2005.
The reassessment of denied claims could result in millions of dollars of past due benefits.
The firm said that the class is currently represented by four individuals that have each had their voluntary appeals denied by the same person that denied their first appeal. According to ERISA, decision maker on a second appeal must be an independent person who was not involved with any previous denial of a disability claim.
Gregory Dell, attorney, said: “This process is manifestly unfair, and we contend, not legal. The whole point of the ERISA-governed appeals process is to substantially reduce lawsuit expenses and create an environment where claim denials will be objectively evaluated. Prudential’s actions are a breach of their fiduciary duty to all disability claimants.”
Dell, said: “Through the nationwide representation of multiple claimants with Prudential long-term disability claim denials, our law firm obtained internal email communications which confirms Prudential’s unilateral decision to cut administrative cost by not providing a ‘full and fair review’ of all voluntary appeals.”