Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thiry v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 19, 2017

MARIANNE THIRY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED OF OMAHA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY and MERIDIAN BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, LLC LONG-TERM DISABILITY PLAN, Defendants.

          Matthew B. Newman, MATTHEW B. NEWMAN, P.A., for plaintiff.

          Mark Scholle, SCHOLLE LAW FIRM, LTD., and Todd Brenner, BRENNER HUBBLE, for defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Marianne Thiry filed the present action claiming Defendants United of Omaha Life Insurance Company ("United") and Meridian Behavioral Health, LLC Long-Term Disability Plan (the "Plan") improperly denied Thiry long-term disability benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Menendez issued a report and recommendation ("R&R"), advising the Court to grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment and deny Thiry's motion for summary judgment. Thiry timely objected. The Court will overrule Thiry's objections and adopt the R&R.

         BACKGROUND

         Meridian Behavioral Health, LLC employed Thiry as a Director of Operational Development from October 2008 through November 2014. (Admin. R. at 50, 152, [1]Apr. 28, 2017, Docket No. 42.) During her employment, Thiry participated in the Plan and was covered under a Group Insurance Policy (the "LTD Policy") that entitled Thiry to benefits if she became disabled. (Id. at 2967.) The LTD Policy defined "Disability and Disabled" as:

because of an Injury or Sickness, a significant change in Your mental or physical functional capacity has occurred in which:
(a) during the Elimination Period, You are prevented from performing at least one of the Material Duties of Your Regular Occupation on a part-time or full-time basis; and
(b) after the Elimination Period, You are:
1. prevented from performing at least one of the Material Duties of Your Regular Occupation on a part-time or full-time basis; and
2. unable to generate Current Earnings which exceed 99% of Your Basic Monthly Earnings due to that same Injury or Sickness.

         After a Monthly Benefit has been paid for 2 years, Disability and Disabled mean You are unable to perform all of the Material Duties of any Gainful Occupation.

         Disability is determined relative to Your ability or inability to work. It is not determined by the availability of a suitable position with the Policyholder. (Id. at 2992.) The Plan granted United discretionary authority to administer claims and vested United with "discretion and the final authority to construe and interpret the Policy, " including "the authority to decide all questions of eligibility." (Id. at 2988.)

         Thiry stopped working on August 5, 2014 and, because of mental-health issues, applied for short-term disability benefits. (Id. at 512-13, 1505.) United eventually granted Thiry short-term disability benefits. (See Joint Stipulation for Approval of PI. to File Second Am. Compl. at 1-3, May, 12, 2016, Docket No. 14.)

         In November 2014, Thiry completed an application for long-term disability benefits. (Admin. R. at 152-65.) Thiry's application related to both mental-health and physical-impairment conditions. (See Id. at 2524-53) On March 12, 2015, Thiry's counsel sent United a letter concerning the claim for long-term disability benefits. (Id. at 2524-53.) In relevant part, Thiry stated that she was entitled to long-term disability benefits based on the disabling effects of pain and fatigue related to fibromyalgia and related physical conditions. (See id.)

         On June 10, 2015, United denied Thiry's application for long-term disability benefits. (Id. at 1502-12.) Following an appeal, United partially reversed its decision and granted Thiry's claim for long-term disability benefits relating to Thiry's mental-health conditions. (Id. at 1257-60.) ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.