Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP Obtains $4.2 Million Verdict From Jury In Civil Suit Against Paul Revere Life Insurance Company And Unum Group
Policyholder Was Wrongfully Denied Disability Benefits by Insurance Company After 12 Years of Payments
Los Angeles, CA (January 31, 2011) – A Los Angeles Superior Court jury, after just three hours of deliberation, awarded the plaintiff $4.2 million in damages in her civil lawsuit against Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and UNUM Group. The jury found defendants liable for bad faith and for having breached their insurance disability contract with their insured.
The plaintiff was a dental hygienist in 1988 when she purchased an individual disability insurance policy from Paul Revere. Beginning in 1996, the plaintiff developed several disabling medical conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome and severe cervical pain radiating into her upper extremities, preventing her from being able to perform the repetitive motions and fine hand manipulations necessary for cleaning teeth. She worked though the pain and discomfort for several years but had to stop working entirely in 1999.
Under the terms of her policy, she qualified for disability benefits for the remainder of her life, even if she was able to work in some other profession. On March 31, 2008, after 12 years of paying disability benefits, UNUM Group abruptly and unreasonably terminated the plaintiff’s benefits. The plaintiff was represented by Mark T. Quigley and Ivan Puchalt with the Santa Monica, CA law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP.
Jury selection for the trial began on January 10, 2011 before the Hon. Mary H. Strobel in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 410915.
The plaintiff’s attorneys presented evidence that when UNUM Group terminated benefits on March 31, 2008, they ignored the recommendations of her treating physician who supported her disability and deliberately chose not to wait for the results of an MRI test which would have supported her claim. The trial ultimately exposed UNUM’s bad faith behavior which included UNUM’s misuse of surveillance video, selective use of independent medical examinations, and the targeting of specific claims for “resolution”.
“The Jury clearly told UNUM Group that if they do not treat their policyholders fairly, and act in good faith, then they will be held accountable. Justice was served today.” stated attorney Mark T. Quigley.
The verdict consisted of both a compensatory damage award and a punitive damage award. Attorney Ivan Puchalt added, “Hopefully, UNUM heard the message sent by the Jury to cease their bad faith conduct. Only time will tell.”
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