Louisiana Record

Thursday, October 17, 2019

University staffer claims unlawful denial of disability benefits

By Carol Ostrow | Jun 24, 2015

NEW ORLEANS - A Shreveport resident has filed suit against his insurance firm claiming deliberate avoidance of disability benefit payments in 2014.

Paul Newton Jr. filed a claim against Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company on June 18 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on allegations of unlawful withholding of benefits in his disability case in March 2014.

The suit states that the plaintiff, a beneficiary of a non-ERISA policy issued by the defendant covering employees of Louisiana State University, filed for disability benefits because his medical condition prevented him from working fulltime. Specifically, Newton has chronic right knee pain, arthritis and a heart condition that impact his job duties of walking and standing.

According to the suit, Newton provided proper documentation of medical disability to Hartford; the defendant purportedly approved his claim and paid benefits for a time, but then denied benefits as of March 27, 2014. Six months later, as the plaintiff’s knee condition worsened, he underwent surgery for a knee replacement.

Claiming that Hartford has received sufficient proof for his claim, Newton alleges that the defendant has refused to provide a copy of his policy, and argues that the firm is in violation of state insurance code; that their failure to pay is arbitrary and has caused financial damage, emotional distress, and anxiety over pending medical expenses.

Requesting actual damages including past and future disability benefits, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses, and court costs, he is represented by Reagan Toledano, James Willeford and Shane Pendley of Willeford & Toledano in New Orleans.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-02218-HGB-SS

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