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| Erin Ronstadt

Yearly Archives: 2012

Insurers Cannot Hide Behind Legal Counsel – the “Fiduciary Exception” to Attorney-Client Privilege

Dec, 17, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Blog 0

When you consult with an attorney, your conversations with that attorney are protected as privileged, and there is little exception to this rule. While this protection may be important for the average person, insurance companies have been afforded this protection in the ERISA context when it came to communications with their legal counsel. Under the …

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Claimants AND Plans need good ERISA Attorneys

Dec, 12, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Uncategorized 0

Here is a short article written on the value of a good ERISA attorney when it comes to plan design issues. If plans took more time consulting with independent ERISA counsel, both parties would benefit from better-designed plans that promote the best interests of everyone involved.

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Success on Internal Appeal

Dec, 02, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Uncategorized 1

A law firm out of California was able to recover $960,000 in past-due benefits on appeal from Unum Insurance Company. Read the entire story here. While more claimants will not have such ample past-due benefits to recover, this is a great success story that demonstrates the importance of preparing a thorough and compelling appeal, as …

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Litigating an ERISA case: Discovering Medical Reviewer Bias

Dec, 01, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Blog 2

If your disability benefits have been denied, your insurance company very likely hired an “independent” physician or medical reviewer to justify the denial of your claim. Insurance companies will often hire these “independent” reviewers to review a claimant’s medical records and provide opinions regarding the claimant’s functionality, pain levels, and overall disabled status. Ironically, these …

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Ninth Circuit Clarifies ERISA Structural Conflict

Nov, 26, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Blog 0

The Ninth Circuit has recently found that, when a plan sponsor properly grants discretion to a plan administrator separate from the plan’s funding source, there is no structural conflict of interest when the administrator merely “consults with” the plan sponsor. Moving forward, it will be important to factually establish that the administrator was actually influenced …

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Fibromyalgia – Potentially Disabling at Any Age

Jul, 25, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Blog 1

People suffering from Fibromyalgia experience a life of pain that many will never understand, which is why the story of 17-year old Jenna Rice is so inspiring to read. In the face of her disabling symptoms, Jenna has found ways to raise awareness about chronic illness while also doing her best to pursue her interests, …

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SCOTUS to Decide Personal Injury Recovery in ERISA

Jul, 23, 2012 Erin Ronstadt Blog 0

Under ERISA, a plan is often entitled to take offsets against other benefits that a claimant receives. For example, plans almost always take an offset for workers’ compensation or social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. Many plans go as far as requiring claimants to apply for SSDI benefits, so that the plans can take the …

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