Riemer Hess Secures Legal Victory on Behalf of Financial Engineer with a TBI
Riemer Hess LLC is proud to announce a significant legal victory in Rhodes v. First Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, No. 22 CIV. 5264 (AKH), 2023 WL 3099294 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 26, 2023). The Court’s decision sends a powerful message to long term disability insurance companies: they will be held accountable for failing to follow the regulations provided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
The plaintiff, Mr. William Rhodes, a Financial Engineer for a major financial institution, filed a claim for disability benefits after suffering a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”). First Reliance initially approved Rhodes’s claim but later terminated his benefits and denied his appeal. After the appeal denial, Mr. Rhodes consulted with Riemer Hess to sue First Reliance on his behalf.
In the litigation, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein granted Rhodes’s motion for a de novo standard of review, holding that First Reliance failed to “strictly adhere” to ERISA’s claims procedure regulations. As a result, the Court would apply no deference to First Reliance’s previous decision, even though the plan granted discretion to First Reliance.