ERISA and Long-Term Disability Claims

Essex Richards’ attorneys have been litigating ERISA claims for decades. ERISA (which stands for the Employee Retirement Security Income Act of 1974) is a federal law that establishes the minimum standards that are applicable to private employers’ retirement, health, and other welfare benefit plans, including disability.

Our ERISA practice group handles short-term (“STD”) and long-term (“LTD”) disability benefit denials both under ERISA and private, non-ERISA disability insurance policies. We handle other welfare benefit claims, as well, such as life insurance and accidental death & dismemberment (“AD&D”) denials. The firm also regularly challenges group and individual health benefit denials for clients seeking coverage for their medical claims and procedures. Additionally, we represent individual clients and plan administrators with retirement benefit issues, “top hat” plans, deferred compensation agreements, and other pension benefit matters. The firm is also experienced in handling breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction claims under ERISA.

Woody Connette is actively involved in health care access and health care reform issues. He has testified before the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the development of ERISA regulations. He has served for over ten years on the Executive Board of the Patient Advocate Foundation, www.patientadvocate.org and its policy arm, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, www.npaf.org. Locally, he serves on the Davidson College Medical Humanities Advisory Board and is a former member of the Mecklenburg Medical Society’s Bioethics Resource Group. Connette speaks and writes frequently on health care issues, including an article on patient advocacy to be published in the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Norris Adams has also successfully handled numerous ERISA claims at all levels, from the initial benefit claim and the administrative appeal process to challenging the denial in the federal district and appellate courts. He has obtained numerous trial and appellate decisions for his clients. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on ERISA and related issues at continuing legal education conferences all over the country. He has also written numerous articles and book chapters for a wide range of professional publications on various ERISA topics.

Our ERISA practice group lawyers have frequently been recognized by their peers, having been named on multiple occasions to U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyers in America, Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, North Carolina Super Lawyers, and Thompson Reuters’ Business Super Lawyers, among others.

How We Helped...

Looking back, I wish we had called Norris sooner. We just didn’t understand how difficult it can be to get an insurance company to change its mind. Norris had the experience to deal with the insurance company on the timeline we needed. Norris was an amazing advocate for our son and was completely dedicated to our family. It took a lawsuit to finally make the insurance company listen to us, and, in the end, our son had the surgery he needed at the time his doctor determined was best.

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