A litigator who quit his job after experiencing fever, brain fog and severe fatigue nearly every day in April 2020 won a court order.
The order entitles plaintiff William Abrams to benefits until July 2023 is one of the first court decisions in a lawsuit seeking disability benefits under ERISA for Covid-19-related illness.
These lawsuits are due to a variety of factors that have led to an already lengthy internal appeals process that beneficiaries must go through with their insurers before they can sue under the Employee Retirement Income Security. After an resulting slow start, it began trickling through the federal court system earlier this year. activity. According to a 2021 Bloomberg Law report, these factors include extended deadlines by the Department of Labor, difficulty obtaining medical records, and increased telework.
Similar lawsuits allege a marathon runner in her early 30s, a software developer who contracted Covid while pregnant, a former Expedia Inc. product manager who developed pneumonia after contracting Covid in February 2020, and severe fatigue and exhaustion. is submitted by an MFS Investment Management employee who has experienced Shortness of breath after match with Covid in March 2020.
In June, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. agreed to pay disability benefits to a software sales executive in California who sued for benefits based on his post-Covid illness.
A multi-race marathon runner scheduled to run in 2020, Abrams joined Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC in 2019 as a shareholder and litigator, working nearly 12 hours a day and earning $525,000 a year before bonuses. was.
In April 2020, he began experiencing frequent fevers, severe fatigue, and mental fog, and his legal capacity plummeted. , used their retirement savings to meet their daily needs,” according to an opinion issued Tuesday by Judge Thomas S. Giry in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Abrams sought benefits under Unum’s policy of providing up to 36 months of disability benefits to company shareholders. He submitted medical records from multiple doctors, including three diagnosed with Long Covid and four diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Unum said these diagnoses were wrong, claiming Abrams “repeatedly asked the therapist for a COVID-19 diagnosis despite testing negative for COVID-19 four times.” .
Gilley said Yumm “may be right on that point,” noting that “there is a lack of convincing evidence” that Abrams has ever suffered from Covid.
However, the accuracy of Abrams’ diagnosis is not the key issue. That’s because all of Abrams’ health care providers agree that Abrams is ill.
According to Zilly, being a barrister is “like writing, directing, producing and starring at the same time” and is a “mentally and physically demanding” job. If Abrams “cannot follow the plot of the film” and suffers from a fever every day, “you can’t be expected to plan a trial strategy for multiple complex cases,” Giry said.
Abrams is represented by Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC and attorney Megan E. Glor. Unum is represented by Lane Powell PC.
Abrams v Unum Life Inns. Co. of Am., 2022 BL 461984, WD Wash., No. 2:21-cv-00980, 12/27/22.