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Judge Certifies Class Action Against Disability Insurer

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A federal court in Chattanooga, Tenn., is letting lawyers form a class of lawsuit plaintiffs that could include as many as 6,200 group long-term disability insurance claimants.

U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier has issued an order granting a motion for class certification filed on behalf of Theresa Keir and 6 other plaintiffs who have filed suits alleging that units of Unum, Chattanooga, have violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying their LTD claims or by lowering or cutting of benefits payments.

The plaintiffs filed the suits in the litigation, In Re: UnumProvident Corp. ERISA Benefits Denial Actions, in 2003.

Unum contended that the plaintiffs in the suit did not have adequate representation and that their cases were not typical.

Collier writes in a memorandum discussing his order that the plaintiffs’ cases appear to be typical because, if the allegations are true, they all involve concerns about the same uniform claims review policies and policies.

In addition, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are qualified and experienced, and the plaintiffs in the 2003 suits do not appear to have any antagonism toward other members of the class they want to represent, Collier writes.


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