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High Court Declines To Review LTD And Pension Cases

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The U.S. Supreme Court has decided against hearing appeals of two decisions involving employee benefits issues.

The court refused to take up an appeal in Rohm and Haas Pension vs. Williams.

In the Rohm and Haas case, a 3-judge panel at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court decision in favor of a pension plan member, Gary Williams.

Williams had argued that his plan should have included a cost-of-living adjustment in a lump-sum distribution from the plan.

“The district court concluded that the terms of the plan violated [the Employee Retirement Income Security Act] because the COLA was an accrued benefit as ERISA defines that term,” a 7th Circuit judge wrote in June 2007, in a summary of the appeals court opinion. “We agree.”

The Supreme Court also declined to take up Graham vs. Hartford Life Insurance Company.

Shirley Graham, a former letter carrier who suffered a knee injury in 1994 while backing away from an aggressive dog, filed for long-term disability insurance benefits in 2000. When her claim was denied she sued, arguing that the denial was capricious and arbitrary.

A district court moved to send Graham’s claim back to Hartford, and a 3-judge panel at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it lacked jurisdiction because the district court had not yet entered a final judgment.


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