A group disability plan administrator may have no legal duty to investigate the source of reports of malingering.
The plaintiff in the case, Terri Truitt, said back, leg and foot pain kept her from working as a lawyer.
Her disability insurer, a unit of Unum Group Corp. (NYSE:UNM), awarded her benefits in May 2003. When the insurer had professionals review her case, some found that she really was disabled, and some concluded that she was exaggerating her pain and had little or no physical impairment.
In 2007, a former boyfriend called the insurer and sent the insurer an e-mail. The former boyfriend said Truitt had gotten him “deported to the United Kingdom,” and that “as a result, he wanted to ‘see the b**** locked up,’” Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson wrote in an opinion explaining the decision.
The former boyfriend asked the insurer to pay him an amount equal to six times Truitt’s monthly benefit for evidence that she was getting disability payments under false pretenses.
The former provided more information about Truitt, including flight itineraries and eTicket records, without compensation, Higginson wrote.
Truitt also provided evidence that Truitt had resumed practicing law, Higginson said.