Woman fights insurer over cutoff of disability benefits

By Molly English-Bowers | May 12, 2016

BENTON – A Belleville woman is suing over an insurance company's alleged cutoff of long-term disability benefits.

Stephanie Dorris filed the suit May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against Unum Life Insurance Company of America.

After being diagnosed with two disabling medical conditions, the plaintiff resigned from her job and filed for disability benefits under the defendant's policy, the suit alleges. She made that claim in February 2001 and was receiving benefits from the defendant as well as Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, according to the suit.

In March 13, 2015, after the defendant had approved and was paying disability benefits, it informed the plaintiff it was conducting a review of her claim, according to the complaint.

On April 15, the defendant terminated the benefits, the suit alleges, because of the policy's mental illness limitation, which was never referenced in the original denial letter.

Despite U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Supreme Court decisions that the defendant's denials of thousands of claims were unjust, the suit alleges, it has not changed its practices.

The plaintiff seeks a judgment that the defendant pay the plaintiff the past benefits to which she is entitled, prejudgment interest, continuation of the benefits, attorney fees and other relief the court deems proper. She is represented by Paul T. Slocomb of Hoffman Slocomb LLC in St. Louis.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois Case number 16-cv-508

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