A recent case out of the North District of Oklahoma, Anderson-Posey v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., involved a long-term disability insurance policy issued by Unum Provident and governed under the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
The claimant was a pharmacist who filed for disability benefits under the policy indicating that she was unable to perform her duties as a pharmacist due to her physical disabilities, requiring the use of strong narcotic pain medications, rendering it unsafe for her to do her job. Unum denied her claim and the claimant filed suit. The court found that Unum’s decision that the claimant could return to her job as a pharmacist while on narcotic pain medication was arbitrary and capricious, as it was unreasonable and not supported by substantial evidence. The court further found that substantial evidence did not support Unum’s assertion that the claimant did not actually have a disabling condition, which required the use of narcotic pain medication. Accordingly, the court reversed Unum’s decision and remanded the claim to Unum. Anderson-Posey v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 16-CV-0086-CVE-FHM, 2017 WL 723898 (N.D. Okla. Feb. 23, 2017).