Our Practice Areas

Life, Health, Disability and ERISA LitigationPrint

The firm’s Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Litigation Group has a 20-year history of providing our clients with consistently successful results on their behalf whether it be through negotiation, mediation, summary judgment, arbitration, trial or appeal.  We exclusively represent insurers and self-insurers.

We represent our clients in connection with both individual and group claims, under state and federal law, including ERISA.  Our representation encompasses a full array of issues arising in this area of litigation including the defense of life, health and disability benefit claims, rescission and reformation cases, interpleaders, breach of fiduciary duty allegations, and bad faith claims.  While based in Massachusetts, our representation is regional in nature encompassing Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  We have also been specially admitted in other jurisdictions.  We have successfully represented dozens of insurers and self-insurers in literally hundreds of cases through the full range of trial and appellate courts, including the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  Our attorneys have resolved numerous cases through negotiation and mediation.  However, when necessary, we have obtained numerous rulings and verdicts in favor of our clients through motions for summary judgment, arbitration rulings and trial.  We have also represented our clients in precedent-setting decisions before appellate courts, including the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  While represented by our group, no client has had a bad faith claim successfully prosecuted against it, and our group has over a 90% success rate in summary judgment motions, trials and appeals.

Representative Matters:

  • Successfully represented insurer before the Massachusetts Appeals Court which upheld a judgment that an insurance policy was properly rescinded for fraudulent misrepresentations
  • Obtained a judgment in the Massachusetts Superior Court in 2011 that an insured had failed to comply with the appropriate care provision of his disability policy by failing to undertake mental health treatment recommended as a consequence of an independent medical examination
  • Obtained a ruling in federal district court requiring that the ERISA plan participant show the denial of benefits was improperly influenced by a conflict of interest before discovery was permitted  
  • Obtained a jury verdict in 2008 in Massachusetts state court for an insurer against an insured claiming that total disability was a result of an accident, rather than a sickness
  • Obtained an arbitration award in 2008 voiding a life insurance policy for a change in an insured’s health between the date of the application and the date of the issuance of the policy   
  • Represented an insurer in obtaining a precedent-setting ruling in federal district court regarding the production of surveillance materials in discovery   
  • Obtained a ruling on behalf of an insurer in federal district court that an administrative record could not be opened to admit evidence generated after a final decision on an ERISA claim  
  • Represented an insurer in federal district court in establishing grounds for a rescission of coverage in a benefit plan governed by ERISA   
  • Obtained a summary judgment decision that attention deficit disorder was a mental illness as defined by the ERISA plan   
  • Represented an insurer before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in establishing that summary judgment is the appropriate means to resolve an ERISA case regardless of the standard of review and that enlargement of the administrative record is not permitted after the administrative appeal is decided   
  • Represented an insurer before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in establishing that an individual disability policy was encompassed within an ERISA plan   
  • Represented a disability insurer before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in establishing the standard of review in an ERISA benefit claim determination 

Every case we accept is overseen by a partner who utilizes associates and paralegals to provide responsive and cost-efficient representation according to the parameters set by the client.  Each of the attorneys in the group stays current in all aspects of the law pertinent to our practice.  Each year our attorneys attend the Defense Research Institute’s Life, Health, Disability and ERISA seminar as well as the annual conference of the Tort Insurance Practice Section’s Life, Health and Disability, and Employee Benefits Law Committees.  Our attorneys hold leadership positions in both the American Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute and regularly write and speak on life, health, disability and ERISA topics for the ABA, DRI, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the American Conference Institute and the New England Claims Association.  In addition, we keep our clients up-to-date in all changes of the law by providing in-house training and a newsletter covering all developments in the First Circuit.  We also provide email updates for new cases within the circuit, as well.

The Firm is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, is listed in Best’s Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys, and is a member of The Select List of Law Firms for the Defense of Life, Health and Disability Insurance.