Cigna seeks removal of benefits case

By Audrey Holsclaw | Aug 6, 2008

HUNTINGTON -- Cigna Healthcare Mid-Atlanic and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company have filed a notice of removal from the Circuit Court of Cabell County to federal court after a Huntington man claimed he was wrongfully denied benefits.

Clyde Maynard of Huntington filed a suit on June 18, 2008, after an April 2005 on-the-job car accident left him severely and permanently disabled.

Maynard was working for Toshiba International Corporation at the time, and he tried to return to work, but found himself unable to continue. On March 18, 2006, he applied for long term disability benefits with Cigna, which was Toshiba's disability carrier. He submitted numerous medical reports from his doctors that documented his total disability. He also applied and received social security disability benefits.

On June 18, 2007, Cigna and Connecticut Life denied his application and gave him no way to appeal the decision. It advised him in the same letter that its evaluation of his medical record indicated he could work in the "light category" as a salesman. However, his policy stated he "need only show that he was unable to perform all the material duties of his regular occupation or a qualified alternative."

Maynard alleged that Cigna and Connecticut Life's denial was arbitrary, constituted a breach of contract, and was just malicious.

Filed by Steven Thorne of the Madison firm of Cook & Cook, the suit stated that Maynard was seeking a trial by jury to award his long term disability benefits, compensatory damages for mental anguish and emotional distress with pre- and post-judgment interest, punitive damages for Cigna and Connecticut Life's malicious and intentional denial in an amount sufficient to deter it from acting in bad faith again, and litigation fees.

Filed by Erin Magee of the Charleston firm of Jackson Kelly on July 30, 2008, Cigna and Connecticut Life's removal states that Maynard's claim relates exclusively to the Toshiba International Corporation Long-Term Disability insurance policy and is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which would put it under federal jurisdiction.

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