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Ford-Blevins v. Disability Plan

August 20, 2009

JACKIE FORD-BLEVINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISABILITY PLAN, LIBERTY LIFE BRINKS COMPANY LONG TERM ASSURANCE COMPANY OF BOSTON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER

Administrative Record

Filing Deadline: 3/1/10

Extra-Record Evidence Motion Filing

Deadline: 4/15/10

I. Date of Scheduling Conference. August 20, 2009

Discovery Cut-Off: 4/23/10 Cross-Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 6/14/10 Opposition to Cross-Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 6/28/10 Hearing Date for Cross-Dispositive Motions: 7/27/10 9:00 Ctrm. 3 (CT-1/2 day)

III. Summary of Pleadings

1. This case results from the denial of long term disability benefits to Plaintiff under an employee benefit plan funded by Plaintiff's employer, which is insured by a group long term disability insurance policy issued by Defendant Liberty Life. As such, this matter is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.

2. With respect to Plaintiff's claim for disability benefits, the parties agree that, as a general matter, cases of this type are decided on the Administrative Record. Specifically, in the case of Kearney v. Standard Ins. Co., 175 F.3d 1084 (9th Cir. 1999) (en banc), the Ninth Circuit determined that a District Court's review of a fiduciary's benefits decision under ERISA should - with some exceptions - be conducted on the administrative record which was before the fiduciary at the time it made its decision.

3. The parties will complete initial disclosures pursuant to Rule 26(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by August 13, 2009. Upon receipt of the Administrative Record, Plaintiff will review this record, to determine whether it is complete, or whether additional material should be added.

4. Plaintiff intends to take limited discovery into whether the denial was influenced by Liberty's dual role as claims fiduciary and claims payor. Defendants dispute that any such discovery is proper under ERISA.

5. In addition, Defendants anticipate bringing a motion for summary adjudication that the Plan here provides it with discretionary authority, thereby mandating the abuse of discretion standard of review. Plaintiff anticipates stipulating on this point if the Plan language is sufficiently clear.

6. Subject to the above, the parties agree that, as currently pled, the trial of this matter shall be on the Administrative Record, although both sides reserve the right to move this Court to admit extrinsic evidence if appropriate. The parties reserve the right to object ...


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