Pinellas County man files suit against LINA seeking reinstatement of disability benefits

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Nov 9, 2016

TAMPA – A Pinellas County man alleges he was wrongfully terminated from receiving long-term disability benefits.

Marcus J. Heerdegen filed a complaint on Oct. 17 in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida against Life Insurance Company of North America citing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Dec. 18, 2012, he was found to be entitled to long-term disability benefits by the defendant from his number of impairments, including intractable migraines, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine problems, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and others. The suit states that the defendant retracted its decision to pay benefits beyond Sept. 15, 2014, despite the disabling conditions the plaintiff suffers to date as attested by his treating physicians and the Social Security Administration.

The plaintiff holds Life Insurance Co. of North America responsible because the defendant allegedly operated under a conflict of interest from dual role as the administrator of claims and the insurance company paying benefits and relied on the opinion of a non-treating, non-examining physician, who in spite of the multitude of documentations of plaintiff's disability, still concluded that plaintiff has no functional limitations.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against the defendant, unpaid long-term disability and life insurance waiver of premium benefits plus interest, reinstatement of benefits, attorney fees and costs of litigation. He is represented by Carol Avard, Douglas D. Mohney and Mark Zakhvatayev of Avard Law Offices PA in Cape Coral.

Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida Case number 8:16-cv-02936

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