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Cross-motions for Summary Judgement: D.Md.

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  • Cross-motions for Summary Judgement: D.Md.

    In a relatively standard case from Maryland, the Plaintiff was formerly employed with firm before she left on STD benefits as a result of severe depression. Unfortunately, her position was eliminated one month into her three month leave of absence. Several months later, she applied for LTD benefits but was denied. After exhausting internal remedies, she filed this action. With respect to the adequacy of the vocational review, the court found:

    Reidy next argues that Defendants “minimized” her job responsibilities so as to facilitate claim denial, and that their categorization of her job description as “Recruiting Director” does not match Reidy’s actual work. See ECF No. 38 at 18–20. In assessing what kind of job a claimant is expected to perform, administrators must use an “objectively reasonable” description of the claimant’s occupation. Gallagher v. Reliance Stand. Insur. Co., 305 F.3d 264, 271 (4th Cir. 2002). Reidy does not specify how “Recruiting Director” fails to capture objectively her work duties, nor does she demonstrate how her actual position was more mentally or physically rigorous than that described for Recruiting Director. See ECF No. 38. The Court, therefore, does not find this argument persuasive. Rather, the record amply supports that Defendants followed the Plan to arrive at the appropriate category of job by assessing her occupation “as it is normally performed in the national economy, instead of how the work tasks are performed for a specific employer or at a specific location.” UA-CL-LTD-POL-000034; UA-CL-LWOP-000124. To do so, Unum considered information from Patton Boggs and input from Reidy herself, collected through a Work Experience and Education Questionnaire and a February 16, 2015 telephone interview. See UA-CA-LTD-000394–95; UA CL-LTD-004122–23; UA-CL-LWOP-000253–54. Reidy self-described her position as Director of Professional Recruitment, and her duties to include recruitment and hiring of law students, as well as supervising new associate programming. Id. Unum found that Reidy’s position, as described, most closely matched the general occupation in the national economy of “Recruiting Director,” defined in Unum’s directory as a complex position that required analysis, presentations, “constant social interaction” across multiple organizations, and “frequent adaption to change” and “independent planning.” See UA-CL-LTD- 000396. Unum’s chosen vocational label need only capture material and substantial duties to that required by Reidy’s actual position. Indeed, nearly all of the qualities that Reidy argues made her job difficult are captured in the Recruiting Director, a job described as cognitively difficult with frequent travel and constant social interaction. See UA-CL-LTD-000395–97 (also describing the position as requiring “memory and concentration,” supervision of others and considerable personal responsibility, and complex analysis); see also UA-CL-LTD-000068–74. Unum’s assessment of Reidy’s ability to work as in the generic occupation of “Recruitment Director” was not an abuse of discretion.
    Ultimately, the court granted the Defendant's motion and denied the Plaintiff's. The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files