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9th Cir. – Defense Opinion

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  • 9th Cir. – Defense Opinion

    Here’s a new unpublished decision from the Ninth Circuit entitled Susan Beach v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. If it wasn’t from the Court of Appeals, it’s not really worth comment otherwise, but in its very short opinion, the court found:

    The district court did not clearly err in its determination that Beach was not disabled under the terms of the policy, nor did it commit any legal errors. To succeed on her claim, Beach was required to establish that she is disabled under the terms of the plan. Muniz v. Amec Constr. Mgmt., Inc., 623 F.3d 1290, 1295–96 (9th Cir. 2010). The relevant plan provision—the “any occupation” standard—provides that an individual is entitled to long-term benefits only when she is “unable to perform, with reasonable continuity, all of the material and substantial duties of [her] own or any other occupation for which [she] is or becomes reasonably fitted by training, education, experience, age and physical and mental capacity.” Ample evidence in the record supports the determination that Beach retained the ability to sustain employment, including the opinion of Beach’s treating physician that she was not disabled, Beach’s own self-reported ability to sit for five to six hours and stand for three hours, and multiple medical opinions stating that Beach could sustain at least part-time work. In light of this evidence, the district court did not clearly err in denying benefits under the “any occupation” standard.
    The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files