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Daubert Standard for Expert Opinions Doesn’t Apply in ERISA Cases – S.D. NY

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  • Daubert Standard for Expert Opinions Doesn’t Apply in ERISA Cases – S.D. NY

    In Rease v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et. al., the plaintiff seeks disability benefits from the insurer of his ERISA governed plan, Prudential. In the attached opinion, the court holds that Prudential didn’t abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff’s claim. The opinion is factually driven, but I post it because there is one holding that may be helpful to ERISA practitioners. Plaintiff argues that the court should disregard one of the medical opinions defendant relied upon in denying the claim because the opinion did not meet the standard for expert testimony established by the Supreme Court’s Daubert decision. The court points out that Daubert doesn’t apply in ERISA actions.

    3 Plaintiff argues that this Court should reject Dr. Touradji's medical conclusion because Dr. Touradji's testing methods do not satisfy the reliability standard for expert testimony as articulated in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Plaintiff’s argument is misplaced. The Daubert standard does not apply in ERISA cases. See Vanwright v. First Unum Life Ins. Co., 740 F. Supp. 2d 397, 404 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) ("[Federal Rule of Evidence] 702 and Daubert do not apply in ERISA actions."). Furthermore, this Court having conducted an independent review of Dr. Touradji's report, there is nothing in her report to suggest any flawed method of testing.
    A copy of the decision is attached.
    Attached Files