Long Term Disability Insurance Claims Arising from ME/CFS (Vastag v. Prudential)
Created on January 17, 2019
According to the most recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report published in 2015, an estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), but most of them have not been diagnosed. The National Institutes of Health published studies between 1966 and 2004 which examined the extent of work-related impairment in those suffering with ME/CFS which demonstrated job loss which ranged from 26 to 89 percent consistent with job loss among those with other chronic illnesses. Decreased job performance among adults with ME/CFS was consistently reported in the literature and was, in part, attributed to impairments of short-term memory and learning, decision making, attendance and communication skills, and increased dependence on co-workers to perform work duties. Evidence of impairment in this population was found to be substantially more prevalent in ME/CFS patients than in controls and 54% of ME/CFS patients reported being unemployed compared to 9% of controls. As a result, employers, disability insurers, and attorneys must often confront the issue of disability in the workforce from those afflicted with ME/CFS.
This course, presented by Barbara B. Comerford, whose law firm successfully represented Brian Vastag, an award-winning Washington Post Science Reporter who suffers from ME/CFS, in an ERISA LTD lawsuit against Prudential Insurance Company in Vastag v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2018 WL 2455921 (D. N.J May 31, 2018), will discuss the basics of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Long Term Disability Insurance claims (LTD), the various diagnostic criteria used for ME/CFS, the symptoms experienced by those suffering from ME/CFS, objective documentation of symptoms in ME/CFS cases, how to determine the validity of a ME/CFS case from a plaintiff perspective, and a sampling of cases decided for the defense.
- Address the basics of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Long Term Disability Insurance claims (LTD)
- Identify the various diagnostic criteria used for ME/CFS
- Determine the validity of a ME/CFS case from a plaintiff perspective
- Discuss cases decided for the defense
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