ERISA Life Insurance and Disability Case Paid after Statute of Limitations against Anheuser Busch and Great West Insurance Company
Phil Tatlow has obtained another recovery for his Union client for a buy-out of a life insurance policy due to his client becoming disabled, even though more than 12 years had passed since he left the company and even though the time to sue the company had passed when the client came to see Phil. This is an ERISA Life and Disability Claim and is connected to the case R.B. v. Anheuser Busch and Great West Insurance Company. R.B. worked as a beer brewer at Anheuser Busch for over thirty years working on the beer brewing line. Over the years, he developed degenerative arthritis of his body and also suffered a series of knee injuries that resulted in difficulty doing his work. He decided to take an early retirement and opted to receive a reduced pension. However, he filed for Social Security disability because he believed that he could no longer perform his job due to the arthritis and knee conditions. After he obtained Social Security disability benefits, ten (10) years or more passed. While at a retirees get together, he heard from his former co-workers that if he was disabled when he left work, that he could have tried to obtain a buy-out of his life insurance policy. Unfortunately, under the insurance policy, it was now too late to make a claim, because too many years had passed since he left the company. R.B. and a few other clients sought Phil Tatlow out when their co-workers told him that Mr. Tatlow had already obtained recoveries for them on buy-outs of their life insurance policies due to them becoming disabled. Phil took the cases even though it appeared that it was too late to file claims or to sue the companies. He argued that because Anheuser Busch and the insurance company failed to provide all of the insurance plan documents to the employees and because of a breach of fiduciary duty to the employees by both the insurance company and the employer to R.B., the time to make a claim under the plan had never run and was tolled because of Anheuser Busch's misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty. After fighting with the insurance company and filing complaints against the insurance company with the Department of Insurance, Great West Insurance Company and Anheuser Busch eventually agreed to pay R.B the entire policy limits under the life insurance policy. Phil believes that this is an unusual result in an ERISA case. "I am not aware of any reported cases in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Missouri where the employer and insurance company paid the policy limits of the policy even though it was at least ten (10) years beyond the statute of limitations. I believe someone at Anheuser Busch or Great West, or in their legal departments recognized that the breach of ficuciary duty claim, if successful, could expose the company to further damages, or even an award of attorney's fees in my favor. I was just glad to obtain the full policy limits for my client and am pleased that in the end, Anheuser Busch and Great West did the right thing and paid my client."