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Maynard Cooper's attorneys recently advised a large insurance client in a lawsuit alleging wrongful denial of disability benefits. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Alabama. After reviewing the Plan documents, our attorneys realized the claimant's claims were untimely under the Plan's three-year contractual limitations period and filed a motion to dismiss. The District Court granted our motion and the claimant appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals arguing, in part, that an ERISA plan cannot alter the statute of limitations that would otherwise apply under state law. The Eleventh Circuit rejected the claimant's position and upheld the District Court's dismissal. The claimant filed a petition for rehearing, which was also denied by the Eleventh Circuit.

When Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") in 1974, the primary goals were to protect plan participants, and to provide employees and their beneficiaries a mechanism for more efficiently resolving benefit-related disputes. After nearly 40 years of interpretation, however, that Act has created one of the most complex and voluminous bodies of law for any federal statute. Having attorneys who know and can help clients navigate this ever-developing law is not a luxury—it's a necessity.

To learn more about Maynard Cooper's ERISA practice and other recent successes, please see the Practice Group ERISA and Group Insurance Litigation, or call William Wahlheim (ERISA Litigation) at 205.254.1088 or Beth Beaube (ERISA Plan Administration) at 205.254.1082.