Day 1 - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

7:15
Continental Breakfast and Registration
7:55
Co-Chairs’ Welcoming Remarks
8:00
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
9:35
Morning Break
9:45
Disability Case Law Year in Review: What Are the Courts Saying? Discussing and Analyzing the Key ERISA & Non-ERISA Case Law Developments Including the Montanile and Wurtz decisions, and What They Mean for Your Practice in 2017 and Beyond
10:50
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Use in Conducting a Disability Claim Investigation
11:50
Discovery in ERISA Cases as Discretionary Clauses are Slowly Fading Out and Insurers are Relying on De Novo Review, How the Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Will Impact Discovery, Administrative Review, and Proportionality Issues
12:50
Networking Lunch for Speakers and Attendees
1:50
The Evolving State of New Remedies and Equitable Relief Under ERISA 502(a)(3): The Latest Court Decisions Affecting the New Remedies Landscape, the Fallout from Rochow v. LINA, Strategies for Addressing 502(a)(3) Relief Claims, and More
2:40
Contractual Limitations Periods in the Post-Heimeshoff Era: A Circuit-by-Circuit Analysis of the Latest Relevant Court Decisions and Their Implication
3:30
Penalties For Failing to Provide Plan Documents Under ERISA Section 502(c)
4:20
Afternoon Break
4:30
Partial Disability v. Total Disability: How the Courts are Drawing the Line for Determining Different Levels of Disability and the Formula Used for Calculating Payouts
5:30
ETHICS: Preserving Attorney-Client Privilege During Disability Claim Handling (.5 Ethics Credit)
6:30
Conference Adjourns to Day Two

Day 2 - Thursday, February 2, 2017

7:30
Continental Breakfast
8:00
IN-HOUSE THINK TANK: Counsel and Claims Professional Perspectives on New and Emerging Issues in Disability Insurance Claims
9:20
Morning Break
9:30
Effectively Approaching and Utilizing the IME’s Evaluation, Treating Physician’s Opinion, the FCE, Neuropsych Evaluations, Medical Records and More
10:45
Subjective Claims and Constellations of Medical Issues –Tackling the Challenges of Handling Mental/ Nervous Claims and Establishing Objective Proof of Subjective, “Non-Visible” Disorders
12:15
Vocational Experts: Challenges and Difficulty in Finding Qualified and Newer Experts, Lack of Universal Standard for Qualifying Vocational Experts, Determining Occupational Demand and Suitability for Work, Assessment of Own Occupation, Any Occupation, Dual Occupation
1:10
Conferences Ends; Lunch for Post-Conference Workshop Speakers and Attendees

Handling a Disability Case from Start to Finish: The Complete Guide

Feb 2, 2017 2:15pm - 4:15pm

Speakers

Robert K. Scott

Law Offices of Robert K. Scott

Kristina B. Pett

Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP

Day 1 - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

7:15
Continental Breakfast and Registration
7:55
Co-Chairs’ Welcoming Remarks

Robert K. Scott

Law Offices of Robert K. Scott

Nicole Y. Blohm

Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP

8:00
VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Hon. Fernando J. Gaitan Jr.

U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Mo.

Hon. Viktor V. Pohorelsky

U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D.N.Y

Hon. Lorenzo F. Garcia

U.S. Dist. Ct., D.N.M.

Hon. Mildred E. Methvin

U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. La.

Hon. Richard S. Schmidt

U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Tex.

Moderator:

Pamela I. Atkins
Principal
Atkins & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC

9:35
Morning Break
9:45
Disability Case Law Year in Review: What Are the Courts Saying? Discussing and Analyzing the Key ERISA & Non-ERISA Case Law Developments Including the Montanile and Wurtz decisions, and What They Mean for Your Practice in 2017 and Beyond

John J. Myers
Member
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC

Denise M. Clark
Founding Partner
Clark Law Group, PLLC

Blaire Bruns Johnson
Partner
Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP

  • Montanile: recoupment of SSDI and WC overpayments in light of the Supreme Court decision
  • Wurtz: Offsets against benefits
  • Harlick: The administrative review process and the waiver rule
  • Forum shopping and motion practice being used to transfer venue
  • Filing suit immediately after the insurer’s deadline to decide a claim has expired
  • Attorney’s fees motions
  • The application of ERISA church plan exemptions as applied to hospitals and health organizations
  • Rescission: what constitutes material representation?
  • Remedies

10:50
The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Use in Conducting a Disability Claim Investigation

Frank N. Darras
Founding Partner
Darras Law

Gregory P. McMahon
Equity Partner
Koleos, Rosenberg & McMahon, PL

  • The potential benefits and pitfalls of looking online and reviewing the content of social media/networking sites during claims investigations – practical tips on what you should and should not do
  • Effectively and legally using content found on social media
  • Practical suggestions for successful research on social media sites and privacy implications
  • How to lawfully make use of information/material found on social media
  • A survey of the latest case law on the dos and don’ts of social media use in conducting a disability claim investigation

11:50
Discovery in ERISA Cases as Discretionary Clauses are Slowly Fading Out and Insurers are Relying on De Novo Review, How the Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Will Impact Discovery, Administrative Review, and Proportionality Issues

Jennifer M. Danish
Managing Partner
Bryant Legal Group PC

Jason A. Newfield
Founding Partner
Frankel & Newfield P.C.

Ronald K. Alberts
Partner
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP

  • Conflict of interest discovery
  • Discretionary clause regulation
  • Tackling the big issue of discovery in ERISA cases under de novo review
  • The changing landscape of insurers and state regulators no longer requiring discretionary policies
  • How do you try a de novo case in the 9th circuit where there are bench trials and no witnesses?
  • State by state update on states that still allow discretionary policies
  • Determining the claims that contain discretionary policies but litigating de novo review
  • Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
    • Rule 26
  • How are courts looking at the issue of proportionality in ERISA cases?
  • Discovery obtained during administrative review

12:50
Networking Lunch for Speakers and Attendees
1:50
The Evolving State of New Remedies and Equitable Relief Under ERISA 502(a)(3): The Latest Court Decisions Affecting the New Remedies Landscape, the Fallout from Rochow v. LINA, Strategies for Addressing 502(a)(3) Relief Claims, and More

Anthony F. Shelley
Member
Miller & Chevalier Chartered

Michelle Roberts
Partner
Roberts Bartolic LLP

  • Assessing the ongoing impact of Amara, McCutchen and their progeny on ERISA 502(a)(3) remedies
  • Examining the latest court rulings affecting the new remedies landscape – taking a look at the developing case law
  • Analyzing the 6th circuit en banc decision in Rochow v. LINA – what are the implications of this decision? What has been the fallout from this decision? What does the court’s opinion indicate about the future of recovering disgorged profits as an appropriate form of equitable relief? In what limited circumstances might this be deemed permissible?
  • Best strategies for arguing against monetary damages as a form of ‘equitable relief’
  • What recovery provisions qualify as clear and specific? When do equitable principles “augment” the plan?
  • Minimizing damages in the wake of Amara
  • How have Amara, McCutchen, Rochow and their progeny changed the remedies landscape from the plaintiff’s viewpoint?
  • What must plaintiffs prove in order to obtain remedies?
  • How have the courts interpreted ‘plan terms’?
  • Can you look to SPDs and other documents?
  • Equitable recoupment of benefit overpayments after McCutchen
  • Current state of ERISA remedies available in fiduciary breach claims – how are the circuits coming down on this? How to handle the litigation of these claims
  • How to strategically address 502(a)(3) relief claims – the pros and cons of addressing them as early as possible via motion to dismiss, versus waiting until the summary judgement phase

2:40
Contractual Limitations Periods in the Post-Heimeshoff Era: A Circuit-by-Circuit Analysis of the Latest Relevant Court Decisions and Their Implication

Julie F. Wall
Attorney
Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC

Nikole M. Crow
Counsel
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP

  • Whether plan limitation of actions provisions are enforceable if the plan does not advise the participant of its existence
  • Benefit determination letters
  • Analyzing the four exceptions to the general rule that the Court laid out in Heimeshoff – what litigation has been arising regarding the application of these four exceptions? Where does this seem to be headed?
  • What exceptions does the plaintiffs’ bar seem to be focusing on the most?
  • Understanding how the terms of a plan or policy at issue relates to state statutes that purport to mandate contractual limitations and proof of loss provisions
  • What are the latest court decisions saying about what the shortest period is that a plan could add?
  • Analyzing the Diaz decision – limitation of access provision not identified in denial letter cannot be enforced

3:30
Penalties For Failing to Provide Plan Documents Under ERISA Section 502(c)

Eric L. Buchanan
Partner
Buchanan & Associates, PLLC

Daniel W. Maguire
Partner
Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

  • Penalties for failing to provide Plan Documents under ERISA section 502(c)
  • How employers can avoid these penalties
  • How insurance companies can help their clients avoid these penalties
  • How claimants can recover the highest possible penalties where appropriate

4:20
Afternoon Break
4:30
Partial Disability v. Total Disability: How the Courts are Drawing the Line for Determining Different Levels of Disability and the Formula Used for Calculating Payouts

Joseph M. Hamilton
Partner
Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP

Bryan D. Bolton
Founding Partner
Funk & Bolton, P.A.

Alicia Paulino-Grisham
Partner
Paulino-Grisham, Smith & Chmielarz, P.A.

  • How courts are drawing the line differently in determining partial v. total disability
  • What formula is used for determining payment in partial disability cases

5:30
ETHICS: Preserving Attorney-Client Privilege During Disability Claim Handling (.5 Ethics Credit)

Nicole Y. Blohm

Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP

John E. Meagher
Partner
Shutts & Bowen LLP

  • Assessing whether privilege exists when attorneys act as claims managers rather than giving legal advice
  • Ethical considerations when communicating with clients and protecting confidential information
  • Knowing the exceptions to privilege when bad faith claims are involved or there are communications with overseas attorneys
  • Avoiding waiver through over-dissemination or implicit reliance on advice of counsel
  • Special ethics rules applicable to in-house legal departments which relate to maintaining privilege and confidentiality
  • Resolving conflict of laws questions to determine governing privilege law
  • Privilege issues when parent-subsidiary communications are involved
  • Update on the fiduciary exception in ERISA cases and limits to that exception to privilege

6:30
Conference Adjourns to Day Two

Day 2 - Thursday, February 2, 2017

7:30
Continental Breakfast
8:00
IN-HOUSE THINK TANK: Counsel and Claims Professional Perspectives on New and Emerging Issues in Disability Insurance Claims

Catherine Gallo
Assistant Vice President & Assistant General Counsel
The Hartford

Brian Landry
Executive Vice President
Claims Bureau USA

Noreen M. Fierro
Corporate Chief Compliance Officer
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Julie K. Bolt
Assistant Counsel
The Standard

Moderator:

Kristina B. Pett

Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP

9:20
Morning Break
9:30
Effectively Approaching and Utilizing the IME’s Evaluation, Treating Physician’s Opinion, the FCE, Neuropsych Evaluations, Medical Records and More

Leo J. Shea III, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor of Rehabilitation at Rusk Institute
President, Neuropsychological Evaluation and Treatment Services, P.C.

Henry G. Conroe MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Rush Medical College
Regional Medical Advisor, Social Security Administration

Region V

  • Restrictions and limitations
  • FCE Exams, field visits and video
  • Defeating bad claims
  • Establishing credibility

10:45
Subjective Claims and Constellations of Medical Issues –Tackling the Challenges of Handling Mental/ Nervous Claims and Establishing Objective Proof of Subjective, “Non-Visible” Disorders

Ronald Roberts Ph.D.
Forensic Neuropsychologist
Forensic Psychiatric Associates Medical Corporation

Mark I. Levy, MD, DLFAPA
Medical Director
Forensic Psychiatric Associates Medical Corporation

Patricia Enriquez, MA, CRC
Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
NYC Expert Disability Associates, LLC

Mental Illness and Mental/Nervous Limitations

  • Understanding the complexities of the mental illness: Distinguishing between a physical problem in the brain chemistry and a mental symptom
  • Evaluating the medical experts that are key to mental illness claims
  • IME strategies and record review; building a medical record which supports your claim
  • Losing or winning the mental illness claim at summary judgment
  • What are the limitations to the mental illness claims
  • Interpreting the co-morbid condition: When the mental illness arises out of the physical illness; How to deal with co-morbid conditions?
  • Identifying the primary medical condition causing the inability to work
  • Identifying whether there is a cognitive component to a disability claim and whether or not that component should be classified as “mental/nervous”
  • Preparing your client’s claim so that it is properly categorized by the insurance company
  • Recent challenges to the mental/nervous limitations – what types of challenges have proven successful?
  • Issues arising out of the “caused by or contributed to by” language
  • Successfully challenging and changing an initially incorrect benefits determination
  • Substance abuse and the risk of relapse as a viable defense
  • What kind of policy language is being seen regarding coverage for substance or alcohol abuse? How are these provisions being interpreted? What is the current state of the law on whether such a claimant is entitled to benefits?


Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain and Chronic Lyme Disease; and Self-Reported Symptoms Limitations

  • Proving the existence of the disorder
  • How to identify the appropriate healthcare professionals to properly diagnose and/or evaluate a subjective condition: Should IME’s be the norm? Are peer reviews sufficient to overcome clinical evaluations by treatment providers?
  • Balancing the need for objective proof versus the subjective disorder: Understanding objective proof of diagnosis v. objective proof of limitations; Testing to objectively verify functional limitations
  • Recent challenges to the application of self-reported symptoms limitations – what types of challenges have proven successful?
  • Distinguishing one claimant’s ability to work with these conditions and another claimant’s inability to work with these conditions
  • Educating courts and/or adversaries who are not medically savvy

12:15
Vocational Experts: Challenges and Difficulty in Finding Qualified and Newer Experts, Lack of Universal Standard for Qualifying Vocational Experts, Determining Occupational Demand and Suitability for Work, Assessment of Own Occupation, Any Occupation, Dual Occupation

Ellen Rader Smith, MA, OTR, CVE, CPE
Licensed Occupational Therapist Certified Vocational Evaluator & Certified Professional Ergonomist Ergo & Rehab Services

  • Use of depositions
  • Challenges and difficulty with vocational issues
  • What resources are most appropriately used by insurers for purposes of determining occupational demand and suitability for work
  • What affect does the insurance company reliance on DOL standards play into claims evaluation?
  • What are the standards used to define: “Own Occupation” and “Any Occupation”?
  • How to define the material duties of a claimant’s “occupation” under an “own occupation” provision
  • The latest on “true own occupation” vs. “transitional own occupation”
  • The latest issues and challenges associated with defining one’s occupation “in the national economy”
  • What is the standard to determine whether the claimant can return to work?
  • Proving the inability to return to work for the first 2 years
  • Proving the inability to work in another occupation for the next several years
  • What happens when the insured is not working at the time of disability?
  • Navigating the implications and arising challenges when there is a change of definition from “own occupation” to “any occupation”
  • How do different LTD policies define the “any occupation” standard, and what are the implications of the different definitions?
  • Defining and interpreting “gainful” employment
  • Treatment of sedentary occupations in LTD claims
  • Determining whether a claimant is constrained by financial pressures and returns to work disabled
  • Understanding the Physician-Specific classifications/standards of “Modified Own Occupation” and “Medical Occupation” – what do these classifications mean and what effect do they have on entitlement to benefits?
  • Recent litigation trend in long term disability cases involving professionals, and especially doctors
  • Tightening clauses in the policy and defining exactly the material duties of a claimant’s occupation
  • Examining the approaches taken by insurance carriers in processing/evaluating vocational reports submitted by disability claimants
  • Recent challenges arising from claimants with dual occupations

1:10
Conferences Ends; Lunch for Post-Conference Workshop Speakers and Attendees

Handling a Disability Case from Start to Finish: The Complete Guide

Feb 2, 2017 2:15pm - 4:15pm

$400

Speakers

Robert K. Scott

Law Offices of Robert K. Scott

Kristina B. Pett

Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP

What is it about?

(Registration begins at 2:00 pm; separate registration required)

This comprehensive session will introduce you to individual disability and ERISA litigation and teach you everything you need to know from start to finish about the fundamentals of handling disability insurance cases. Whether you are new to the area, have only limited experience, or just want a comprehensive refresher, this session will enable you to get the most out of the two conference days that follows. Topics to be covered include:

  • Why the determination as to whether the case falls within ERISA or not is so important, and what aspects of the litigation it directly impacts
  • Claimant side considerations
  • Defense strategies
  • Conducting a thorough investigation early on in your case
  • Preparing and drafting:
  • Understanding and strategically using the medicals in your case
  • Effective courtroom tactics and strategies

20th National Conference on Litigating Disability Insurance Claims

889L17-MIA | Conference Materials - February 2017

$199