Sixth Circuit addresses Hartford's conduct in discontinuing benefits
In Gaeth v. Hartford Life Insurance Co., the Sixth Circuit reversed an award of attorneys fees to Mr. Gaeth. The trial court had held that Hartford acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying Gaeth's long-term disability payments based only on ten minutes of surveillance per day and without reviewing his current medical records. The appellate court agreed with this decision, however, it reversed the trial court's award of attorney fees, finding that Gaeth's action--even though it might deter similar conduct by Hartford in the future--did not qualify as one having a "common benefit" under ERISA laws. Therefore, no award of fees could be supported unless and until Gaeth proves that he remains disabled under the definitions in the policy.