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Sixth Circuit reverses insurance plan's denial of LTD benefits

In Shaw v. A T & T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 1, the federal appellate court reversed a lower court's ruling upholding the denial of Long Term Disability benefits to an employee with objectively-demonstrable spinal cord problems.  The high court held that the plan administrator's denial of LTD benefits was "arbitrary and capricious" and therefore not enforceable because it ignored favorable evidence of a need for surgery, failed to conduct its own examination of the employee, and relied heavily on non-treating physicians who disputed the objective findings and opinions of treating specialists.

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