United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
OPINION & ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on plaintiff Susan Card's
motion to enforce a document subpoena (DE 55), motion to stay
(DE 56), and motions for extension of time (DE 60; DE 62).
For the following reasons, Card's motion to enforce is
DENIED, her motion to stay is GRANTED, and motions for
extension of time are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
brought suit against Principal Life Insurance Company under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known
simply as ERISA. See 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et
seq. Card argues that Principal improperly denied her
claim for disability benefits and that Principal operated
“under an inherent and structural conflict of interest
because any disability benefits provided to Ms. Card are paid
from Principal's assets.” (DE 3, Amended Compl.
¶¶ 14, 16).
in this case has been contentious, and Card's present
motions have been no exception. First, Card seeks to enforce
a subpoena directed to MES Peer Review Services,
vendor for Principal. (DE 55). Second, Card asks the Court
for a stay while the subpoena issue is being resolved (DE
56). Third, Card has twice requested more time to file her
motion for summary judgment. (DE 60; DE 62).
Motion to enforce the third-party subpoena
preliminary matter, the Court will note that its review in an
ERISA case is normally limited to the administrative record.
See Wilkins v. Baptist Healthcare Sys., Inc., 150
F.3d 609, 615 (6th Cir. 1998). Yet, the Supreme Court has
opened the door for discovery in some ERISA cases when the
decision maker operates under an inherent conflict of
interest. See Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Glenn, 554
U.S. 105, 108 (2008). Still, the amount of discovery the
Court will permit in an ERISA case is narrow.
Mullins v. Prudential Insurance Co. of America, the
Western District of Kentucky delineated these
“permitted areas of inquiry”:
• incentive, bonus, or reward programs or systems,
formal or informal, for any employee(s) involved in any
meaningful way in reviewing disability claims;
• contractual connections between plan
administrator/payor and the reviewers used in plaintiffs
claim and financial payments paid annually to the reviewers
from the administrator/payor;
• statistical data regarding the number of claims files
sent to the reviewers and the number of denials that
• number of times the reviewers found claimants able to
work in at least a sedentary occupation or found that
claimants were not disabled; and
• documentation of administrative processes designed
only to check the accuracy of grants of claims (limited to
claims guidelines actually consulted ...