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Kennedy v. Life Insurance Company of North America

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

June 23, 2017

WILLIAM KENNEDY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District Court

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff William Kennedy to strike the declaration of Richard Lodi (“the Lodi declaration”), ECF No. 32. Defendant Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) responded, ECF No. 33. Kennedy replied, ECF No. 36. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny Kennedy's motion to strike.

         II. Background

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         Kennedy was an insured under a long term disability policy that LINA had issued to his employer. Compl. ¶¶ 6-8, ECF No. 1. Kennedy stopped working in August 2012 because of limitations caused by his disabling conditions and corresponding treatments. Id. ¶ 9. After ceasing work, Kennedy remained continuously disabled. Id. ¶ 10. He was unable to participate in any gainful employment. Id.

         Kennedy submitted a disability claim to LINA for short term and long term disability benefits using the insurance company's standardized disability claim form, which was entitled “Report of Claim.” Id. ¶¶ 11-12.

         LINA denied Kennedy's claim for short term disability benefits. Id. ¶ 13. It did not issue a decision for his application for long term disability benefits. Id. ¶ 14. LINA's internal administrative policy required it to process Kennedy's long term disability benefits claim, even though it had denied his claim for short term disability benefits. Id. ¶ 15.

         Kennedy wrote to LINA after it had failed to issue a decision on his claim for long term disability benefits. Id. ¶ 17. In the letter, he requested that LINA (1) provide a copy of the claim that would have confirmed that it had reviewed his long term disability claim, (2) confirm that he had exhausted his short term and long term disability claims, or (3) process his letter as a claim for long term disability benefits and render a decision. Id. LINA did not respond to Kennedy's letter. Id. ¶ 18. When LINA failed to respond to the letter, Kennedy again wrote to the insurance company and reiterated his request. Id. ¶ 19. LINA again failed to respond. Id. ¶ 20.

         Kennedy filed suit in this Court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(1)(B) and 1132(a)(3). Id. ¶ 27. He seeks to enforce the contractual terms of his disability policy, to obtain past benefits, to receive reinstatement for payment of future benefits, to obtain declaratory relief, and to obtain other equitable relief, including surcharge. Id. He also seeks attorney fees and costs under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g). Id. ¶¶ 28-29.

         B. The Lodi Declaration

         LINA has moved for summary judgment on Kennedy's claims. Mot. Summ. J. 1, ECF. No. 28. The motion for summary judgment is still pending. Id. In support of its motion for summary judgment, LINA attached the Lodi declaration. Lodi Decl., ECF No. 28-2. In the declaration, Lodi states that he is a senior operations representative who maintains custody and access to records pertaining to LINA's short term disability benefits. Id. ¶ 1. He explains LINA's claim procedures. Id. ¶¶ 2-5. He further affirms that LINA never received a request for an appeal of its denial of Kennedy's short term or long term disability benefits. Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Lodi further maintains that LINA did not receive a proof of loss within the time allotted for filing a proof of claim, never received satisfactory proof of loss, and never received a request for appeal of the denial of a long term benefit claim. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Finally, Lodi affirms that LINA has not paid any short term or long term disability benefits related to a claim that Kennedy became disabled on August 18, 2012. Id. ¶ 10.

         III. Discussion

         Kennedy now moves to strike the Lodi declaration.[1] Mot. Strike 1, ECF No. 32. Kennedy asserts that the Court should not consider the Lodi declaration because its review of the denial of ERISA benefits is limited to the administrative record. Id. at 1-3. LINA argues in opposition that failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense that is properly raised on a motion for summary judgment and that declarations may be submitted in support of a motion for ...


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