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Former legal secretary says firm reneged on disability payments

by on
in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

A legal secretary who formerly worked for the law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew recently filed a motion for summary judgment on her claim that the intellectual property firm owes her money under a long-term disability claim regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Linda Burgess filed the motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asking the court to order the fiduciary of Townsend’s long-term disability plan to pay a disability claim totaling more than $300,000, which it stopped paying three years ago.

Burgess, who claims she has suffered from fibromyalgia for 20 years, was approved for long-term disability benefits under the plan between October and November of 2005 to recover from foot surgery. Burgess says she continues to experience pain from the surgery, which coupled with her chronic condition makes her unable to work.

As a result, Burgess appealed the termination date of her benefits, but was denied. Townsend and insurance carrier Prudential argue that Burgess failed to meet the requirements for benefits under the plan terms.

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