Woman with spinal condition sues Aetna Life Insurance, claiming ERISA violation

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Aug 5, 2018

LOS ANGELES — A woman claims that Aetna Life Insurance denied her long-term disability payments for an impaired lumbar spine, in violation of ERISA.

LOS ANGELES — A plan beneficiary is suing Aetna Life Insurance Co., Computer Sciences Corporation Long Term Disability Plan and Does 1-10, insurer, citing alleged violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Chrystal Smith filed a complaint on July 30, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, against the defendants alleging that they violated ERISA through non-payment of plan benefits.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on May 1, 2018, she suffered economic damages from defendant's decision to deny her long-term disability benefits without reasonable grounds, and despite plaintiff remaining disabled to date as defined by the plan and confirmed by her orthopedic surgeon with evidence of an electrical study showing lumbar spine impairment and continued pain. 

The plaintiff holds Aetna Life Insurance Co., Computer Sciences Corporation Long Term Disability Plan and Does 1-10 responsible, because the defendants allegedly failed to pay disability benefit payments to plaintiff, failed to consider plaintiff's medical records and clear opinions of her physicians, and failed to provide a full and fair review of plaintiff’s claim due to conflict of duties as claims administrator and as funding source.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against defendants for damages for breach of plan, interest, attorneys' fees, costs, and further relief as the court deems just. She is represented by Kevin M. Zietz of Law Offices of Kevin M. Zietz PC in Encino and Todd Krauss of Law Offices of Todd Krauss APC in Encino.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Case number 18-cv-06553

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