9th Circuit Majority: Remand Necessary To Consider Unum's Conflict Of Interest

SAN FRANCISCO - In reviewing whether Unum Life Insurance Company of America abused its discretion in calculating the benefits due a claimant under a disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., a federal district court in California erred by failing to properly weigh Unum's history of biased claims administration and by failing to find that the fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege applied to documents the claimant sought to discover, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Sept. 12 (Mark Stephan v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America,  No. 10-16840, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19139).

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