Bilyeu v. Morgan Stanley Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 10-16070 (9th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of her claim challenging the termination of her long-term disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1132. Plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Unum on it's counterclaim for restitution of overpaid benefits. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by dismissing the claim for denial of benefits for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The exhaustion requirement should have been excused because plaintiff acted reasonably in light of Unum's ambiguous communications and failure to engage in a meaningful dialogue. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment in favor of Unum on plaintiff's claim for denial of benefits.