Gruber v. Unum (Maryland)

Click to access gruber0402.pdf

The same psychologist later responded to a UNUM questionnaire, in which he noted that the “causation or precipitating factors” leading to Plaintiff’s psychological symptoms were: “history of lupus, aggravated by stress, neck injury, low immunity.” An April, 1995, report from Plaintiff’s rheumatologist diagnosed Plaintiff with lupus, fatigue, and depression. A July, 1996 report diagnosed Plaintiff with “lupus, arthralgias, headaches, spine, depression, and fatigue;” a secondary condition of “depression” was also identified…

Internal UNUM staff notes and memoranda throughout the administrative record identify Plaintiff’s disability only as major depression, depression, or depression and post-traumatic stress disorder… At no time does UNUM categorize Plaintiff’s disability as “medical.”

Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §1132 (Count I), breach of contract (Count II), and breach of fiduciary duty (Count III)…

I’ve only reviewed parts of my Unum file, but I’ve noticed that Unum doesn’t like to list TMJ and degenerative disk disease as part of my disability — although it does, but usually close to the end of the list.  “Mental” conditions are usually at the beginning of the list, like depression and anxiety.

The order of the list puts more emphasis and importance on the items at the beginning, so that it looks like most of my symptoms are psychiatric.  And I’m guessing that Unum thinks including chronic pain in this list — usually before and after mental conditions — also makes pain look more like a a mental condition, like this:

Depression, chronic pain, panic attacks, fibromyalgia, TMJ…

It’s kinda like capitalizing certain terms to make them look more important — like some anti-drug advocates capitalize the words “heroin” and “god.”

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