Gordon v. Deloitte & Touchie

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Insurance Law
  • Date Filed: 04-11-2014
  • Case #: 12-55114
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Sedwick for the court; Circuit Judges Reinhardt and Chisten
  • Full Text Opinion

The statute of limitations period cannot be reopened after an insurance company decided to reopen a claim because doing so would discourage any future decisions by insurance companies to reopen a claim even when the decision to do so may be warranted.

Bridget Gordon filed suit against Deloitte & Touche, LLP, which offered its employees a Group Long Term Disability Plan insured and administered by MetLife, after MetLife terminated Gordon’s benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Gordon’s benefits were terminated in January of 2003 and she failed to file an appeal of the termination within 180 days, per the policy. After Gordon filed a complaint with the California Department of Insurance, MetLife reopened Gordon’s claim for further review, and in December of 2009 MetLife decided to uphold its original decision to terminate benefits, and this action ensued. The district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and Gordon appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that, in applying California contract law four year statute of limitations, Gordon’s ability to file a claim began to run as of May 4, 2004 after the original decision of MetLife to terminate her benefits took full effect. Allowing for a limitation period to be reopened after an insurance company decided to reopen a claim would discourage a company’s decision to reopen a claim even when that decision might be warranted. Therefore, summary judgment was properly granted. AFFIRMED.

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