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Client Focused. Court Room Ready.

Kantor & Kantor, LLP Lawyers Win Trial Victory

For Client Fighting Employer's Self-Funded Health Plan

Kantor & Kantor, LLP lawyers won an important trial court decision recently on behalf of our client whose employer's self-funded health plan denied medical benefits for her son. The court determined that the plan administrator had abused her discretion and violated our client's statutory rights in refusing benefits for her son's medical expenses. The court instructed the plan to process the claims in accordance with plan terms.

Martinez v. The Beverly Hills Hotels and Bungalows Employee Benefit Trust Employee Welfare Plan

Ana Martinez is employed by Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and is a covered participant in Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows' ("BHH") self-funded employee benefits plan, which refused to cover medical and nursing care for her son in a "persistent vegetative state" from injuries incurred while he was at school. His care averages $13,000 a month. A special needs trust was created following a settlement with the school.

BHH's employee benefits plan was previously funded through an insurance policy with Blue Cross. Blue Cross paid for medical care for Ana's son and never sought reimbursement from the special needs trust.

BHH ended its contract with Blue Cross and went self-funded on Jan. 1, 2008. Immediately upon becoming self-funded, the plan requested that Ana sign a "Right to Reimbursement" agreement that would permit the plan to seek reimbursement for any of her son's care from his special needs trust. BHH refused to even "process" any of Steve's claims without the reimbursement agreement signed. The court found no basis for the plan's request that Ana sign the reimbursement agreement before the plan would process medical claims.

In addition, when BHH went self-funded, the plan asserted for the first time subrogation rights. The plan alleged that the special needs trust must pay for the medical care and only when the trust funds were depleted would the plan agree to provide medical benefits. The court found that the plan's language was clear: the hotel was not entitled to subrogation rights from special needs trusts.

The court also found that the plan had a conflict of interest in that the administrator responsible for the plan finances was also the responsible for making benefit determinations. At trial, the plan administrator testified that "she put the plans interests ahead of the participants' interests," a violation of ERISA law. Plan administrators are charged with a standard of care that mandates discharge of their duties solely in the interests of plan beneficiaries.

This lawsuit is only one example of the ways benefits plans attempt to deny coverage for legitimate claims. As health insurance premiums rise, more and more employers are self-funding plans with provisions that could interrupt your benefits under previous plans or deny ongoing coverage.

If you are involved in a disability benefits dispute with your employer's self-funded plan, we can help. Contact us today. 

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Free Case Consultations Provided
  • 160+ Years' Collective Experience
  • Thousands Of Cases Successfully Handled
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Client Testimonials

  • You have restored my faith in the goodness of people!

    “Thank you Glenn for accepting my case. I had all but given up on finding an attorney that was willing to take this case, and although you may not remember, I enclosed a note to you when I sent my [ins. co.] file asking you to please help me. You did that sir, and I can't thank you enough. My thanks to you Corinne for pursuing my case with vigor. I don't know much about how these legal things are handled, but I could tell by your communications with me, making sure I was always informed, that you were on top of it all. Also, you were ALWAYS available to me to answer questions, and your compassion for me and my situation is so much appreciated. I have had limited exposure to the legal system and attorneys, but I have never been able to just call and talk to them, as I could with you. I always had to speak with someone in the office that couldn't really answer my questions. My sincerest thanks and best wishes for you both You have restored my faith in the goodness of people!”

    Dick H.

  • We will never forget the good you have done and may you continue to earn gold stars.

    “More than your skilled expertise, uncompromising professionalism and breadth of experience, we have been immensely impressed with the sincerity, generosity and integrity with which you conducted our affairs, acted on our behalf and guided us through the sometimes confusing process. Throughout, we developed a great respect for all of you and it is our wish that both collectively and individually, you experience continued professional success and personal gratification in all that you pursue. We will never forget the good you have done and may you continue to earn gold stars.”

    Lalida C.

  • Thank you for being lawyers with a heart.

    “Thank you for being lawyers with a heart.”

    Miriam T.

  • I am so grateful for all your efforts and I'm sure glad you were on my side fighting for me.

    “Dear Alan - I just wanted to send you a special note of thanks for all your hard work on behalf of me and my case. I am so grateful for all your efforts and I'm sure glad you were on my side fighting for me.”

    Tracy R.

  • Thank God for Kantor & Kantor.

    “Thank God for Kantor & Kantor and Denise Anderson. I appreciate everything you do!”

    Stephen Schaffer