Pilot Claims Aetna is in Violation of ERISA

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Bryan C. Trujillo, a commercial aircraft pilot, filed suit against Aetna (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 3:17-cv-04017-JSC). Trujillo alleges that Aetna is in breach of contract and that they violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The original complaint was filed on July 17th in U.S. District court for the Northern District of California.

Definitions to Know:

ERISA: ERISA refers to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Shortened to ERISA, the Act is a federal law that sets the minimum standards for voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industries. It is designed to provide protection for individuals in the voluntary pension and health plans from unfair or unethical behaviors that could be detrimental to plan members.

Allegation: In the legal world, an allegation is a formal claim against another individual, group or institution.

Trujillo, Plaintiff, listed Aetna Life Insurance Company as the Defendant in the case. Allegations against the Defendant included wrongfully denying a claim for disability benefits submitted by Trujillo. Trujillo described the events in the original complaint, stating that he worked as a commercial aircraft pilot for Federal Express. While working for the major shipping conglomerate, Trujillo became disabled. Trujillo was suffering from severe obstructive sleep apnea and a sleep-wake schedule disorder. When the issues arose, Trujillo applied for benefits expecting to be able to resolve the issue, but he was denied.

Trujillo alleges that Aetna Life wrongfully refused his claims – refusing to provide the needed ongoing disability benefits despite the fact that Trujillo provided the required proof of his disability to the company.

Trujillo hopes to obtain the needed benefits plus interest, statutory penalties, legal fees and any other relief that the court deems appropriate.

If you have questions or concerns regarding ERISA, how it applies to you or what protections it offers you in connection to our voluntary pension or health plan, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.