Gordon & Rees Los Angeles partner Ronald K. Alberts and Seattle partner Sarah N. Turner co-authored an article published in the January DRI ERISA Report titled “The Era of De Novo Review and the Future of ERISA Discovery Beyond the Administrative Record.”
In the article, Alberts and Turner discussed how the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion in Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Glenn opened the floodgates for discovery, with plaintiffs requesting extensive written discovery and depositions from insurers related to claims handling procedures and structural and actual conflicts. “Now, with the current trend of more and more states passing laws prohibiting discretionary clauses, and courts reviewing claim administrators' decisions under the de novo standard of review, there is pressure to further expand discovery,” they wrote.
“With the growing number of states enforcing the prohibition of discretionary clauses de novo standard of review is the new reality, and claim administrators will have to address how to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests for extrinsic evidence beyond the administrative record,” Alberts and Turner noted.
Alberts heads Gordon & Rees’s national ERISA practice, combining his knowledge of ERISA substantive law and experience in state and federal trial and appellate courts to lead attorneys involved in ERISA litigation throughout the United States. His practice includes federal and state litigation of group and individual life, health and disability claims, employee benefit disputes and breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA. He also has an extensive health care practice focusing on litigation involving claims between health plans and health care providers. Alberts is rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell.
Turner focuses her practice on litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts handling employment and group and individual life, health, and disability claims in addition to breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA. Turner has successfully defended clients in lawsuits filed in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and in Washington and Oregon federal courts.
To read the DRI ERISA Report article, click here.