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SOURCE William E. Gray
LIVONIA, Mich., June 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A former AT&T cable line installer who was unable to work following an injury expects to get justice after a U.S. federal judge ruled his employer erred in denying Long-Term benefits.
United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, Thomas L. Ludington in June 2014 approved Scott Bennetts' appeal filed by attorney William E. Gray of Livonia, denied a request for summary judgment by AT&T, and ordered the Plan Administrator to rehear the request for Long-Term Disability benefits.
In 2004 Bennetts injured his back while working as a cable line installer for AT&T and after surgery in 2005 returned to work. After suffering from pain, anxiety and depression in the succeeding years, Bennetts became unable to work in 2010 because of pain in his neck and back and applied for Short-Term Disability benefits in November 2010.
AT&T deemed Bennetts was eligible for Short-Term Disability and made payments until his benefits expired after 52 weeks. When Bennetts filed for Long-Term benefits he was denied because AT&T said he was physically able to perform as a clerk.
Gray, a workers' compensation and employment benefits specialist for Cochran, Foley & Associates, filed an appeal against the Plan Administrator's denial of Long-Term benefits with United States Federal Court in the Eastern District of Michigan.
During the hearing Gray submitted statements from more than one medical doctor that Bennetts was unable to work and was not physically able to perform the duties of a clerk, let alone a cable installer.
Gray also argued that AT&T admitted Gray was disabled when they approved Short-Term benefits and when denying Long-Term benefits had failed to present any evidence that Bennetts' condition had improved.
On June 11, 2014, U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington ruled in favor of Bennetts and after noting procedural errors in the previous denial ordered the case back to the Plan Administrator for rehearing.
In his order finding for Bennetts, Judge Ludington wrote: "There is no doubt that Bennetts suffered a neck and back injury that required two cervical fusion surgeries-indeed, the objective medical evidence shows as much. Moreover, it is clear that Bennetts suffered from subjective complaints of neck and back pain."
Gray said the ruling was a major victory that will allow Bennetts to begin to make plans for his life and to receive the rehab and treatment he needs.
"Given the very clear descriptions of errors in his order of findings for Mr. Bennetts," said Gray, "I am confident the Plan Administrator has no choice but to grant Long-Term benefits and will do so without undue delay so that justice will finally be served."
About William E. Gray:
A native of Ann Arbor, MI, William E. Gray earned his law degree in 1991 from University of Detroit-Mercy. He specializes in worker's compensation, social security disability and employment benefits law. As a staff attorney with Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C., a Michigan law firm specializing in auto accidents, personal liability, medical malpractice, worker's compensation and SSD/SSI appeals, Gray does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead represents individuals and families. www.cochranfoley.com 800-322-5543.
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