Ex-Dickstein Shapiro Attorney Wins Fees in Unum’s Disability Claim

A former Dickstein Shapiro LLP attorney won $416,749 in attorneys’ fees after he successfully sued. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America for disability benefits.

Judge Marco A. Hernandez given Alison Gary received about 60% of her attorney’s claim after deducting more than 260 billable hours due to the amount of time spent writing her claim and preparing her application. He also reduced the award fee by 10% based on the difference between the requested fees—more than $680,000—and Gary’s entire judgment. is $431,647.

However, Hernández confirmed the hourly rates charged by Gary’s attorneys, three of whom requested at least $540 an hour. These rates fall between the 75th and 95th percentiles for experienced attorneys in private practice in Portland, Ore., which the judge found reasonable because the attorneys were “experienced and demonstrating expertise in ERISA and the appeals process.”

Gary sued Unum in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2017, accusing the insurer of wrongfully denying his claim for disability benefits based on his Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and others. neurological disorders he said prevented him from practicing as a lawyer.

After that denial Gary asked to remain anonymous for fear of harming his employment opportunities, Hernández said owned Unum failed to provide a complete and reasonable evaluation of Gary’s claim. He allowed Gary to provide additional medical evidence, but later found he did not have enough evidence to support his claim of disability under the Employee Income Security Act.

Gary appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived he cried. According to the appeals court, Hernández should have been more skeptical of Unum’s decision-making, given its reliance on select witnesses and the inability to consult with a specialist in his unusual condition. , which affects the skin, joints, and blood. protection.

The matter returned to Hernández, who took over for Gary in 2021.

Harrang Long PC on behalf of Gary. Kilmer Voorhees & Laurick PC represented Unum.

The subject b Gary v. Unum Life Ins. Co. Am.2023 BL 14032, D. Or., No. 3:17-cv-01414, 1/17/23.

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