Woman Says Kaiser, Metropolitan Denies Her Disability
4-22-2013 22:39:00

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A Kaiser disability plan insured by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company refuses to provide benefits to a woman whose disease prevents her from working and, sometimes, even caring for herself, she claims in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Paramjot Sandhu worked for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. as a quality specialist before developing bilateral Meniere’s Disease, an inner-ear condition marked by vertigo, severe migraines, hearing loss and other symptoms, the complaint says. The disease has made it impossible for her to complete routine daily tasks and, at times, care for herself, much less drive a car or sit in front of a computer, Sanhu says in her complaint.

The complaint adds that Sandhu is sometimes limited to sitting in a quiet place, in the dark, while she suffers through migraine attacks.

“Plaintiff’s doctor has restricted her from working or operating a motor vehicle for her own safety and the safety of others. Unfortunately, because plaintiff’s condition is bilateral, she is not a candidate for surgical treatment of the disease because such treatment would likely render her completely deaf,” the complaint states.

Sandhu has not worked since July 2011 as a result. Although she was successful in obtaining short-term disability benefits from Kaiser and the state of California, getting long-term benefits has proven impossible, with Metropolitan denying her claim and consequent appeals, Sandhu says in her complaint.

Sandhu is suing under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and wants a court to order defendants to pay her long-term disability benefits.

James P. Keenley and Emily A. Bolt, of Bolt Keenley in Berkely, represent the plaintiff.