Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dragus v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

February 14, 2018

John Dragus, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued November 28, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 C 9135 - Marvin E. Aspen, Judge.

          Before BAUER, ROVNER, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

          BAUER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff-appellant, John Dragus, brought suit against defendant-appellee, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company ("Reliance"), under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for denial of long-term disability ("LTD") benefits. After the district court denied Dragus' request for discovery outside the claim file record, both parties moved for summary judgment. Before the court ruled, Dragus filed a motion to supplement the claim record with a fully favorable Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") decision. The district court denied the motion to supplement and granted summary judgment in favor of Reliance. Dragus now appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Dragus worked as an Internet Sales Manager for SMG/McCormick Place ("SMG"), a private venue-management firm that manages events at Chicago's McCormick Place and Navy Pier. As an Internet Sales Manager, Dragus managed and coordinated all information technology and telecommunication needs for individual vendors at conventions and meetings.

         Dragus experienced severe neck pain for several years leading up to his claim for LTD benefits. In 2011, he underwent a three-level cervical spine fusion, but the surgery failed to resolve his pain and Dragus struggled to meet the demands of his job. Over the next two years, Dragus underwent numerous treatments to deal with the pain through physical therapy, steroid injections, and a rhizotomoy-a surgical procedure that severs nerve roots in the spinal cord through the use of an electrified probe. Physicians also prescribed Norco, a pain medication, which caused memory impairment and hand tremors.

         In June 2013, when all of these treatments failed, Dragus went on short-term disability to participate in a two-month, full-time pain management program. After completing the program, Dragus returned to work full-time. Within two months of his return, the pain issues returned, resulting in excessive absences from work. On February 7, 2014, SMG reprimanded him and informed him that any future absences would require a physician's excuse.

         On April 4, 2014, Reliance received Dragus' LTD benefits claim. The Group Policy describes the coverage provided as follows:

         INSURING CLAUSE: We will pay a Monthly Benefit if an Insured:

1) Is Totally Disabled as the result of a Sickness of Injury covered by this Policy;
2) Is under the regular care of a Physician;
3) Has completed the Elimination Period; and
4) Submits satisfactory proof of Total ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.