Willick v. Continental Casualty
Ruth Willick was disabled due to a psychiatric condition. But when she submitted her claim to the Continental Casualty Company (which had been taken over by Hartford), the insurer kept looking for some reason to deny her benefits. Initially, the insurer denied benefits because–based on a "file review" by a physician who had never treated, examined, or even met Ms. Willick–it contended she wasn’t disabled.
When Ms. Willick appealed this decision with substantial new evidence of disability, Hartford turned to a company which calls itself University Disability Consortium (UDC). In spite of its name, UDC isn’t associated with an actual University, rather it appears to exist to give insurance companies cover to deny disability claims. Ms. Willick’s medical records were reviewed by two UDC physicians (one of whom pretended to be–but was not–board certified).
The evidence of disability was so compelling that not even these tame physicians could dispute it. However UDC’s physician cherry-picked the record and found a couple of treatment notes saying that Ms. Willick was improving or her mood was temporarily better. Hartford relied on these two notes–neither of which was from Ms. Willick’s treating psychiatrist–and claimed that Ms. Willick had recovered before any benefits were due.
When we took Hartford and Continental Casualty to Court, Judge King was not impressed. Here is Judge King’s Opinion giving judgment to Ruth Willick.