Dental Hygienist Awarded $4.2 Million in Disability Insurance Lawsuit Against Unum

A jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court has awarded dental hygienist Laura Kieffer $4.2 million in damages against Unum Group for wrongfully terminating her disability benefits.   Ms. Kieffer purchased her individual disability insurance policy from Paul Revere in 1988.  In 1996, she developed disabling conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome and severe cervical pain.  By 1999, she had to stop working.  After paying her disability benefits for nearly ten years, Unum terminated her claim despite recommendations from Ms. Kieffer’s treating physician.

Ms. Kieffer sued for breach of contract, insurance bad faith, and for punitive damages.  The $4.2 million jury verdict included compensatory and punitive damages.

Update (April 18, 2011):  The Los Angeles Superior Court upheld the 4.2 million verdict and denied Unum’s motion for a new trial.