Edward O. Comitz

Direct: 480.219.5436 | Fax: 480.219.5599 | ecomitz@comitzstanley.com | V-card

Ed heads the firm’s professional disability insurance  practice, and with nearly three decades of experience, he has earned a national reputation for successfully prosecuting claims based on fraud, insurance bad faith, and unfair claims practices in the professional disability insurance industry.

Ed has extensive experience securing “own-occupation” and specialty-specific disability insurance benefits for his professional clients, resolving coverage disputes, and litigating insurance bad faith cases (including successfully assisting physicians, dentists, attorneys and other professionals in reversing denials of their disability claims, principally in federal courts). He has built the only practice in the country solely dedicated to professional “own-occupation” disability insurance claims, and his extensive industry experience had garnered national acclaim for its goal-oriented, results-focused approach.

Ed initially became interested in this area of the law in the 1990’s, early on in his legal career. He became troubled by what was going on in the professional “own-occupation” disability industry at the time, and recognized that the profit-driven culture was causing professionals’ high-dollar claims to be unfairly targeted for denial or termination.

Insurers took advantage of the fact that physicians, dentists and other professionals are typically not trained in law or insurance, and that their lack of industry knowledge caused them to make mistakes and not question claims practices that fell below the standard of care. Unfortunately, the administration and termination of professional disability insurance claims remains a billion-dollar business with a skewed  focus on initial claim denials, limiting claim duration and focusing on a quick return to work.

Over the years, Ed learned everything he could about this specialized industry, the complex set of law and regulations governing claims, and how the policies issued by each carrier worked and/or should work. He then began a series of relentless, hard-fought and successful battles to protect his clients’ benefits from bad faith tactics and to keep this billion-dollar industry in check.

Ed has learned the insurance companies’ playbook. He understands how they operate, and has developed relationships and credibility with in-house counsel and senior management at the major disability companies.  Today, most professional insurance carriers “flag” the claims that Ed handles, knowing that they cannot get away with certain practices that other attorneys may not even recognize.   Ed’s meticulous, results-oriented approach has earned him the highest level of respect in this niche industry, allowing Ed a direct line of communication with most carriers’ executive management, claim department heads, and/or in-house and outside counsel.

In addition to his experience, Ed feels compassion and understanding for his clients’ medical conditions and limitations that others may not fully understand.  In  2000, Ed suffered a severe neck/spinal cord injury, and for years he was in severe, intractable pain. He went from doctor to doctor looking for answers, but his symptoms kept progressing to the point that his spinal cord was becoming more compromised.  Ed then received an emergency double discectomy and fusion to avoid the risk of paralysis.

Fortunately, the surgery was a success and Ed was able to get back to his practice, but he still has permanent limitations associated with his injury. Although this has all been difficult for Ed, he views it as a positive experience. It further solidifies his unwavering dedication to helping disabled professionals and gives him a unique, first-hand perspective on the challenges his clients face on a daily basis.

Ed understands what it feels like to face a seriously limiting condition. And he has dedicated his practice to guiding professionals through the difficult transition out of practice and protecting them from insurers’ efforts to improperly deny or terminate their claims.

Recognition

Arizona Business Magazine has recognized Ed as as one of the Top 5 Business Leaders in Arizona in the area of Healthcare, and one of the Top 500 Business Leaders in Arizona overall. Referring to the honorees, Editor-In-Chief Michael Gossie commented:  “The drivers of Arizona’s economy who are profiled … are catalysts for Arizona’s economy.  They are leaders.  They are innovators.  They have influence.  And when they speak, they make things happen.  And together, they are guiding Arizona toward greatness.”

Ed has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating  (the highest possible peer-review rating predicated upon his achievement of “professional excellence” and the “highest levels of skill and integrity”).  He is recognized as a Southwest Super Lawyer by Law and Politics, and has  been named a “Top Attorney” by Ranking Arizona (Healthcare, Commercial Litigation).  Ed has also served as an adjunct professor at ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and as a Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Memberships, Admissions and Education

Ed is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the Maricopa County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association. In addition to his pro hac vice appearances around the country, Ed is admitted to practice in the State of Arizona; and the U.S. District Court, Districts of Arizona and Colorado.  He received his B.A. in journalism, magna cum laude, from Creighton University and his J.D., cum laude, from Seattle University, where he was a Merit Scholar and Associate Editor of the Law Review.

Complex Litigation Experience

Ed has vast experience in disability insurance litigation, representing physicians, dentists, attorneys, and corporate executives in reversing denials of their disability insurance claims, and is sought out by attorneys to assist with claims/cases throughout the country.

He and his firm have also represented professional and institutional clients in complex litigation matters involving unfair business practices, business torts, class actions, fraud and securities matters. He is widely recognized as a leader in defending the rights of victims of corporate and other large-scale wrongdoing.

In prior large firm practice, Ed served as counsel and on trial teams involving several high-profile consumer protection cases, including, among many others, Grant v. Arthur Andersen, L.L.P. et al., the securities fraud and consumer class action arising out of the collapse of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. In those proceedings, class counsel and others reached settlements totaling $238 million, including a $217 million settlement with Arthur Andersen relating to its role as auditor for BFA. The $217 million settlement with Arthur Andersen is the largest settlement amount ever paid by a Big Five accounting firm not associated with the savings and loan crisis, and twice the settlement amount Arthur Andersen has ever agreed to in settlement of an auditing claim.

While associated with the international law firm, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, L.L.P. (now, Squire Patton Boggs), Ed worked as a lead attorney on multi-billion dollar antitrust litigation involving key participants in the satellite communications industry.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Ed has been widely published on professional disability insurance coverage and litigation in, among others: Physician’s Money DigestAnesthesiology NewsThe Journal of Medical Practice ManagementDentaltown, Physicians Practice, Ophthalmology Management, Doctor of Dentistry, Arizona Orthopedic Medical Association Digest, Inscriptions and AzMed (Arizona Medical Association). His article “The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make When Filing a Claim for Disability” was included in the SEAK, Inc. compilation The Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make and How to Avoid Them.

He has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer on pre-trial and trial topics for the University of Arizona College of Law and the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He is also a regular speaker for healthcare professional associations, medical and dental practices and investment groups. His previous speaking experience includes:

    • 10/24/2019: Disability Insurance Roulette with Edward O. Comitz: Howard Speaks, Podcast #1279
      Dentaltown Podcast with Howard Farran, DDS
    • 2/13/2019: What Every Physician Should Know About Disability Claims
      Doctor Money Matters Podcast
    • 10/04/2017: Disability Insurance for the Professional Athlete: Can It Protect Your Value?
      Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
    • 05/17/2017: Disability Insurance Roulette: Why is it So Hard to Collect on My Policy (2 CE credits)
      Dentaltown CE Course
    • 04/06/2017: Preserving Your Practice: How to Avoid Legal Pitfalls and Minimize Legal Risk
      (3 CE credits) Arizona Dental Association Western Regional Dental Convention
    • 04/09/2016: Legal Issues Affecting Dentists: Protecting Your Practice, Your Career and Your Reputation (3 CE credits)
      Arizona Dental Association Western Regional Dental Convention
    • 07/31/2015: All About Disability Insurance with Edward Comitz: Howard Speaks, Podcast #110
      Dentaltown Podcast with Howard Farran, DDS
    • 06/18/2015: It’s Your Dream, You’ve Got to Protect It (3 CE credits)
      Arizona Dental Association Women in Dentistry Panel Discussion (with Allison Evans & Doug Beischel, DDS)
    • 03/12/2015: Financial Planning and Disability Seminar
      San Diego Dental Society
    • 04/04/2014: Disability Insurance: Will It Be There When You Need It? Choosing Policies, Pursuing Benefits and Litigating Claims (3 CE credits)
      Arizona Dental Association Western Regional Dental Convention
    • 02/12/2013: The Importance of Advocacy in the Disability Claim Process
      Synergy Dental Study Club
    • 11/03/2012: AOTRW (Acronyms of the Regulatory World)
      Arizona Dental Association THEOS Program Panel Discussion (with Kevin Earle and Kay Carl)
    • 03/30/2012: Disability Insurance: Will It Be There When You Need It? Choosing Policies, Pursuing Benefits and Litigation Claims (3 CE credits)
      Arizona Dental Association Western Regional Convention
    • 02/05/2010: Disability Insurance and Working with Medical Professionals
      North Star Resource Group Southwest Winter Summit

Given our unique niche, and the level of knowledge and experience we have in this cottage industry, many of our clients simply refer to us as the “physicians/dentists’ disability attorneys”–and we are certainly proud of that designation.

Personal

Ed is an Arizona native, born in Tucson and living in Phoenix. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, biking and playing tennis.

Education

  • J.D., Cum Laude
    Seattle University
  • B.A., Journalism
    Magna Cum Laude
    Creighton University

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court,
    District of Arizona