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The Rising Judicial Chorus: Judge Becker

It’s not just lawyers like myself, and ripped-off claimants, who are frustrated with ERISA’s patent unfairness. Many of the federal judges who are called upon to apply this unjust law have expressed their own frustration. Indeed, this outcry has been referred to more than once as the “rising judicial chorus” against ERISA and its malignant [..]

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Discretion and Its Many Abuses – Part III

Yesterday we took a look at some of the factors which help keep trustees, with all their discretionary powers, in line. First, a classic trustee has no personal interest in his decisions. Second, he is held to the “highest duty known to law” – a fiduciary duty. Third, he cannot unilaterally assume his discretionary powers; [..]

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Discretion and Its Many Abuses – Part II

Yesterday I discussed some basics about how trusts and trustees operate. Trustees have a lot of power when the trust instrument gives them discretion to apply their own judgment about what’s the best thing to do with trust property, so much power that a judge will defer to the trustee’s judgment unless an “abuse of [..]

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Discretion and Its Many Abuses – Part I

Here’s a pleasant thought experiment: imagine you are a trust-fund baby. Very rich (and dearly departed) parents have provided for you with a generous trust fund. You are set for life! The trust fund, however, is not just a pile of money you can play with at your whim. In fact, the whole point of [..]

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News from Inside the Beltway

The Washington Examiner gets it: “Most shocking to the conscience, however, might be the special protection big government provides for insurers covering patients through employer-sponsored plans: even if an insurance company’s negligent denial of coverage causes harm or death, federal law protects insurers from legal liability.” [Updated 8/20/2009 to include quote from article].

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Goofus Wins

If you are around my age you probably remember cooling your heels in the pediatrician’s waiting room (this was before ERISA so we had real insurance in those days), passing the time reading Highlights magazine. Highlights featured Goofus and Gallant, two characters depicting basic moral dichotomies. Goofus broke the rules; Gallant obeyed. But they never [..]

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There’s No Remedy if your Insurance Company Kills You

In December 1990, Rhonda Bast was diagnosed with cancer. At least she was not among the uninsured: she had health insurance, provided by her employer. When her doctor requested approval for a procedure which might save her life, Prudential Insurance Company said no. After Ms. Bast got lawyered up, Prudential changed its mind a few [..]

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Nine out of Ten!

The Wall Street Journal makes the point that “nine out of 10 people under 65 are covered by their employers.” Ninety percent of the under-65 population thinks they have insurance, except they don’t.

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We have met the enemy and it isn’t us

It is them. Write your congressman! There’s still time to have an impact and maybe get some consideration of tweaking ERISA into a health care bill. As long as the insurance industry (appropriately) is wearing the black hat now is the time to move. Especially if the public option is defeated, then we’ll need another [..]

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Your New Car

Earlier I described some of the effects ERISA has on your ability to take your insurance company to court if it wrongfully denies your claim. That may not seem like such a big deal; after all, no one plans on going (or wants to go) to court at all, and it seems way, way down [..]

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