A dental hygienist from Los Angeles has just been awarded a $4.2 million settlement from a jury in her lawsuit against Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and Unum Group. The jury decided that both Paul Revere and Unum were practicing in bad faith and were in breach of their contract made with regards to the woman’s disability insurance policy.

The woman opened her policy in 1988 when she was working as a dental hygienist. In 1996 the woman was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and was experiencing severe cervical pain that began to radiate into her upper extremities, which prevented her from being able to perform the duties of her job, such as cleaning patients’ teeth. She tried to ignore the pain and work through it, but eventually, in 1999, she finally gave in and decided to file a disability insurance claim. Her policy guaranteed that she was eligible to receive disability insurance benefits for the rest of her life, even if she could some other job.

Unum approved her claim and paid the benefits. However in March 2008, her payments just stopped and Unum terminated her benefits after 12 years of paying them. The woman’s lawyers were able to prove that Unum Group abruptly canceled her benefits on March 31, 2008, and then ignored the woman’s doctor who made recommendations that supported her disability insurance claims. They also proved that Unum Group purposely refused to wait for the results of an MRI test to come in that also would have been in support of her claim before they canceled her benefits.

In the end, the plaintiff was able to prove that Unum and Paul Revere acted in bad faith. Unum was also shown misusing surveillance videos, hiring its own independent medical examiners to support its own conclusions and targeting specific claims like the plaintiffs.

The trial began on January 11, 2011.

“The Jury clearly told Unum Group that if they do not treat their policyholders fairly, and act in good faith, then they will be held accountable,” One of the woman’s attorneys said. “Justice was served today.”

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