An Interesting New ERISA Decision

Judge Woodlock of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued a comprehensive 42 page summary judgment opinion concerning a challenge to the denial of benefits under an ERISA governed plan. The opinion, Kansky v. Aetna Life Insurance Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises, available on the court's website at http://pacer.mad.uscourts.gov/dc/cgi-bin/recentops.pl?filename=woodlock/pdf/kansky%20may%201%202006.pdf, surveys a number of issues, ranging from conflict of interests and their impact on the standard of review to penalties for failing to produce requested plan documents. At its heart, however, is the issue of when a preexisting condition restriction in a plan can be invoked to deny benefits.

Full disclosure and self-congratulatory note: I represented all of the prevailing parties in the case.