Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Akin Gump: Long Term Disability Income Plan

The following are pages 492-493 of the record on appeal in Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998):

March 23, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC 20008

Mr. Donald M. Stocks
Government of the District of Columbia
Dept. of Human Rights & Minority
   Business Development
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

    RE:  Docket No.: 92-087 P(N)
           Gary Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld

Dear Mr. Stocks:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter that I have forwarded to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards in connection with the above-referenced matter.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

March 23, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC 20008

Assistant Secretary
Office of Labor Management Standards
U.S. Department of Labor
1730 K Street, NW
Washington, DC

Dear Sir:

I am seeking your opinion regarding the propriety under ERISA of the following actions taken by my former employer, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, located at 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036.

On October 29, 1991 I was terminated for cause after my employer determined, in consultation with two mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, that I suffered from a serious mental illness that rendered my continued presence in the firm untenable. I was employed in the capacity of legal assistant (paralegal). My performance evaluations for the entire period of my employment, which lasted from June 13, 1988 until October 29, 1991, were exemplary; no written or oral reprimands were ever issued.

During my employment I was a beneficiary of the firm’s Long Term Disability Income Plan, underwritten by UNUM Life Insurance Company of America. A copy of the Plan is enclosed. My former employer’s action in terminating my employment prevented me from obtaining benefits under the Plan. The mental illness cited by my employer as justification for the termination would otherwise have rendered me eligible for benefits under the Plan. At the time of my termination I was not advised of my rights under the Plan.

On February 4, 1992 I filed a Complaint with the District of Columbia Department of Human Rights (“DOHR”) alleging that the termination was discriminatory in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977. A copy of the Complaint is enclosed together with a copy of my former employer’s Response. DOHR’s investigation of the Complaint is pending.

Was my former employer’s action in terminating my employment on the basis that I suffered from a debilitating mental illness, precluding my eligibility for benefits under the employer’s Long Term Disability Income Plan, lawful under ERISA?

I appreciate your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

Obviously, I don’t know anything about ERISA.

2 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

The following are pages 490-491 in the record on appeal in Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998):

April 1, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
Washington, DC 20008

Mr. Donald M. Stocks
Govt. of the District of Columbia
Dept. of Human Rights and Minority
Business Development
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

RE: Docket No.: 90-087-P(N)
Gary Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld

Dear Mr. Stocks:

Enclosed is a copy of a letter I recently received from the U.S. Department of Labor in connection with the above referenced matter.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

[stamped APR - 5 REC’D]

U.S. Department of Labor
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
Washington District Office
1730 K Street N.W., Suite 556
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 254-7013 Fax: (202) 254-3378

March 26, 1993

Gary Freedman
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 136
Washington, DC 20008

Re: Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld Long Term Disability Income Plan (“Plan”)

Dear Mr. Freedman

This office has received your letter in reference to the Plan. Inquiries of this nature are being handled by our Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, a special unit which provides benefit assistance. Therefore, we have forwarded a copy of your letter to that division for appropriate response. For future reference, their address is:

Division of Technical Assistance/Inquiries
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room N-5658
Washington, D.C. 20210

You will hear directly from them in the future.

Sincerely,

/s/

R.C. Marshall
District Supervisor

Gary Freedman said...

The following are pages 486-487 in the record on appeal in Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998). I obviously don't know anything about ERISA.

May 7, 1993
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW
#136
Washington, DC 20008

Mr. Donald M. Stocks
Government of the District of Columbia
Dept. Human Rights and Minority
Business Development
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

RE: Docket No. 92-087-P(N)
Gary Freedman v. Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld

Dear Mr. Stocks:

I enclose the attached letter for your information. I suspect that Akin Gump's action in terminating my employment constitutes more than simply an arguable ERISA violation; my rights under COBRA are really immaterial in my case, as the letter indicates.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

[stamped "RECEIVED MAY 10 1993 DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND MINORITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT"]

May 6, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
Washington, DC 20008

Division of Technical
Assistance/Inquiries
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Room N-5658
Washington, DC 20210

Re: Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld Long Term Disability Income Plan ("Plan")

Dear Sir:

I have been advised that the Division of Technical Assistance/Inquiries is reviewing my query regarding the Plan.

In order to assist you in your review, I would like to provide additional facts and documents.

At the time of my termination on October 29, 1991, I was not advised of my conversion privileges under the Plan. The only information and documentation I received upon termination concerned (1) conversion of the firm's group life insurance with Prudential, (2) election of continued medical coverage with Northwestern National, and (3) election of continued employee assistance program coverage.

Enclosed are all the documents my employer provided at the termination meeting on October 29, 1991.

Further, on October 29, 1991 my employer did not state as justification for the termination the fact that it had determined in consultation with two mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, that I was paranoid and potentially violent. I was apprised of this only upon my receipt on December 23, 1991 of the firm's Response to my Complaint alleging an unlawful termination filed with the D.C. Department of Human Rights. Therefore, it was 14 months after termination that I was apprised that my employer had considered me disabled. The plan requires a written notice of claim within 30 days of the date the disability starts. Even if I had converted to an individual contract, the information provided by my employer at the time of the termination would have been inadequate to alert me to file a claim under the Plan.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman