In Ford v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. the District Court Applied the Wrong Standard of Review

If you are eligible for benefits through your employer – life, health, disability, etc. – and you make a claim for those benefits that is denied, you have the right to file a lawsuit in federal district court. Of course, not every such lawsuit is successful. If the denial of your benefits is upheld at the district court level, you have the right to appeal that decision to a Circuit Court of Appeals.

In most cases, it is hard to convince a Circuit Court of Appeals that the district court made a mistake. Here in California, the reversal rate of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in civil cases – i.e., the percentage of cases in which the Ninth Circuit finds that a mistake has been made – is only about 15%. Because the odds are stacked against appeals at the outset, it takes the diligence and expertise of experienced attorneys to obtain a reversal.

At Kantor & Kantor, we have extensive experience at the federal appellate level and have won several significant victories. Most recently, in a case we took over from another attorney, we convinced the Ninth Circuit in Ford v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. that the district court applied the wrong standard of review to the claim of a man with a serious spinal condition whose disability benefits were terminated after they had been paid for five years. [link to decision]. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court used out-of-date cases to support its decision, and should have relied on newer cases such as Montour v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. [link to 12/10/09 blog entry].

As a result, our client has a fresh chance to have his claim considered under more modern law, which is more favorable to him and tougher on insurance companies. We hope to demonstrate that the same errors made by Hartford in the Montour case were made in our client’s case as well, resulting in a different verdict the second time around.

If you have been denied insurance benefits, please consider successes like these in deciding who should represent you in your efforts to get your benefits back. Call us at (818) 886-2525 or log on to


Contact Information