$1,000,000 – Bad Faith Denial of Disability Insurance Benefits to Schizophrenic Former Artist

Plaintiff was formerly an artist with a very successful business. He had a large, very affluent clientele who would purchase from him regularly. In approximately 1998, however, Plaintiff began suffering from debilitating hallucinations and paranoid delusions, and had recurrent suicidal ideation. By 1999, Plaintiff was diagnosed with schizophrenia. At this point, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Oregon and was taking extremely high doses of anti-psychotic medications on a daily basis. He was no longer capable of taking care of himself or of creating the art that previously made his career.

Plaintiff applied for disability benefits under the privately held disability insurance policy he held with Defendant Insurer. His application for benefits was denied in bad faith. Defendant Insurer’s reasoning for this denial was that Plaintiff was malingering. Plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against Defendant Insurer with Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, associate Jennifer Prusak’s former law firm. During the discovery phase of this litigation, Ms. Prusak, along with former colleagues, bombarded Defendant Insurer with objective medical evidence of Plaintiff’s severe mental illness and with many written opinions from his treating physicians that Plaintiff would be unable to return to work as an artist — or in any capacity — for the indefinite future.

RESULT: $1,000,000 settlement on behalf of Plaintiff