The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Cathy Bissoon
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Connie B. Hoeke's Motion to Remand (Doc. 23). For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion.
In this Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") case, Plaintiff Connie B. Hoeke seeks recovery of long term disability benefits from Defendant Companion Life Insurance Company. On September 22, 2008, Plaintiff submitted her claim for long term disability benefits to Defendant. In order to determine Plaintiff's eligibility for benefits, Defendant, on February 17, 2009, requested from Plaintiff her payroll records from December 1, 2003, to the present. CLI0122.*fn1 On March 11, 2009, Defendant again requested payroll records and added a request for attendance records for the same time period. CLI0093.*fn2 On March 25, 2009, Defendant denied Plaintiff's claim due to a lack of information regarding Plaintiff's payroll and attendance records. CLI0085-90. In a letter, Defendant explained to Plaintiff:
The lack of eligibility information hindered our ability to determine your eligibility for Long Term Disability coverage, outlined in the policy. Because of this, your LTD benefits must be denied.
This determination is based on a lack of sufficient proof of loss required to enable us to evaluate your eligibility. You may perfect your claim by providing the necessary information, or, if you disagree, you may appeal our decision without providing the information.
If you wish to perfect your claim, please submit the required information to my attention. We will review the information and advise you of our decision regarding our claim determination.
The following information, not previously submitted, is necessary for a determination of your claim. Specifically, you should send payroll and attendance records from December 1, 2003 to the present time. That information is necessary to determine your eligibility under the Policy. If you would like this information considered, we must receive it as soon as possible. Please send it to the claim office at the address shown on this letterhead.
If you are unable to or do not wish to provide the requested information, you may submit and appeal of our decision to the Appeal Unit.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") gives you the right to appeal our decision and receive a full and fair review. You may appeal our decision even if you do not have new information to send to us. . . . If you do not agree with our denial, in whole or in part, and you wish to appeal our decision, your or your authorized representative must write to us within one hundred eighty (180) days from the receipt of this letter.
Plaintiff never sent the requested payroll and attendance records to Defendant, and did not appeal the denial of her claim. Plaintiff initiated this action on June 20, 2011. See Compl. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiff now seeks remand to the plan administrator so that she may supplement the administrative record with the previously requested payroll and attendance records. According to Plaintiff, she previously was unable to collect the requested information due to the large amount of information requested and the nature of her alleged disability, severe major ...