SF Judge Rips Disability Insurance CompanyNov 15, 2002 | AP
A federal judge in San Francisco has issued a rebuke to the nation's largest disability insurance firm.
In a 62-page verdict issued this week, Magistrate Judge James Larson ruled that a predecessor of UnumProvident violated the state's Unfair Competition Act.
Larson said Paul Revere Life Insurance now owned by giant UnumProvident of Tennessee acted in bad faith in denying a disability claim by Joan Hangarter.
Hangarter is a Berkeley chiropractor who had to stop practicing because of back and arm pain.
In February, a jury awarded Hangarter almost eight (m) million dollars for past and future benefits, emotional distress, attorney's fees and punitive damages.
Larson upheld that verdict -- and ordered the company to obey the law.
Hangarter's attorney, Ray Boursis, said UnumProvident tried to increase profits by systematically denying some disability claims.
The insurer denied the charge.