Seventh Circuit ERISA Appeals & Litigation
Serving Illinois, Indiana & Wisconsin
At ERISA Law Center, we protect the rights of short and long term disability and life insurance claimants and beneficiaries as set forth by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). If you live in Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin - or if your employer is based out of one of these states - we can represent your interests in the Seventh Circuit. This is the U.S. Court of Appeals that handles ERISA cases for these three states. Because our lawyer focuses exclusively on ERISA claims and litigation, we can offer detailed insight on how the Seventh Circuit may handle your case.
De Novo ERISA Claim Reviews
The Seventh Circuit is noteworthy for having the most favorable case law for adjudicating a claim when a review is de novo, meaning the court weighs the evidence without taking the insurance company's or plan's decision into account. In every other circuit, even when a review is de novo discovery of evidence outside of the administrative record is limited or non-existent. In the Seventh Circuit, however, "Ade novo" means de novo: the claimants may conduct extensive discovery as to the facts and may get to present new evidence on the merits at trial.
While most plans and policies reserve discretion and thus do not provide for de novo review, Illinois insurance law, which has been to date held saved-from-preemption by ERISA, bars application of discretionary clauses as to most insured claims arising in Illinois. This means that insured claims adjudicated in Illinois usually apply as de novo review and therefore usually entitle the claimant to very broad discovery. This is very important to winning claims because insurance company doctors commonly provide reviews and reports laced was factual errors and medical omissions. In most cases, the claimant has no right to examine, depose, or cross-examine the insurance company doctors. However, Seventh Circuit de novo reviews typically allow a claimant attorney to depose and cross-examine the insurance company doctors and expose their errors and omissions in their reasoning - a great asset to the presentation of the claim.