Bamforth v. Frontier Communications

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Insurance Law

New York Law Journal

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District Judge Glenn Suddaby

Frontier employed Bamforth as a phone directory clerk. Through defendant Prudential, it provided group disability insurance coverage to its employees, including Bamforth, who was issued a disability policy under the Frontier Communications Disability Plan. Defendant Prudential awarded Bamforth short-term disability benefits but, several months later, both Prudential and Frontier arbitrarily denied her claim for short-term disability and disallowed her claim for long-term benefits. In addition, Frontier refused to provide Bamforth with a complete copy of her short-term and long-term disability claim file. Bamforth claimed that defendants violated her rights under ERISA 510 by discriminating against her for asserting her right to disability benefits under the plan. Prudential argued that there was no plausible claim for discrimination under ERISA 510 since that claim is based on Prudential's allegedly wrongful disclosure of Bamforth's confidential health information to Frontier and because that disclosure was not in fact wrongful. The court dismissed this cause of action, noting that the complaint failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that Prudential had the power to discharge, fine, suspend, expel or discipline Bamforth.

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