In Majeski v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals admitted that it “is still pondering . . . just how to consider a plan administrator’s conflict of interest.” 2009 WL 5088720 (7th Cir. Dec. 29, 2009) (emphasis in original). The court continued to reject a blanket rule that would force a reviewing court to weigh conflict in every case, instead opting for a case-by-case inquiry that weighs conflict only if it is relevant based on its gravity. “Gravity” of conflict might be discerned from the reasonableness of the claim procedures, the safeguards implemented to minimize the conflict and the “terms of employment” of the decision-maker’s staff, the court suggested. The court rejected that the conflict inquiry warranted admission of evidence outside of the administrative record, such as deposition testimony regarding a consulting physician’s bias or a post-record Social Security award:
[N]o credible reading of Glenn would require a plan administrator to reopen a closed appeal and consider a later Social Security award simply so that a reviewing court has a more complete record under which to examine the plan administrator’s conflict of interest. In short, nothing that we see in Glenn supports Majeski’s contention that MetLife must allow her to supplement the administrative record without limit, even if she is offering evidence of a reviewing doctor’s bias.
Despite rejecting Majeski’s arguments for heightened review and broadened scope of evidence, the Seventh Circuit did find problems in Met Life’s claims procedures and it remanded the case back to Met Life for further review.