• In Cook v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 1:10-cv-11809, 2011 WL 722018 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 23, 2011), the district court denied a participant’s motion for additional discovery regarding the plan administrator’s potential bias with respect to its denial of the participant’s claim for long-term disability benefits. The participant argued that the administrator’s decision to place greater weight on its own reviewing doctor’s opinion, rather than on the participant’s treating physician’s opinion, established bias. The district court disagreed, finding that this allegation alone was insufficient to require additional discovery outside of the administrative record.
  • In Quinones v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., No. 10-cv-08444-SAS, 2011 WL 797456 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2011), plaintiff alleged that defendant wrongfully denied her claim for LTD benefits under the ERISA plan and sought discovery as to whether the review of her claim may have been tainted by a conflict of interest. In denying plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery outside the administrative record, the court noted that a plaintiff must provide specific examples from the administrative record showing that the purported conflict of interest is based on questionable incentive structures or a prior relationship between the plan administrator and plaintiff’s reviewing doctors. Here, the court found that plaintiff failed to show that there was a reasonable chance that the requested discovery could “undermine the propriety” of the administrator’s determinations because the participant only offered “conclusory statements of a conflict of interest without any specific supporting evidence of undue influence. . . .”