:: Ninth Circuit Requires Application Of Normal Summary Judgment Rules In Benefits Denial Review

We conclude that a district court must apply the traditional rules of summary judgment when examining evidence outside of the administrative record in an ERISA case, including the requirement that the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. As the district court failed to apply the traditional rules of summary judgment in examining Nolan’s evidence, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Nolan v. Heald College, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 581 (January 13, 2009)

Discovery issues present one of the most interest post-Glenn arenas for disputes between disability carriers and ERISA plan participants.  In this case, the insured obtained long-term disability benefits from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife).  The Ninth Circuit found fault with the district court’s breezy evaluation of the facts in granting summary judgment to the disability carrier.