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Surveillance tapes not "substantial" evidence

From the Nov. 1 issue of The Voice, published by the Defense Research Institute, comes this news item by Lisa A. Coppola:

Disability insurers in New York State may wish to think carefully about the use of surveillance when rendering benefits determinations. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York recently held that an insurer�s reliance on surveillance was not enough to deny benefits....

Glockson was drawing benefits from a disability policy premised on her inability to hold down even part-time work. Although a medical examiner had backed up her claim, the insurer "conducted surveillance, finding the plaintiff running errands, having lunch with friends, walking around town, and carrying small packages for up to five hours at a time." Presented with the new footage, the physician changed his mind about her ability to work. The court, however, "found that the video did not constitute substantial evidence" in support of the denial. "In light of this decision, insurers doing business in New York should be careful to not rely solely on surveillance as objective evidence supporting a denial of disability benefits." The case is Glockson v. First Unum Life Ins. Co., 7:04-CV-838, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47613 (N.D.N.Y. July 6, 2006).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.