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[APPEALS] The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company v. Beverly M. Kennedy, 20A-PL-837

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 1:00pm to 1:40pm

[APPEALS] The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company v. Beverly M. Kennedy, 20A-PL-837
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This case involves the interpretation of several provisions of a long-term disability insurance policy issued by Lincoln National Life Insurance Company which Beverly Kennedy received as part of her compensation through her employment at the University of Louisville.  Kennedy applied for benefits under the Policy which, after an initial denial, Lincoln National paid to settle a lawsuit brought by Kennedy.  Kennedy also applied for and received social security disability benefits (SSDBs).  Kennedy’s Medicare Part D insurance premiums were deducted from her SSDBs, reducing the amount she actually received in SSDBs per month.  Lincoln National sought to offset Kennedy’s Policy benefits by the amount she received in SSDBs.  Kennedy disputed Lincoln National’s right to offset her Policy benefits, and Lincoln National brought a complaint for declaratory judgment to determine its rights under the Policy.  Kennedy filed counterclaims on behalf of herself and a putative class, raising breach of contract and tort claims.  Lincoln National moved for summary judgment.  The trial court awarded partial summary judgment to each party.  Lincoln National appealed, and Kennedy cross-appealed. 

The parties present this court with the following issues pertaining to the Policy, which is governed by Kentucky law:

  • Whether the Policy’s discretionary clause applies such that this court will review Lincoln National’s interpretation of the Policy only for reasonableness;
  • Whether Lincoln National may offset Kennedy’s SSDBs because they are the result of the “same Disability” for which she received Policy benefits; and
  • Whether the Policy’s provision that Lincoln National may offset SSDBs for which an insured “is eligible” allows the company to offset the amount of Kennedy’s gross SSDB benefit before her Medicare premiums are deducted.

The scheduled panel members are Judges Najam, Riley, and Crone,

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