The Fleishman ERISA Law Firm

21243 Ventura Blvd., Suite 141, Woodland Hills, California 91364
phone (818)805-3161   fax (818)805-3163
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It starts when your employee benefits are denied.

As more and more people become dependent on the health, disability, and life insurance that is provided through their employment, more and more people will have their disability, health, and life insurance benefits denied them.  Many will walk away from the denial and never challenge it.  Others will seek the advise of lawyers that do not realize that the matter is governed by a Federal law known as ERISA or, if they know about ERISA, they do not fully understand how it works. 

We are experienced ERISA lawyers dedicated to representing people who have been denied employee benefits under their employer's ERISA disability, ERISA health insurance, ERISA life insurance or severance benefit plans.  We differ from other law firms practicing ERISA law in several crucial ways:

1. All we do is ERISA benefits law. We don't do bad faith insurance claims, social security claims, elder law, or any other kind of law.
2. We don't practice ERISA benefits law, we make ERISA law. Just about every brief seeking disability or health benefits filed in the courts of the Ninth Circuit cites at least one of our cases. Almost every decision from those courts cites to at least one of our cases. We are at the cutting edge of ERISA. What that means to you is that we are willing to go the extra mile, to argue that new theory so that you can get the benefits you need and disserve.
3. We do not employ law clerks or paralegals. We do all the work, from handling your appeal, legal research, writing the briefs, and arguing in the courts. We do it ourselves so that we know it's done right.
4. Your case is handled by one of us alone; the same lawyer does all the work regarding your claim from the moment you hire us until the moment your claim is finally resolved. The lawyer dedicated to your claim, either Chuck or Paul, is available to answer your questions and always returns telephone calls.
5. Finally, our pricing usually results in you paying us nothing or very close to it. We never seek a fee for future benefits we may get for you. Our fee, in most cases, is paid by the ERISA plan that has wrongly denied you your benefits. If we are not successful, since we work on a contingence arrangement, you owe us nothing other than costs. We have specialized in ERISA benefits law since 1990. 

We have never represented an insurance company, employer, union, or employee benefit plan against a working person denied his/her employee benefits.  We have the experience, knowledge, desire, and confidence that you need to win if you have been denied employee benefits.

ERISA is an uncommon field of law and most lawyers do not know how it works or what is needed to prevail on behalf of a client.  If you have been told by other lawyers that your claim is meritless, unwinable, or not worth enough money, the odds are that they are wrong.  If you think that your employer or the insurance company has cheated you, you are probably right.  Don't give up!  Fight back!  Don't walk away from your claim without giving us a chance to help you.

Contact us for a free consultation.  Regardless of what other attorneys have told you, your claim is probably worth more than enough for us to help you.  We will handle your case on either a contingency or hourly basis; the choice is usually yours.

So, what is ERISA?

If you are entitled to disability, health, life insurance, pension, severance, or almost any other type of benefit because of your employment or union membership, your rights to those benefits are governed by a federal statute entitled the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 -- ERISA.

Many employers set up employee benefits plans that provide benefits to employees in the form of disability insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, severance benefits and pensions. These employee benefits are funded either through the purchase of insurance policies or through the establishment of trusts, paid for by the employer or both the employer and the employee.  If a trust is established and too much money is paid out in employee benefits, the employer has to replace the missing money.  Successful claims by employees diminish the trust's money and, if there is an insurance company involved, cause a loss of profit to the insurance company. 
This is where ERISA comes in.  ERISA is perhaps the biggest con job affecting the American worker since the Great Depression.  ERISA, in the guise of protecting the worker's rights to benefits, replaced all state laws that effectively did the job before 1974.  Under the laws of most states, a wrongful denial of benefits can result in a jury verdict awarding an employee the denied benefits, damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages.  Under ERISA, there is no right to a jury trial, and the most that an employee who has been wrongly denied benefits can receive are the benefits that were denied.  What has an insurance company or employee benefit trust got to lose from denying a claim?  If they are sued, the most they can lose is what they would have had to pay in the first place.  Prior to ERISA, an insurance company had to think long and hard before denying benefits because of the possibility of emotional distress and punitive damages. Now, because of ERISA, a denial is a no brainier.  There is nothing to lose!
As if to further encourage the practice of denying employee benefit claims, ERISA says that, in most cases, the insurance company's or employee benefit trust's decision to deny benefits will not be overturned, even if wrong, unless it can be shown to be arbitrary and capricious.
If you are about to apply for benefits under an employee benefit plan or have already applied for such benefits and have had them denied, be aware that your are either entering or already in the middle of a legal mine field.  At risk are important benefits that you worked for and that your future may depend on.  If you do not wish to walk the mine field alone, contact us. We have been doing ERISA work for many years.
If you have a claim, we will represent you, in most cases, on a contingency fee basis.  We know the traps, the pitfalls, the deadlines, and the strategies that you need to be successful.  The sooner into the benefit claim process that you get to us, the better chance you have for a successful outcome.  ERISA fights are uphill battles for the employee.  While we cannot guarantee that you will win with our help, we can at least make the playing field more level.
If you have been denied benefits based on "mental illness" or "mental and nervous condition" limitations, contact us.  If you have been denied benefits because of a "lack of objective evidence" or because you have CFS or Fibromyalgia, we can probably help you.
Don't give up.  Fight back.  Don't let them steal the benefits you worked for.
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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information at this web site is for advertising and general information purposes. This information is not intended to be legal advice for you to rely on. We recommend you contact the firm for specific questions about employee benefits including employee disability benefits and medical benefits.

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