Former J&J employee sues after disability benefits stop

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 10, 2010, 6:00am

SHERMAN-A former employee of Johnson & Johnson is suing the company's disability plan for breach of fiduciary duty claiming her benefits were suddenly terminated after eight years.

Marla Dupree Adams filed suit against Retirement Plan for Hourly Employees of Johnson & Johnson Medical Inc., represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union A.F.L.-C.I.O., C.L.C Local 513T and Broadspire Services Inc.

The suit was filed on June 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Adams works for Johnson & Johnson Medical in Sherman for more than 12 years as a machine operator. In 2001, she applied for long-term disability benefits and the benefits were approved four months later.

Under the plan, she was entitled to 60 percent of her pre-disability earnings to age 65. Adams states that in February 2009, she stopped receiving benefits without any notice.

According to the court records, an individual with the Reed Group notified Adams that her disability benefits had been denied in February 2006 and that she was responsible for repaying payments made to her from March 2006 to February 2009.

Adams argues that she never received notice of denial of the long-term disability claim.

The defendants are accused of violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and breach of fiduciary duty.

Adams is seeking past lost benefits, future lost benefits through the age of 65, plus interest, an award for emotional distress, reasonable attorney's fees, costs and expenses.

Sherman attorney Ronald R. Huff is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00288

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