Roberts Disability Law Sues Lincoln National Life Insurance Company for Father of Murdered Sacramento Police Officer For Allegedly Denying Disability Benefit Claim

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Denis O'Sullivan, the father of slain Sacramento police officer Tara O'Sullivan, has filed an ERISA lawsuit against Lincoln National Life Insurance Company alleging that Lincoln denied his claim for long-term disability benefits based on his diagnoses of PTSD and Major Depression following the death of his daughter.

My thoughts have been constantly invaded by the images and sounds of my daughter’s suffering.

Roberts Disability Law, P.C., attorneys representing the father of a slain Sacramento Police Officer announced today that they are suing Lincoln National Life Insurance Company after it allegedly refused to fulfill the obligations of Denis O’Sullivan’s disability insurance policy in the wake of his daughter’s murder.

According to Court documents, Denis O’Sullivan filed suit in the federal district court of the Northern District of California, stating he has been unable to work and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) since his daughter was shot and killed in June of 2019. As a result, the O’Sullivan family has lost health insurance benefits and faces foreclosure of their home, despite having disability benefit coverage under a group-policy issued by Lincoln to Mr. O’Sullivan’s former employer—a policy that is supposed to compensate him if he cannot do his job.

The Complaint alleges that Denis O’Sullivan has been diagnosed with PTSD and MDD by no less than four different medical professionals in the days and years since his daughter’s murder. Mr. O’Sullivan alleges that the ongoing murder trial for his daughter has required that he review evidence to be presented at trial that forces him “to experience the event all over again.” Court documents further allege that the experience left him with multiple symptoms, including: recurrent nightmares, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression, flashbacks, visual hallucination, overwhelming guilt, negative thoughts and affect, disrupted sleep and insomnia, hypervigilance, heightened startle reflex, agitation and irritability, difficulty concentrating, lack of focus, loss of short-term memory, lack of motivation, feelings of detachment, physical and emotional reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders, decreased interest in activities, withdrawal and isolation, all of which made it impossible to do his job. As a result, he has had essentially no income since 2019 and the family may lose their home.

Court documents allege that Denis O’Sullivan had Lincoln disability insurance through his employer, which was supposed to protect him if he is deemed physically, mentally, or emotionally unable to work by medical professionals. Rather than pay Mr. O’Sullivan the contractual long-term disability benefits, Mr. O’Sullivan alleges that Lincoln denied the claim in reliance on medical reviewers who opined that he was not disabled. Mr. O’Sullivan alleges that these reviewers did not meet or speak to him when they rendered their conclusions.

“Since the moment I learned of Tara’s murder, my life has been turned upside down,” said Denis O’Sullivan. “My thoughts have been constantly invaded by the images and sounds of my daughter’s suffering.”

On March 6, 2023, Roberts Disability Law, P.C. filed Mr. O’Sullivan’s Complaint in the federal district court of the Northern District of California, Case No. 3:23-cv-01000. The suit alleges a claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and seeks to enforce the terms of the group disability policy and to cover legal costs associated with filing the suit.

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Michelle L. Roberts

Kristin Kyle