Active Case

Sun Life Veterans Benefit Offset Litigation

Sun Life Veterans Benefit Offset

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Summary of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit challenges the policy and practice of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (“Sun Life”) in offsetting veterans’ long-term disability (“LTD”) benefits with the amount of veteran disability benefits they receive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Summary of the Claims

The Complaint alleges that Sun Life’s interpretation of its LTD Policy discriminates against their veteran/servicemember employees based on their service in a uniformed service and their receipt of veterans benefits in violation of USERRA. The Complaint also challenges Sun Life’s interpretation of its LTD Policy to allow for veterans disability benefits to be offset under the plan. Alternatively, the Complaint alleges that Sun Life has breached its fiduciary duties in connection with its disclosure obligations and has participated in breaches of the Plan Administrators’ by failing to disclose the offset to plan participants. Finally, the Complaint also alleges that Sun Life has violated the Veterans Act by assuming the role of creditor and demanding payment of the amount of veterans benefits from participants who were “overpaid.”

Class Definition

The Complaint was brought on behalf of a class of persons defined as follows:

(A) All participants in an ERISA-covered long-term disability plan that is insured by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada pursuant to an Applicable Policy who either were discharged from service in the United States Armed Forces under conditions other than dishonorable or are servicemembers (the “Participant Class”), and

(B) the beneficiaries of such participants (the “Beneficiary Class Members”).

Status of the Litigation

This lawsuit is currently pending in the District of Massachusetts. The Complaint was filed on October 25, 2016. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on January 23, 2017. The Court denied the motion to dismiss on May 10, 2017 but ordered a briefing on Summary Judgment on Count II regarding Plaintiff’s claim for benefits. On February 14, 2018, the Court granted summary judgment for SunLife on Count II. The Parties agreed that SunLife’s prior motion to dismiss would be converted to a motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the remaining claims. The Parties submitted supplemental briefing on the remaining claims and are awaiting a ruling by the Court on the remaining claims.

Media Coverage

Case Documents

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you are a member of the proposed class or you have information which might assist us in the prosecution of these allegations, please contact one of the following persons:

R. Joseph Barton, Esq. (
Ming Siegel, Paralegal (
Block & Leviton LLP
1735 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20009
(202) 734-7046

Contact us to learn more about this lawsuit.

Block & Leviton LLP
155 Federal Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02110
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