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Home > Blog > Ninth Circuit Reaffirms: Ability to Sit for Four Hours a Day Means a Claimant Can Perform “Any Occupation” Under Disability Policy

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms: Ability to Sit for Four Hours a Day Means a Claimant Can Perform “Any Occupation” Under Disability Policy

In this short unpublished opinion, McCool v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 18-56529, __F.App’x__, 2021 WL 1235842 (9th Cir. Apr. 2, 2021), the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of LINA, finding that “the district court did not clearly err in finding that McCool failed to meet his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he could not sit for four hours a day.” The court followed its decision in Armani v. Northwestern Mut. Life Ins. Co., 840 F.3d 1159 (9th Cir. 2016) for the standard for sedentary work ability since the policy here does not define “sedentary.” Three doctors opined that McCool could sit “frequently,” which means he can sit between 2.5 to 5.5 hours in an 8-hour workday. The district court’s finding was not clearly erroneous considering this evidence and it was consistent with the court’s analysis in Armani.

The court’s analysis was limited to just sitting tolerance but the ability to perform full-time gainful work depends on many other factors. If you have a denied long-term disability benefit claim because the insurance company claims you can physically perform sedentary work, contact us for a free case evaluation. Our firm has successfully represented many claimants against Life Insurance Company of North America (aka, Cigna).

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