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Press Release: Roberts Disability Law Sues Lincoln National for Denying Long-Term Disability Benefits for Aggrieved Father of Murdered Sacramento Police Officer

Roberts Disability Law, P.C. represents Denis O’Sullivan, the father of slain Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, in his claim for disability insurance benefits under a group disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Today, our firm filed a Complaint against Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in federal district court in the Northern District of California. We have also issued this Press Release describing the nature of Mr. O’Sullivan’s claim.

Mr. O’Sullivan 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. The Complaint alleges Mr. O’Sullivan has been diagnosed with PTSD and MDD by four different medical professionals in the days and years since his daughter’s murder. As reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, Rookie Sacramento PD officer Tara O’Sullivan was assisting a domestic violence victim retrieve her belongings from her boyfriend’s residence when she was shot without warning by a suspect armed with a high-powered rifle. A fusillade of more than 150 gunshots caused the mortally wounded O’Sullivan to be cut-off from her partner. Responding SPD Officers eventually used an armored vehicle to breakdown a fence and rescue her. During the 30-minute delay, Tara O’Sullivan’s body-worn camera captured sounds of her final moments, including the suspect mocking her and yelling, “Just die already, b—-.”

Unfortunately, the ongoing murder trial for Mr. O’Sullivan’s daughter has required that he review evidence which forces him “to experience the event all over again.” He continues to experience 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.

“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.”

Our firm plans to vigorously pursue Mr. O’Sullivan’s ERISA claim against Lincoln National so that Mr. O’Sullivan and his family have the income they need to endure the ongoing reminder of their daughter’s murder. Mr. O’Sullivan is represented by attorneys Michelle Roberts and Kristin Kyle of Roberts Disability Law, P.C.


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*Please note that this blog is a summary of a reported legal decision and does not constitute legal advice. This blog has not been updated to note any subsequent change in status, including whether a decision is reconsidered or vacated. The case above was handled by other law firms, but if you have questions about how the developing law impacts your ERISA benefit claim, the attorneys at Roberts Disability Law, P.C. may be able to advise you so please contact us.

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