Ninth Circuit Clarifies Application of Abuse of Discretion Review When Insurer Has a Conflict of Interest


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Montour v. Hartford Life & Accident, __ F.3d __, 2009 WL 2914516 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2009), adopted a new standard of reviewing ERISA abuse of discretion cases where the insurer has a conflict of interest. The court held that a “modicum of evidence in the record supporting the administrator's decision will not alone suffice in the face of such a conflict, since this more traditional application of the abuse of discretion standard allowed no room for weighing the extent to which the administrator?s decision may have been motivated by improper considerations.”

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