Risk of relapse into addiction counts as current disability

1st Circuit creates a circuit split with its precedential ruling

The 1st Circuit issued a precedential ruling on Jan. 17, creating a circuit split when it found that the risk of relapsing back into an addiction constitutes a current disability in Colby v. Union Security Insurance Company.

Julie Colby was a staff anesthesiologist at Merrimack Valley Anesthesia Associates. In July 2004, a colleague discovered Colby passed out on a table in the hospital. She tested positive for Fentanyl, an opioid used in the practice, so she took a leave of absence and entered inpatient treatment.

Contending Coverage

Colby’s plan with USIC covered conditions that required the claimant to “be under the regular care and attendance of a doctor, and prevent [her] from performing at least one of the material duties of [her] regular occupation” (emphasis in plan).

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