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Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. LeGras

Andre LeGras was seriously injured while working as a ramp transport driver for FedEx, rendering him unable to work. When petitioner Aetna Life Insurance Company (Aetna), as claims administrator, denied him disability benefits under FedEx’s long-term disability plan, LeGras sought to appeal through Aetna’s internal appeals procedure, which, as required by ERISA and its implementing regulations, gave him 180 days to appeal the denial of benefits. Because the last day of the appeal period fell on a Saturday, LeGras filed his appeal the following Monday. Aetna denied his claim as untimely.

LeGras sued Aetna and the benefit plan to challenge the denial of benefits, and the district court held that his lawsuit was barred because his Monday filing was not timely, and thus he had not exhausted the remedies available to him under the plan as required to bring a claim for the denial of benefits under ERISA. The court of appeals reversed, holding that LeGras’s claim was not barred by the prudential exhaustion requirement.

Aetna and FedEx petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari, and we filed a brief in opposition in February 2016, arguing that there is no need for Supreme Court review where no other courts of appeals have addressed the issue and where the Ninth Circuit correctly interpreted the regulation requiring the 180-day appeal period to require time to be computed consistent with federal common law and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The petition for certiorari was denied.