ERISA-Ninth Circuit Rules That An Appeal Of A Benefit Denial Is Timely When Filed On The Monday Following The Saturday On Which The 180-Day Period For Appealing Had Ended

In Legras v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, No. 12-56541 (9th Cir. 2015), a panel of judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal (the “Panel”) reversed the district court’s dismissal of an action challenging the denial of an application for continued long-term disability benefits under ERISA. The Panel held that the district court erred in dismissing the action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The plaintiff’s internal appeal from the denial of his benefits application was denied as untimely under a 180-day appeal period. The Panel held that the plaintiffs’ notice of internal appeal was timely because it was filed on the Monday after the Saturday on which the 180-day period ended. The Panel adopted this method of counting time as part of ERISA’s federal common law.

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