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Hospital seeks to have lawsuit over disability claim removed

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 10:33 a.m.

Attorneys for Latrobe Area Hospital have filed papers to move a lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County Court over a long-term disability claim to federal court.

Notice to remove Phyllis G. Murray's civil action from county court was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.

Murray, of Mt. Pleasant RD1, is seeking $82,294.80 in disability benefits for a period from March 19, 1999, to Jan. 2, 2011. She also is asking the court to assess interest penalties, punitive damages and costs against the hospital's insurance carrier, ITT Hartford Life Insurance Co., based in Hartford, Conn.

Murray contends in her complaint filed in June in county court that the hospital and ITT Hartford wrongfully terminated her disability benefits on March 19, 1999.

Hartford and the hospital claim that Murray's payments were stopped because she failed to attend a required examination and to submit proof that she would be 'continuously disabled,' according to Murray's complaint.

Murray disputes those claims, saying the examination is not required under the terms of the related insurance policy, and that she submitted medical proof about physical limitations related to her lungs, according to court papers.

'At all times Murray has been able to maintain that she is totally and completely disabled from her own occupation as well as any occupation,' the complaint states.

Murray worked for the hospital until Oct. 21, 1996, in a job not specified in her civil action.

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