The Grey Law Firm, PC
Free Consultation
415-766-0653
Fighting Insurance Companies on Your Behalf
Contact Us Today

A primer on the difference between equitable and legal remedies

When injured professionals are denied disability benefits, the reason for the denial is commonly unimportant. In these situations, they usually want the benefits they are entitled to. This is completely understandable from an individual's standpoint, and the feeling that an insurer should be held liable for denying benefits is understandable as well. However, if a lawsuit is initiated under ERISA, it is critical to understand the difference between legal remedies and equitable remedies. 

Section 502(a)(1) allowed affected plaintiffs to bring lawsuits to seek legal remedies from an insurer based on the breach of the insurance contract between the insurer and the individual. Essentially, a legal remedy is realized in the form of compensatory damages, also known as damages (i.e. monetary payments) that would put the plaintiff back where he or she would have been if not for the insurer's breach.

Additionally, Section 502(a)(3) allows plaintiffs to seek equitable relief. Equitable remedies are not necessarily based on monetary damages that have been realized. Rather, they are based on the power to enjoin a practice that specifically violates ERISA or any provision of a plan subject to ERISA. The provision of 502(a)(3) that allows "appropriate equitable relief" has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny and challenges. In one corner, insurers and plan administrators claim that equitable relief excludes the award of money damages. Meanwhile, plaintiffs believe that monetary damages may be pursued under 502(a)(3) in limited circumstances, such as restitution based on plan violations.

So when first meeting with a disability attorney, it is helpful to know the difference between legal remedies and equitable remedies. If you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Grey

The Grey Law Firm, PC
235 Montgomery Street
Suite 1101
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-262-9926
Fax: 415-262-9981
Map & Directions

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Google Plus Linkedin