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The Martin Law Group is dedicated to being your go-to ERISA disability attorneys and long-term disability lawyers in Alabama and Mississippi. Whether you are pursuing a long-term disability claim, life insurance benefits, or your pension or retirement benefits, we will meet with you face-to-face to discuss your claim at a location convenient for you. 

 

In an effort to make disability claims as easy as possible, we offer a free initial consultation. We often work with clients in Huntsville, Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery, Dothan, Tuscaloosa, and Florence, in Alabama, as well as with clients in Columbus, Meridian, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Tupelo, and Gulfport, Mississippi, and surrounding areas.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

800-284-9309

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Tuscaloosa Office

2117 Jack Warner Pkwy
Suite #1
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401
Toll-Free: 800-284-9309
Local: 205-343-1771

Birmingham Office

The WSK Building
2323 2nd Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Toll-Free: 800-284-9309
Local: 205-343-1771

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DISCLAIMER: These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

  • Long term disability lawyer
  • ERISA disability lawyer
  • Retirement benefits lawyer
  • David Martin

You Say Pro Se? We Say No Way!

Updated: Jun 18, 2019



Mr. Kerns found out the hard way that filing an ERISA case pro se is not the best idea. ERISA has very technical provisions protecting employees’ rights in the areas of long and short-term disability, life insurance, pension, retirement, and health benefits. However, ERISA also has very specific, hard and fast deadlines, and many unique statutory provisions. And, things done early in a claim can have lasting and negative impacts.

Mr. Kerns mistakingly thought that punitive damages could be recieved in an ERISA case. He filed a lawsuit, without an attorney, seeking about 13 years of benefits owed under his retirement benefit plan. He also sued for $3 million in punitive damages. Kerns v. Wenner, No. 16CV2438-WQH-AGS, 2018 WL 3602402 (S.D. Cal. July 24, 2018).

Federal district courts do not help make the case for pro se plaintiffs. It is difficult and dangerous territory for those untrained in the law and especially in the area of ERISA. Mr. Kerns may have had a good case. However,since it was not handled correctly, the Court dismissed the entire case. The court noted that as a matter of law punitive damages are not permitted under ERISA. Despite the label Mr. Kerns used for various claims, they all related to a retirement plan that ERISA governed, and the court saw right through that effort.

It is critical for claimants to obtain ERISA counsel during the claim process so that the claim can be prepared for litigation if it is necessary to take it that far. A solid claim record makes for a solid case. Avoid a dismissal, and let us help. It is always better to hire experienced counsel than to file an ERISA claim pro se.

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