Submitted: Sept. 25, 2013.
Neil Chamberlin, argued Little Rock, AR, for appellant.
Harold Wayne Young, Jr., argued Little Rock, AR (Daniel L. Herrington, on the brief), for appellee.
Before WOLLMAN, BEAM, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
Lisa Gerhardt appeals from the district court's  order denying her motion for
judgment on the record, affirming Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston's (Liberty) decision to terminate payment of her long-term disability benefits, and dismissing her complaint with prejudice. We affirm.
Gerhardt obtained an associate's degree in nursing in 1980 and thereafter obtained a registered nurse's license. From 1980 to 2000, Gerhardt worked as a registered nurse and held other positions within the healthcare field. In July 2000, Gerhardt stopped working because she suffered from osteoarthritis and needed to undergo anthroplasty surgery on each of her thumbs. At the time, she was employed as the Director of Addiction Services for a psychiatric hospital, the Bridgeway, Inc., which was owned and operated by Universal Health Services, Inc. Universal Health Services provided long-term disability coverage to its employees under a Group Disability Income Policy (the Policy) issued by Liberty. Gerhardt filed a claim for long-term disability benefits with Liberty in October 2000.
To receive long-term disability benefits, the Policy required insured employees to provide Liberty with proof of disability. As relevant to this case, the Policy defines " Disability" or " Disabled" as follows:
i. If the Covered Person is eligible for the 24 Month Own Occupation Benefit, " Disability" or " Disabled" means during the Elimination Period and the next 24 months of Disability the Covered Person is unable to perform all of the material and substantial duties of his occupation on an Active Employment basis because of an Injury or Sickness; and
ii. After 24 months of benefits have been paid, the Covered Person is unable to perform, with reasonable continuity, all of the material and substantial duties of his own or any other occupation for which he is or becomes reasonably fitted by training, education, experience, age and physical and mental capacity.
Accordingly, the initial determination of whether an employee is " Disabled" is dependent upon whether the employee is able to perform his or her own occupation, whereas after the employee has received benefits for twenty-four months, the determination is dependent upon whether the employee can perform his or ...