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Balderdash, Woman Tells Unum Insurance

PHOENIX (CN) - A woman with Behcet's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of blood vessels, says First Unum Life Insurance denied her claim in bad faith, calling her disease a "mental illness."

Leah Bilyeu also sued the plan administrator, Morgan Stanley Long-Term Disability Plan, in Federal Court.

In addition to Behcet's syndrome, Bilyeu says she suffers from hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, endometriosis, migraines, memometrorrhagia, severe pains in her back, neck, arms, hands and feet, numb extremities, weakness, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

"UNUM invoked the plan's 'Mental Illness Limitation'" to restrict her benefits to 24 months, Bilyeu says. But Behcet's syndrome is not a mental disease.

She is represented by Randolph Bachrach.

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