A dispute over a long-term disability insurance policy is not barred by ERISA if the worker paid the premiums herself and the employer’s only role was to collect the money — without endorsing or promoting the policy — a federal judge has ruled.

In his 10-page opinion in Bagden v. The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, Senior U.S. District Judge Edmund V. Ludwig greenlighted a lawsuit brought by a woman who said her disability benefits were cut off after about three years when the insurer insisted that she take an independent medical exam.

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