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NJL People: William D. Hittler

Bill helps his clients carry out their responsibilities better. He is competitive and focused and makes his clients’ legal needs his highest priority. Bill vigorously represents their interests—delivering high quality work—and is well-respected by judges and adversaries. He is particularly adept at counseling clients through difficult litigation issues and achieving a successful resolution of the dispute at hand.

Bill appreciates getting to know his clients, often extending invitations to seminars as well as keeping them posted on ERISA and insurance developments, and offering training and advice.

Bill is committed to his community, diversity, and volunteering. When he’s not working, you can find him riding a bike to tutor at Sheridan Elementary School, meeting with Page Education Scholars, or working with Boy Scouts on the path to becoming Eagle Scouts. Bill enjoys spending time with his family and cross-country skiing.

Key Practice Experience

Key Industry Experience

  • ERISA-governed employee benefit plans
  • Reinsurance and excess risk policies
  • Health care litigation

 Representative Matters

  • Moustafa v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co., 2016 WL 6662685 (D. N.J. Nov. 8, 2016)(summary judgment on long-term disability claim in favor of insurer)
  • Fleming v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co., 2105 WL 7853847 (C.D. Ill. Dec. 3, 2015)(life insurance claim denied in part under intoxication exclusion in ERISA-governed plan; summary judgment granted in favor of insurer)
  • Collier v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co., 589 Fed. Appx. 821 (9th Cir. 2014)(long-term disability claim based in part on chronic pain and fatigue brought under county-sponsored benefit plan; bad faith claim dismissal upheld on appeal and benefit claim bared by collateral estoppel following county retirement board’s determination plaintiff was not totally disabled)
  • Hall v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 750 F.3d 95 (8th Cir. 2014)(claim for life insurance benefits under employer-sponsored ERISA-governed plan; administrator did not abuse discretion in determining that decedent’s will did not change beneficiary designation under terms of the plan)
  • Lee v. ING Groep, (D. Ariz. 2014)(claim for long-term disability benefits under ERISA-governed plan; administrator did not abuse its discretion in determining that plan benefits were properly terminated based in part on statements from treating physicians permitting plaintiff to return to work)(aff’d, 829 F.3d 1158 (9th Cir. 2016))
  • Haney v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 4:10-0334 (S.D. Iowa July 11, 2012)(claim for additional long-term disability benefits based on orthopedic conditions; summary judgment granted in favor of insurer; decision terminating plan benefits deemed reasonable where several outside physicians reviewed the file ).
  • Marden v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 1:11-cv-015, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77576 (D. N.D. June 5, 2012)(claim for long-term disability benefits; summary judgment granted based upon two-year limitation in plan requiring objective evidence of radiculopathy)
  • Kenitzer v. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co., (D. Utah Jan. 19, 2011)(long-term disability benefit claim; summary judgment granted in favor of insurer; decision to terminate benefits because claimant did not obtain regular and appropriate care as required under the disability policy was not arbitrary and capricious)

Recognitions and Honors

  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2016
  • Boy Scouts of America, Silver Beaver Award, 2013
  • Minnesota Chapter Federal Bar Association Outstanding Chapter Newsletter Award, 2011
  • Page Foundation 2010, Mentor of the Year
  • Pro Bono Publico Award, Hennepin County Bar Association, 2001

Publications and Presentations

  • Speaker, “Claim File and Decision Letters” (2016)
  • Speaker, “Anatomy of the Administrative Claim File” (DRI April 2016)
  • Speaker, “Fraud: Implications in Discovery, Mediation and Trial” (March 2016)
  • Speaker, “Psychosocial Function of Claims Management” (March 2016)
  • “The 8th Circuit Upholds the Obligation of an Applicant to Provide Evidence of Insurability for Supplemental Coverage” (ALFA Newsletter 2016)
  • Speaker, “Life and Disability Fraud” (September 2015)
  • Speaker, “Fraud and Lessons Learned in Litigation” (August 2015)
  • “Johnson v. United of Omaha” (ALFA newsletter Summer 2015)
  • Contributor, Misrepresentation in the Life, Health, and Disability Insurance Application Process: A National Survey (ABA 2015)
  • Author, “False Statements Made to Disability Claims Administrators” (DRI Life, Health & Disability) (June 2015)
  • Speaker, “Competing Life Insurance Beneficiaries” (February 2015)
  • Speaker, “ERISA Benefits” (January 2015)
  • Author, “Ebola Virus Quarantine” (November 2014)
  • Speaker, “Evaluating Longer Term LTD Claims” (October 2014)
  • Speaker, “ERISA Plan Claims” (September 2014)
  • Speaker, “Disability Benefits: Full, Fair and Accurate Claim Review” (August 2014)
  • Contributor, “Misrepresentation in the Life, Health, and Disability Insurance Application Process: A National Survey,” ABA Life, Health & Disability (February 2014)
  • Moderator, “Managing Unconventional Long Term Disability Claims” (DRI webcast 2014)
  • Panel member, Federal Bar Association, Kyrgyzstan Judge’s Delegation (2013)
  • Speaker, Claims Professional Conference (2013)
  • “Court Decisions Interpreting Objective-Proof-of-Disability Requirements in ERISA-Governed Disability Plans” (ALFA Newsletter 2013)
  • Co-Program Chair, ALFA Insurance Practice Group Roundtable (2013)
  • Speaker, Eastern Claims Conference (2013)
  • Speaker, Claims Professional Webinar (2013)

Professional Associations

  • Federal Bar Association (Executive Committee board member)
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Wisconsin State Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • American Law Firm Association
  • DRI, Vice-Chair, Life Programming Committee

Community Engagement

  • Minneapolis School System, reading volunteer, Bethune & Sheridan Schools (2000-present)
  • Page Education Foundation, board member and mentor (2007-present)
  • Boy Scouts of America

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