Former University of California ("USC") Trojans receiver Marquis Lee has sued Lloyd's of London for denying Lee a $4.5 million insurance claim on the grounds that he misled Lloyd's about his injury history.
In 2013, Lee decided to remain playing college football for another year, opting out of the NFL draft. He purchased loss of value and permanent disability insurance from Lloyd's of London. The lawsuit alleges that he paid a $94,600 premium for the $5 million limit loss-of-value disability policy by way of a business loan for that reason which is in accordance with the NCAA regulations.
During the policy, Lee was injured in a game between USC and Arizona State University and was later diagnosed with collateral ligament sprain, bone contusion, posterior sprain and popliteal cyst in his left knee.
The policy guaranteed him the difference between his first year NFL contract and a $9.6 million baseline. Lee subsequently signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years at $5.1 million, thus making the difference of $4.5 million for which he filed his claim.
The suit alleges that Lee "missed multiple games as a result of the injury, and his skills were negatively affected throughout the remainder of the 2013 college football season as a result of that injury." It further adds that Lee's prospects for the 2014 NFL draft declined sharply and that he had been a consistently projected top first-round pick prior to his injury." After Lee's injury he was not selected until the second round (39th). Lee alleges that Lloyd's acts were "inconsistent with the reasonable expectations of their insured, contrary to established claims practices and legal requirements, and constitute bad faith."
According to the suit, Lloyd's argues that "Lee failed to disclose certain health information when applying for the disability policy."
The lawsuit is garnering a lot of interest from sports agents who represent college players and want to protect their worth, and it comes at a time when interest is particularly high - the NFL draft ran from April 30 to May 2, 2015.
The case highlights the importance of policy language in Short Term and Long Term Disability policies. If you have been denied coverage for a disability, call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation. We are experts on reading policy language and ensuring that your rights under your policy are enforced.