Lawyers for Astros owner Drayton McLane and Connecticut General Life Insurance are bracing for litigation over Connecticut General’s decision to deny the total disability claim the Astros filed to recoup $15.6 million of disabled first baseman Jeff Bagwell’s salary this year.
Acknowledging that pain in his arthritic right shoulder had become too great, Bagwell went on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Twelve days earlier, Connecticut General had already denied the Astros’ insurance claim.
“On March 13, 2006, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. notified the Houston Astros that it had denied a total disability claim submitted by the Astros relating to Jeff Bagwell,” said attorney Ty Buthod, a partner at the Houston law firm of Baker Botts, which is representing Connecticut General. “The company determined that there had been no adverse change in Mr. Bagwell’s condition or ability to play baseball between the end of last season, when he was an active member of the roster, and Jan. 31, 2006, the date the policy expired.
“The company carefully reviewed the claim as submitted by the Astros and determined that the claim did not support a finding of total disability.”
McLane disagrees, and he vows to pursue legal recourse to collect on his claim.
Clearly, what we need here is some tort reform. Or maybe insurance reform. It’s all so confusing. Where’s Joe Nixon when you really need him?
I suppose the Stros will claim that since Bagwell did play in the World Series but obviously cannot play now, that’s proof enough that his condition changed adversely. The insurers will say that since he could still play again after more surgery, this is a temporary setback and not a certain career-ender. I can see merit to both arguments. My best wishes and a bottle of Excedrin to the judge that catches this one.