The Second Department determined that plaintiff, a security guard for the School District who was injured on the job, did not have a cause of action against District based upon the long-term disability insurer’s (Sun Life’s) decision to terminate her disability benefits. The District was not a party to the contract between Sun Life and the policyholder. Although the Summary Plan Description issued by Sun Life’s predecessor mentioned the insured rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the District was not obligated by the Summary-Plan language:
… [T]he plaintiff contends that, based on the language of portions of the Summary Plan Description, the District subjected itself to ERISA’s statutory scheme governing appeals from denials of claims. …
An insurance policy is a contract to which standard provisions of contract interpretation apply … . “Liability for breach of contract does not lie absent proof of a contractual relationship or privity between the parties”… . “One cannot be held liable under a contract to which he or she is not a party” … .
Here, the District was not a party to the long-term disability policy issued by Sun Life to a different named policyholder. Even assuming the authenticity of the Summary Plan Description excerpts relied upon by the plaintiff, nothing in the record reflects that the District authored, published, or agreed to be bound by the Summary Plan Description, which, by its terms, did not form part of the insurance policy. Nor do the terms of the insurance policy incorporate the provisions of ERISA … . Arroyo v Central Islip UFSD, 2019 NY Slip Op 04669, Second Dept 6-12-19