A Few Accolades
I was at a loss and ready to give up, when as a last resort, I contacted Michael. He was absolutely amazing. He fast became a fierce advocate of mine, too—even encouraging and supporting me along the way. He went to war, literally, with the insurance company because my LTD claim was denied (before I even received any benefit). I soon learned too that they had done some pretty questionable maneuvers to do so. I had several co-morbid diagnoses that prevented me from working and was lost as to what came next. Michael explained the complexities of my case and all the options, sent me every correspondence and constantly kept me updated. He answered questions, and when I grew weary of the fight and wanted to quit (again), he was patient and understanding. Many times, his great sense of humor was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits and look forward with hope. But most of all, his extensive knowledge of ERISA laws and the ins-and-outs of the process was impressive. A year later, he became someone I could truly rely on and trust. I don’t say that lightly either.
I put my life in his hands and he came through in the biggest way. He even flew up here for my case, though when it was first rescheduled he lost funds when he had to cancel his flight. My case was recently resolved in a manner far beyond my expectations. I am so glad to have met him and had him on my side. Thank you so very much, Michael, for all that you’ve done. I simply couldn’t have done it without you. You are a class act with a great heart.
I highly recommend him—he’s more than a lawyer. He genuinely cares and will do everything in his power to make you whole again. Just don’t ask him any tax-related questions about, well anything! (Wink, wink, inside joke.)
Much respect for what you do my friend.
I was a client of Mike's for 13 years. I had a difficult Long Term Disability case, and I doubt that any attorney could have achieved better results than Mike. He spent 13 years fighting for and especially fighting to continue my benefits. Mike has worked on both sides of ERISA law and knows very well the tactics insurance companies will use to deny benefits. We've spent many, many hours on the phone. He was always honest and frank with me even when the news wasn't great.
This is my opinion, but I think Mike would view time spent on awards and recognition as time taken from his clients. I'm sure insurance companies have their own rating of Mike, and they know that their odds of winning against him aren't very good. I wouldn't trade Mike for a thousand ERISA attorneys. You simply cannot find an attorney who will fight harder for you than Mike McKuin will.
Test Engineering Manager
When my LTD claim was denied, via research on the internet, I discovered the legal services of Mike McKuin - ERISA Lawyer! I am forever glad I did. Even finding an ERISA attorney can be challenging in many areas of the country, but finding one that is highly qualified is quite difficult. Looking back now, I know I could not have found a better attorney to handle my case. His ERISA acumen and decades of experience were clearly apparent from the beginning and throughout every step of the case. As soon as Mike took over, my anxiety was gone and my confidence was restored, as Mike continually provided me with reassurance that he would do everything in his power to recover. I always felt he was working as hard as possible in my best interest. Mike’s extensive ERISA experience that includes not only working in ERISA, but also in private practice now well over two decades, came to bear early on in my case to build a strong administrative record which ensured a successful result for me. My case went into litigation, and I continually saw Mike’s expertise in handling every contingency that arose. Mike is intimately familiar with the industry’s experts, whether it be a vocational expert or the best mediator to secure. He knows the differences among the courts and the attorneys handling for the insurers. You can even go on line and read his technical papers on ERISA topics. Without Mike’s involvement, I would have lost my sanity, but now my life has been restored following the steadfast efforts of Mike during my wait for the recovery. If anyone in my family or my friends ever need an ERISA lawyer, I would insist they retain Mike. I highly recommend that any person with a LTD claim problem consult with Mike. If you retain him you will be pleased with the results.
Reinsurance Claims Auditor
I did my homework when I found out I could no longer work. Read everything I could on ERISA type cases. It was clear after being "Jerked" around by my LTD insurer, it was time to get serious. I found Mr. McKuin. I was pretty well inside out by that time, and after my initial talk with him I was already getting right side out again. He did not charge me for the initial phone call that was quite lengthy, but I was convinced that he was my salvation in my litigation. I followed his lead and instructions, he was always very clear and precise in what I needed to do next, including some extra testing of myself. The weight of almost a year of fighting was starting to go away, as Mr. McKuin worked from his end to pull things together. I was copied on every piece of correspondence that was sent out. I was always notified of what he is, and plans to do next. I was told when he would be out of the office and in some cases, even though I did not use it, he would leave me his cell phone number should I need to contact him out of the office. Mr. McKuin "KNOWS" ERISA, and it is not a fun part of the legal system, quite the opposite. He knows what LTD insurers are up to and believe me they are not interested in you or your disability or how you are getting along without the funds they are supposed to be paying you. Mr. McKuin Knows! He knows only too well and works well with in the legal limits to protect you and your interests. Mr. McKuin is the legal counsel that I recommend to folks who need help with LTD denial of benefits. I have already referred a friend who really likes what Mr. McKuin has done for her. I refer to Mr. Mike McKuin as just Mr. McKuin on my own as a testament to the amount of respect I have for him. Not only did he handle my difficult case to a reasonable conclusion, but he mentored me though the entire process. A long process at that. Thank you, Mr. McKuin!
Product Support Supervisor
At one point in the seemingly endless two-year saga with the insurance company, we received a letter from them denying that my wife ever had any injury at all-- in spite of the six-inch surgical scars she had on each wrist. "These guys are just evil," I told her. "Why would anyone fake an injury and put themselves through a procedure like that just to defraud the system? I don't get it." We decided to hire a lawyer.
Enter Mike McKuin.
Sometime later, while waiting outside the final hearing room, we joked with him about the common perception that all lawyers are snakes. (What do you have if your lawyer is buried to his neck on the beach? Not enough sand!). Mike got a chuckle or two out of it, but once inside the room I was deeply impressed with how he stood his ground and insisted that we weren't crazy-- we had a real case here. After a while I couldn't help but wonder why this very intelligent man had passed up the opportunity to join his expensive-suit, corporate-jet-flying six-and-seven-figure-income peers sitting across the table from us. Just so he could fight for the rights of the victims of the abuses being perpetrated by these so-called 'insurance companies'? Some things just don't make any sense at all in this world. But as we watched him spar, my wife and I grew increasingly grateful that we had him on our side.
At the end of the day I can't say that I was completely satisfied. Probably nothing short of seeing the insurance executives placed in stocks in the public square so we could pelt them with rotten fruit would have satisfied me. Still, we ended up with a cash settlement far in excess of what my wife and I had ever expected, and as I watched Mike get into his mid-sized SUV to spend a couple days decompressing at the beach, I realized that my perception of lawyers had been forever changed.
The world needs more guys like Mike McKuin.
Oak Hills, CA
Michael, I am a former California Department of Insurance attorney, in private practice for over 20 years, and have recently had some inquiries regarding the formation of an MET. I have a unique insurance background and consider myself quite knowledgeable about insurance law in California. Since I have not done much work in this area for almost ten years, I did a cursory internet search of current literature on the subject of multiple employer trusts and came across some articles you published in the late 1990's.
I thought that I knew or had known about every knowledgeable lawyer in the industry. I must express my genuine surprise at the accuracy of your insight as expressed in those articles. Please accept my belated congratulations . I always assumed the process was a closely held secret among a small group of practitioners who worked at keeping the Department away from their operations.
Attorney at Law
San Francisco, CA
"ERISA expert notes scope of landmark 1974 law"
Michael A. McKuin, a Palm Desert lawyer who specializes in ERISA, notes on his website the long history of courts broadly interpreting ERISA’s scope because of the law’s sweeping language . . . 'As a practical matter, it does not take much to satisfy the test and Courts will generally find the existence of an ERISA plan even where no such plan is wanted by anyone,' McKuin writes – unless the plan has the 'safe harbor' specifically mentioned in SB 1234’s ballot language."
And one comment by a literary legend:
Both of our last names are probably way off as far as the original MacEwan is concerned. But I’ll bet we are of the same tribe. A long time ago the MacEwan’s (like many another clan) was/were gobbled up and absorbed by The Campbell’s. I’ve seen what remains of a McKuin/McKuen castle in Scotland. It’s a pretty pile of rubble. But then in Scotland even old bricks and mortar are beautiful to look at.
One of my middle names is Michael, so we’re all brothers under the skin anyway. My family has dwindled to the point that it’s nice to find a new member.
Rod McKuen (b. 4/29/1933; d. 1/29/2015)
ERISA Disability Lawyer