The Ninth Circuit reversed a long-term disability denial by Hartford Life Insurance Company based on its “over-reliance” on surveillance in which it “strung together a laundry list of discrete activities over the course of four days” thereby suggesting that the Plaintiff would be capable of performing such activities throughout the day. The Court noted that the ability to perform sedentary work “in bursts” did not amount to the ability to sustain a full time occupation. The Court also criticized Hartford for glossing over the difficulties that were observed in the surveillance, such as stiffness and slow movement, instead making the conclusion that the claimant had no limitations or physical distress. The Court opined that such overstatements about the observed activity then improperly influenced the claimant’s physician when he was asked to respond to such surveillance. Also at issue with the Court was Hartford’s “paper” review versus an in-person” exam, not because such exam was required by the Plan, but because the paper review, along with the over reliance on the surveillance, reflected signs of bias. The Court also disagreed with Hartford’s rationale for denial concerning the Plaintiff’s lack of further degeneration of his degenerative back condition, and noted that after paying the claimant for 2 years, one would expect benefits to be terminated if his condition improved, and not due to the lack of progression. The Court also believed that Hartford wrongfully disregarded the finding of disability by the Social Security Administration without comparing and contrasting it, after reaping the benefit of the dollar-for-dollar offset. Montour v. Hartford