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03-28-2006, 03:49 PM
Astros denied Bagwell insurance claim
03/28/2006 9:30 AM ET
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- In what is sure to be the first of many disagreements between the Houston Astros and the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, the insurance claim made by the club to recoup $15.6 million of the $17 million owed to Jeff Bagwell has been denied.
Astros owner Drayton McLane is preparing for litigation with the law firm Fisher, Boyd, Brown, Boudreaux and Huguenard, according to a Houston Chronicle report. No lawsuit has been filed yet.

"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," attorney Ty Buthod, a partner at the Houston law firm of Baker Botts, which is representing Connecticut General, told the Chronicle. "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 will fight that ruling, and lawyer Wayne Fisher said that he will give Connecticult General Life a few weeks to reconsider its position.

Bagwell, 37, was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and he admitted that his career may be over. He will look into having a surgical procedure to remove bone spurs from his degenerative right shoulder, but he acknowledged that the surgery would be a last-ditch effort to save his career.

The Astros, basing their judgment on the recommendations of Dr. James Andrews and team medical director Dr. David Lintner, filed the claim in January, arguing that Bagwell is a disabled player and could not perform as a National League player.

The Astros reportedly did not want Bagwell to report to Spring Training because they risked losing their chances to win the case. The deadline to file the claim was Jan. 31.

This case will likely drag on, possibly for years.

"We're not going to stand idly by and have the insurance company say, 'We don't owe any money. This is an unreasonable thing the Houston Astros are doing,' " Fisher told the Chronicle. "This is a serious situation, and the Astros will win this case."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chip R
03-28-2006, 03:52 PM