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In this case, the Court reviewed and found that the lower court did not err in finding that the claimant did not establish her further entitlement to long term disability payments under the plan terms. The Court found that she was entitled to payments based on her “normal straight-time annual earnings” but was not entitled to payments based on commissions, other variable compensation or special or supplemental payments, unless the Pension Board at General Electric determined that normal straight-time earnings also includes this income. The Court found that the Board had not made such a determination.
Notably, the Court found that the lower court did not err in allowing in extrinsic evidence — statements of GE and MetLife employees — because, when the de novo review applies, the court must exercise its discretion to consider new evidence in order to get the full picture to exercise its informed judgment.