Susan L. Horner, Partner

SusanHorner@erisa-law.comSusan Horner headshot

Practice Areas

  • Employment Retirement Security Act (ERISA)
  • ERISA Litigation and Appeals
  • Employee Benefits
  • Disability Insurance (Short Term or Long Term)
  • Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
  • Pension and other retirement and deferred compensation claims and litigation


University of San Diego, School of Law, San Diego, California
Juris Doctor (J.D.) – 1989
Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, Colorado
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) – 1972
Master of Education (M.Ed.) – 1975
Specialization: Cardiac Rehabilitation (1972-1975);
Internship: Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, Denver, Colorado (1973-1974)
Colorado Teaching Certification – 1975

Read Susan’s published and LEXIS-available cases.


Susan Horner, President of Susan L. Horner, A Professional Law Corporation, is an equal equity Partner with Miller Monson Peshel Polacek & Hoshaw, where she has practiced since early 1993. Strengthened by her experience in the medical field for the 14 years prior to receiving her Juris Doctor in 1989, in 1995, Susan transitioned her early general civil litigation experience (between 1990-1994), to that of primarily representing clients who have been denied group disability (Short Term Disability or Long Term Disability), life, or accidental death or dismemberment (AD&D) benefits by insurance carriers under the laws governed by ERISA —The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Susan’s near-exclusive ERISA practice for over two decades includes the representation of claimants at all stages, including from the beginning of a submission of the claim for benefits, the presentation of one or more ‘appeals’ of an adverse decision that denied (or terminated) the benefits, filing an action in the United States District Court seeking the denied benefits or other relief available under ERISA, and if necessary, either representing the claimant as appellant or appellee at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Susan’s ERISA practice to date advocates for clients with benefits claims who have been wrongfully denied benefits under their ERISA plans. The wide range of medical conditions suffered by the clients who she has represented over the past 23 years have included but are not limited to various orthopedic spine, hip or knee injuries or diseases, myopathy, chronic pain syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy/Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) syndrome, various causes of vertigo (such as Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV) and Meniere’s disease), concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), postconcussive syndrome (PCS), stroke (CVA), severe chronic headache disorders (chronic Migraine), atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), Addison’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), neurologic injuries or disease (again, of the spine, motor neuron disease (MND), Pudendal Neuralgia), sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS), degenerative eye disorders such as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, cancer, mental disorders including Panic Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), among other diseases, disorders or syndromes. Denial of benefit issues have included the gamut, including alleged non-insured/no coverage, preexisting condition exclusion, limited benefits periods, sickness versus accident, earnings and/or benefits calculation issues, occupational/vocational issues, standard of review, scope of review, to name a few.

Born in Nebraska, Susan was raised in Denver, Colorado, and completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in northern Colorado. She moved to San Diego in late 1977, where she has resided to the present, but for a three-year residence in Oregon between mid-1999 and late 2002, while continuing her ERISA practice with Miller Monson Peshel Polacek & Hoshaw. Susan is proud to have been recognized by her peers in the legal profession with the coveted AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®. She is currently ranked among San Diego’s Top Attorneys, San Diego Magazine, and has been awarded such designation for years.


  • Horner, S.L., Trials in the Fast Lane: Is the Length of Trial Affected by ‘Fast Track’ in San Diego?, J. Contemp. Legal Issues, 2.2:89-133, (Spring) 1989.
  • Horner, S.L., The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986: its history, provisions, applications and implications, Am J Law Med. 1990; 16(4):455-98. PMID: 2102058
    ( )
  • Horner S.L, et al. Simultaneous Holter recording during graded exercise stress testing to validate ST segment reproduction and computer-assisted ST segment analysis. In: Proceedings of the 1986 Engineering Foundation Conference Computerized Interpretation of the Electrocardiogram XI. New York: Engineering Foundation;1986:61-69.
  • Medical textbook: Horner, S.L., Ambulatory Electrocardiography, Applications and Techniques, 1983 (J.B. Lippincott Co.) [a comprehensive textbook, approximately 400 pages in length, covering the use of Holter Monitoring and analysis of ambulatory (24-hour) cardiac rhythms, silent myocardial ischemia and pacemaker analysis].
  • Notable Decisions


  • AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell
  • San Diego Magazine Top Attorneys


Bar Admissions

State Bar of California, 1989
State Bar of Oregon, 1999 (maintained as “inactive” since 2003)

Court Admissions

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
United States District Court, Southern District of California
United States District Court, Central District of California
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California
Supreme Court of the State of California