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ERISA Litigation Alert: Check Your Plan Subrogation and Reimbursement Language to Eliminate “Contractual Gaps”

In U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ability of U.S. Airways’ health plan to recover medical expenses that it previously paid to the injured party from a third party settlement, but remanded the...more

Supreme Court Clarifies Subrogation Rights, Emphasizes Need for Precise Plan Language

Plan sponsors, particularly those that sponsor self-funded health plans, should review plan document provisions in light of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen. In...more

Supreme Court Rules on Equitable Defenses to Reimbursement Claim by Employee Health Plan

Executive Summary: Reimbursement claim brought under ERISA sec. 502(a)(3) was akin to “equitable lien by agreement,” and therefore could not be defeated by equitable defenses that contradicted plan terms. ...more

Supreme Court “Dooms” Equitable Defenses to Plan’s Reimbursement Provisions

In a prior blog, I discussed the importance of including unambiguous reimbursement rights in health plan documents in order to manage healthcare costs. The enforceability of such rights was confirmed by the United States...more

High Court Rules Equitable Defenses Don’t Override ERISA Plan Terms

On April 16, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen (No. 11–1285), deciding the issue of whether equitable defenses, such as the principle of unjust enrichment, can override the...more

U.S. Supreme Court: Equity Cannot Trump ERISA Plan Terms in ERISA Reimbursement Case

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday strengthened the ability of employer health insurance plans to recoup payments for medical expenses paid for an injured plan participant who later sues to recover damages from a third...more

Attorneys' Fees Reduce ERISA Plan's Recovery From Common Fund

The United States Supreme Court ruled today that absent an express provision to the contrary, the amount an ERISA plan can recover from a plan participant’s lawsuit against a third-party tortfeasor must be reduced...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Plan Terms Trump Equitable Defenses

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen in which the Court unanimously ruled that a clearly drafted reimbursement clause will trump all equitable defenses....more

Changes to the Rules governing litigation in England - The Jackson Reforms

On 1 April 2013 new rules will come into effect in England and Wales which will have a significant impact on litigation. Whilst the reforms look very much as though they affect mechanical aspects of the litigation process,...more

Could Arbitration Of Cost-Prohibitive State Law Claims Be Compelled While Similar Federal Claims Stay In Court?

A recent decision from a federal district court in Tennessee raises a discrepancy in how the courts treat arbitration agreements that hinder a plaintiff’s state law and federal law claims. Cases under the FAA state that...more

NY State Appellate Court Sides with Airlines, Dismisses Tarmac Delay-Related Claims

The Second Department in Biscone v. JetBlue Airways Corporation recently dismissed airline passengers’ tort claims against an airline based on the failure to provide food, water and facilities during an 11-hour tarmac delay,...more

Western Pa.'s Take On Carbon Dioxide Liability Claims

Originally published in Law360 on December 17, 2012. Left open by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011), was the question of whether state law nuisance...more

Last Federal Climate Change Case Dismissed by Ninth Circuit

Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the last climate change lawsuit still pending in the federal courts to the best of my knowledge. Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. was a lawsuit by a small Alaskan village...more

Ninth Circuit Displaces Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Climate Change Liability Case

In litigation concerning liability for the emission of greenhouse gases, the federal common law of nuisance is displaced by the Clean Air Act. This is not news. It was established by the Supreme Court over a year ago in...more

California Court of Appeals Finds Advisory Circulars Fail to Create Supremacy Clause Preemption

On March 20, 2012, the California Court of Appeal Second District held that nonmandatory safety standards issued by the FAA in Advisory Circulars do not preempt state tort law on the standard of care. Sierra Pacific Holdings,...more

If in Doubt, File the Complaint for Limitation of Liability

One of the recurring issues in handling maritime wrongful death and personal injury claims is determining what information is sufficient to start the vessel owner’s six-month deadline to file a complaint seeking...more

Second Circuit Explains Its Decision Reversing the Grant of Injunction To Enforce $18 Billion Award Against Chevron

Chevron Corp. v. Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, et al., No. 11-1150-cv(L), is the Second Circuit’s decision explaining its ruling ealier in 2011 to reverse the District Court’s grant of a preliminary injunction...more

How Plaintiffs are Playing their “Unfortunate Hand”: the Impact of PLIVA v. Mensing on Personal Injury Claims against Generic Drug...

Seven months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision finding that claims by injured plaintiffs alleging that generic drug manufacturers failed to warn adequately of the risks of their products are preempted,...more

Options for Suing the Federal Government Under Bivens Unlikely to Expand

In 2001, federal inmate Richard Lee Pollard sustained two broken elbows after tripping over a cart in a privately operated prison housing federal inmates. He sued five prison employees for their actions after his injuries. On...more

Florida Supreme Court Deepens Split of Authority on Meaning of Federal Limitation of Liability for Aircraft Owners and Lessors

In a recent dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Congress for writing “fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts legislation.” Although Justice Scalia was referring to the federal...more

Supreme Court Issues Decision in: American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut - Clean Air Act Displaces Federal Common Law Claims...

Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision rejecting an attempt to hold private companies liable in tort for greenhouse gas emissions alleged to contribute to global climate change. In an 8-0 decision, the Court held that...more

Federalism And Tort Reform

On Wednesday, we discussed the relevant parts of pending tort reform legislation. Earlier in the month we updated our favorite federalist point, which is that federal courts should not issue expansive interpretations of state...more

Supreme Court Will Hear Case About Vaccine Side Effects

The Supreme Court will decide whether drug makers can be sued by parents who claim their children suffered serious health problems from vaccines. As reported by the Associated Press, the Court agreed to hear an appeal from...more

Burton v. U.S.A.

Memorandum Opinion

This is a federal judge’s memorandum opinion in a case concerning failure to warn a patient about his risk for pulmonary embolism from having his calf casted for treatment of a ruptured Achillles tendon. The judge awarded...more

Burton v. USA

Pretrial Order

In a Federal Tort Claims Act case, a plaintiff suing the government needs to look carefully at choice of law issues to maximize potential damages. In this case, the problem was that the cause of action for wrongful death...more

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