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High court looks at use of ‘common-fund doctrine’ for personal-injury settlements

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a significant ruling on the rights of health benefit plans to recoup payments out of personal-injury settlements. U.S. Airways Inc. v. McCutchen, 2013 U.S.LEXIS 3156 (April 16, 2013) involved James McCutchen, an employee of US Airways and a participant in that organization’s health benefits plan, who was severely injured […]

McCutchen may influence other court decisions

The recent 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen, 2011 U.S.App.LEXIS 22883 (3d Cir. Nov. 16, 2011) dealt with the question of whether the equitable doctrine of unjust enrichment could be used to mitigate an ERISA benefit plan’s claim for reimbursement. McCutchen involved a claim brought by a medical […]

Claimant not required to exhaust issues

A recent health insurance case, Vaught v. Scottsdale Healthcare Corp. Health Plan, 2008 U.S.App.LEXIS 20918 (9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sept. 29), dealt with the issue of whether medical expenses incurred in a drunken driving motorcycle accident were covered under the plaintiff’s health insurance plan. However, before addressing the merits of the underlying claim, […]