Supreme Court Denies Certiorari, New York’s Anti-Subrogation Law is not Preempted by ERISA, Parker Waichman LLP Comments

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The recent High Court decision is expected to stop several insurers from attempting to cite the legal notion of subrogation in litigation.

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These insurers must now decide if they seek to continue to burden the courts with frivolous motions that do not have any legal basis

Parker Waichman LLP comments that, on February 23, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Wurtz v. Rawlings Co., LLC, 2014 WL 3746801, Second Circuit 2014 . A Writ of Certiorari is an order under which a higher court, in this case, the Supreme Court, reviews a lower court decision, Parker Waichman LLP notes. (Certiorari denied: 14-487 Rawlings Company, LLC, et al. v. Wurtz, Megan, et al.)

On July 31, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rendered a decision that New York State’s anti-subrogation law, which extinguished the rights of private health insurers to seek reimbursement for medical benefits paid out of a tort settlement, was not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and that the law was found applicable to health insurers providing ERISA coverage. The class action lawsuit was originally filed in New York State Supreme Court but was removed by Defendants to federal court where the District Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim based on ERISA preemption. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the District Court’s decision and remanded the matter to the District Court in holding that the plaintiffs’ claims were not subject to complete ERISA preemption. The Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear Defendants’ appeal of the Court of Appeal’s decision allows for the class action lawsuit to proceed. The class action alleges violations of New York State’s anti-subrogation law by insurers who recovered for medical benefits paid on behalf of injured plaintiffs from their tort settlements. (Meghan Wurtz, Mindy Burnovski, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. The Rawlings Company, LLC, Oxford Health Plans (N.Y.), Inc., UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, Defendants; No. 13–1695–cv; in the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit)

“These insurers must now decide if they seek to continue to burden the courts with frivolous motions that do not have any legal basis,” said Melanie Muhlstock, Managing Attorney for Parker Waichman LLP.

This decision is a major victory for both ERISA participants and their beneficiaries notes Parker Waichman LLP.

“We are happy that the justice system seeks to put an end to these insurers’ attempts at stopping lawsuits brought by individuals who have suffered from various significant injuries by further seeking financial gain at additional cost to these allegedly injured parties,” said Ms. Muhlstock .

Parker Waichman LLP offers free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused by drugs and medical devices. If you or a loved one experienced injuries as a result of a potentially defective medical device or drug, please visit the firm at or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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Gary Falkowitz
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