More Webs in Alabama: District Court Quotes Scott, Dismisses MSPA Claim

A recent determination against Infinity Property and Casualty Group emerging from a federal district court in Alabama demonstrates that while so many MSPA private cause of action claims pose similar legal shortcomings, the courts have no shortage of colorful ways to dismiss them.

Quoting the famous words of Sir Walter Scott, the Opinion opens with “Oh! what a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive!” Dismissing with prejudice MSPA Claims I, LLC’s latest efforts, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division determined on March 19 that subject matter jurisdiction did not exist, thwarting its attempt to “catch a lucrative class action lawsuit under the Medicare Secondary Payer statue.” MSPA v Infinity Prop & Casualty Group, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43620 (2019).

In this case, two separate automobile accidents occurred in which Infinity was the insurance carrier. Medicare beneficiary D.W was enrolled in Part C through Florida Healthcare Plus, Inc. and Medicare beneficiary B.G. was enrolled in Part C through Simply Healthcare Plans, Inc., both of which Plaintiff alleged assigned to it rights under the Medicare Secondary Payer laws to recover medical payments Infinity failed to reimburse.

With regard to D.W., Infinity disputed MSPA’s allegations on the grounds that Infinity had no obligation to pay the FHCP bill of $140.47 as it properly paid all of D.W.’s medical bills with additional medical coverage still available. FHCP assigned its recovery rights to La Ley Recovery Systems in 2014. According to the agreement. La Ley could not assign those rights to a third party without the approval of FHCP’s (or the Florida Department of Financial Services later through receivership).

La Ley attempted to reassign these rights to MSPA in 2015 without approval. While approval was later granted at the time of settlement on June 1, 2016, the court decided the assignments were valid but that FHCP never had standing to bring a claim under the MSP in the first place and FHCP never suffered an injury in fact.

With regard to B.G., the medical coverage with Infinity exhausted. InterAmerican Medical Center Group, LLC served as Simply’s Management Service Organization (MSO). In a tapestry of alleged assignments, Plaintiff claimed Simply contractually assigned recovery rights to InterAmerican, which were in turn assigned to MSP Recovery, LLC, and as “the final strand in its web…” MSP Recovery assigned those rights to Plaintiff.

The Court dismissed the allegations on the grounds that the statute affords recovery rights to MOAs but there is no clear indication that MSOs have these statutory rights.

The Court pointed out “fatal” defects in Plaintiff’s web of assignments, ultimately granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment due to lack of standing.

Elsewhere on the very same day, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was busy exterminating another MSPA private cause of action claim. Somehow on the same page with the Alabama court in both legal and literary senses, the 11th Circuit Court wove the web theme into its dismissal. See MSP Recovery Gets Caught in the Tangled Web of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act.

Given the growing body of dismissals, it should be interesting to see how future courts rule on such actions going forward. To discuss this case or other Medicare Secondary Payer matters, please contact Michelle Allan at (412) 588-2289 or mallan@grsm.com.

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