Judge: Don’t remove Medicare lien dispute to federal court
Per Virginia Lawyers Weekly, February 17, 2011:
Federal courts are not the place to resolve disputes over personal injury settlements held up by a Medicare lien, a Roanoke federal judge has ruled.
In a Feb. 14 opinion, U.S. District Judge Samuel G. Wilson not only remanded a motion to enforce a personal injury settlement, he expressly retained jurisdiction to consider an award of sanctions for improper removal.
The decision marks the latest flare-up from the smoldering tension between insurance companies and personal injury lawyers as both sides seek to protect themselves from unexpected liability for Medicare liens.
In this case, Erie Insurance Exchange refused to pay a $45,000 settlement until Medicare provided final notice of the amount of reimbursement it sought for medical care for a woman injured in a 2008 Augusta County accident. Wilson’s decision leaves the decision on whether to force payment to a state circuit court judge.
The opinion is Hensley v. Marion, VLW 011-3-102.