Thursday, May 23, 2013

Two More Decisions Addressing Whether Medicare Lien Issues Can Hold Up a Settlement

I recently came across additional decisions in which a trial court addressed the issue of Medicare lien payments possibly holding up the resolution of a civil litigation settlement:

In his 2011 decision in the case of Mackrides v. Marshalls, Marmaxx Operating Corp., No. 11-Civil-6540 (E.D. Pa. April 23, 2013, Joyner, J.), Judge J. Curtis Joyner addressed Medicare issues with regards to a settlement of a slip and fall personal injury suit.  

In this decision, the Court addressed a Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce a Settlement.   The Court ruled that the motion would be denied.  

In the Opinion, the Court noted that, although the Defendant’s failure to tender a proposed Release or settlement, was dilatory, unreasonable, and bordering on being deemed worthy of sanctions, the motion to enforce the settlement was denied where questions about the settlement terms remained unresolved, including questions pertaining to whether the settlement figure included funds to reimburse Medicare, whether Medicare made payments subject to reimbursement, and whether Medicare had waived any right to reimbursement.  

Anyone wishing to review this Mackrides Opinion may click this LINK. 

The older Northampton County Court of Common Pleas decision from back in 2011 in the case of Furman v. Wildermuth, No. C-0048-CV-2008-3556 (C.P. Northampton Co. July 12, 2011 Dally, J.), is another example of a trial court decision holding that a settlement of a personal injury may not be conditioned upon receipt of a final conditional payment letter from Medicare.   That Court relied upon the Pennsylvania Superior Court decision in Zaleppa v. Siewel, 9 A.3d 632 (Pa. 2010).  
The Furman decision can be viewed HERE.
Source:   “Court Summaries,” Pennsylvania Bar News (May, 2013) by Timothy L. Clawges.    

Click HERE to view other Tort Talk posts on Medicare issues, including with respect to settlements of personal injury matters.

1 comment:

  1. It is ridiculous for a medicare lien to hold up a settlement. Medicare is a bloated bureaucracy which takes forever to resolve anything (even if it means money for them). There has to be a better solution moving forward. I know that there are companies now springing up that claim to be able to expedite resolution of medicare liens but, I haven't tried this avenue yet. Maybe I will. It is also possible sometimes (at least in CA) to hold the amount of the claimed lien in trust until the matter can be resolved with disbursement of the remainder but, depending upon the amount of the claimed lien, this is not always feasible either. Thanks for keeping us updated on current cases on this issue.