Monday, January 30, 2017

Another Court Applies Collateral Source Rule to Attempted References to Affordable Care Act in Civil Litigation Matters

In a recent decision out of the Western District Federal Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Welker v. Carnevale, No. 3:14-cv-149 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 13, 2017 Gibson, J.) (Mem. Op.), the court granted a Plaintiff’s Motion to Preclude the defense from presenting expert opinions and calculations based upon the Affordable Care Act with respect to the Plaintiff’s alleged damages for future life care cost.  

The Plaintiffs, relying upon several decisions from the state and federal courts, asserted that evidence of coverage under the Affordable Care Act is barred by the collateral source rule.  

The defense argued that the collateral source rule is inapplicable to the Affordable Care Act and that the decision cited by the Plaintiff was not binding upon this court.   The Welker court noted that while, to date, Pennsylvania Supreme Court has not weighed on this particular issues, several other courts upheld that calculations related to the Affordable Care Act are barred by the collateral source rule under Pennsylvania law.  The Welker court cited with a “see” signal the cases of Bernheisel v. Mikaya, No. 3:13-cv-01496, 216 W.L. 4211897 (M.D.  Pa. 2016); Cordes v. United States, No. 2:13-cv-547, 215 W.L. 10986360 (W.D. Pa. 2015); Deeds v. Univ. of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 110 A.3d 1009, 1013, reargument denied (2015) appeal dismissed sub. nom.  Deeds ex rel. Renzulli v. University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 128 A.3d 764 (Pa. Super. 2015).  

While the Welker court agreed that none of these cases were binding upon it, nor was the issue discussed in any great detail in any of those opinions, the Welker court still found the decision to be instructive and was not persuaded that these decisions were wrongly decided.   

In a footnote, the Welker court also noted that the decisions issued in the above cited cases were issued prior to recent political events “which cast the long-turn existence of the ACA into doubt.   The case for excluding calculations based upon the ACA is only stronger now.”  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  

I send thanks to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg office of Schmidt Kramer for sending this case to my attention. 



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