Three new opinions

Being a lawyer and a sometimes blogger was hard enough. But lawyer, blogger, teacher/daycare worker, and repository of pandemic anxiety? It doesn’t always work. Sorry for my delayed write-ups. All three cases are above-average significant.

Plastic Surgery Ctr. v. Aetna Life Insurance—civil / insurance—partial reversal—Krause

It’s an ERISA case so I don’t even feel guilty about just quoting the opening paragraph:

This case presents an issue of first impression for this Circuit and of great importance to the healthcare industry: What remedies are available to an out-of-network healthcare provider when an insurer agrees to pay for the provision of services that are not otherwise available in-network and then reneges on that promise? To frame the question in statutory terms, in what circumstances does section 514(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq., which preempts state laws that “relate to” ERISA plans, preempt an out-of-network provider from pursuing common law breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment claims? The District Court held the provider’s claims here were preempted. We disagree as to the breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims, so we will affirm, in part, and reverse, in part.

Joining Krause were Matey and Quiñonees Alejandro EDPA by designation. Arguing counsel were Michael DiCicco of Maggs & McDermott for the appellant and Colin O’Boyle of Elliott Greenleaf for the appellees.


Teamsters Local 177 v. UPS—civil / arbitration—reversal—Ambro

Taking sides in a circuit-split, the Third Circuit yesterday held that a district court has jurisdiction to confirm an arbitration award regardless whether there is an active dispute between the parties over the award. The court rejected the arbitration loser’s argument that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because it’s agreement to abide by the award meant there was no Article III standing.

Joining Ambro were Jordan and Shwartz. Arguing counsel were Edward O’Hare of Zazzali Fagella for the appellant and Michael Dell of Day Pitney for the appellee.


Williams v. Medley Opportunity Fund—civil / insurance—affirmance—Shwartz

The Third Circuit rejected a payday lender’s creative effort to channel any disputes over its loans to binding arbitration before a tribal arbitrator who would apply only tribal law, not state or federal statutes. The lender’s attempted end-run around federal usury protections was unenforceable as a prospective waiver of statutory rights, the court held.

Joining Shwartz were Scirica and Cowen. Arguing counsel were Daniel Volchok of WilmerHale and Sarah Harris of Williams & Connolly for the payday lenders and former Nygaard clerk Matthew Wessler of Gupta Wessler for the borrowers.