ERISA Health Insurance Liens

For years US Supreme Court rulings have strengthened ERISA liens to the dismay of plaintiffs across the country. The most recent US Supreme Court ruling in Montanile v. Board of Trustees allows plaintiffs to regain some leverage in negotiating and fighting ERISA liens.

  1. Where ERISA Liens Began

In 2005, the US Supreme Court decided Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic (see link below for case citation) and held an ERISA based plan may seek reimbursement from a third party settlement. For the next ten years, every case to follow strengthened the ERISA plans’ positions.

  1. Plaintiffs fight back.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled on Montanile v. Board of Trustees (see link below for case citation), holding When an ERISA-plan participant wholly dissipates a third-party settlement on nontraceable items, the plan fiduciary may not bring suit under 502(a)(3) to attach the participant’s separate assets.

  1. Conclusion

Accident cases can become extremely complex with multiple layers of legal maneuvering. This article’s purpose is simply to scratch the surface of your options when facing an ERISA lien. It is not meant as an exhaustive or complete answer to these complex questions. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the author.

Additional Resources:

(Sereboff) https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/05pdf/05-260.pdf

(Montanile) https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-723_1bn2.pdf