Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kobold v. Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

March 31, 2016

MATTHEW KOBOLD, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant/Appellee,
v.
AETNA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Third-Party Defendant/Appellant

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV2008-023699. The Honorable John A. Buttrick, Judge (Retired).

         Neil S. Sundeen Attorney at Law, Scottsdale, By Neil S. Sundeen, Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Counterdefendant/Appellee.

         Knapp & Roberts, P.C., By David L. Abney, Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Counterdefendant/Appellee.

         Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, Phoenix, By John C. West, Co-Counsel for Third-Party Defendant/Appellant.

         Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, D.C., By Miguel A. Estrada, Jonathan C. Bond, Co-Counsel for Third-Party Defendant/Appellant.

         United States Attorney's Office, Tucson, By Robert L. Miskell, Henry Charles Whitaker, Counsel for Amicus Curiae United States of America.

         Judge Peter B. Swann delivered the opinion of the court, in which Presiding Judge Patricia A. Orozco and Judge Kent E. Cattani joined.

          OPINION

         Peter B. Swann, Judge:

         [¶1] In Kobold v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 233 Ariz. 100, 309 P.3d 924 (App. 2013) (" Kobold I " ), we held that 5 U.S.C. § 8902(m)(1) of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act (" FEHBA" ) did not preempt Arizona law forbidding subrogation in personal injury cases. After the Arizona Supreme Court denied review, the Office of Personnel Management (" OPM" ) promulgated new regulations, set forth in 5 C.F.R. § 890.106, that construe § 8902(m)(1) to include subrogation and reimbursement terms in FEHBA contracts. In light of the new regulations, the United States Supreme Court vacated our opinion and remanded the case for reconsideration of the preemptive effect of the FEHBA. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Kobold, 135 S.Ct. 2886, 192 L.Ed.2d 918 (2015).[1] We hold that the statutory interpretation embodied in the new federal regulations is entitled to deference in accordance with Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984), and, accordingly, we are bound to interpret the FEHBA as preempting Arizona anti-subrogation law. We therefore reverse the superior court's entry of summary judgment for Kobold, and remand with instructions to grant Aetna's cross-motion for summary judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶2] Kobold was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2006. Aetna paid Kobold's medical providers almost $25,000 for his treatment related to the accident. Kobold later recovered $145,000 in a settlement with the parties allegedly responsible for the accident.

         [¶3] Under the terms of the insurance plan, and contrary to Arizona law, Aetna was entitled to subrogation and reimbursement in the event that Kobold recovered from a responsible third party. Relying on these contractual provisions, Aetna asserted a lien on the settlement proceeds for the medical expenses it had paid. The alleged tortfeasors deposited the disputed portion of the settlement sum with the superior court, and filed an interpleader action against Kobold and Aetna.

         [¶4] Kobold and Aetna filed cross-motions for summary judgment in which they disputed whether § 8902(m)(1) applies to subrogation and reimbursement provisions. The superior court ruled that the question had been resolved in Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh, 547 U.S. 677, 126 S.Ct. 2121, 165 L.Ed.2d 131 (2006), and granted summary judgment for Kobold. Aetna appealed.

         [¶5] Concluding that McVeigh had not in fact decided the issue, we affirmed based on our own interpretation of the statute. Applying principles of statutory construction, we held that subrogation and reimbursement provisions do not fall within the scope of § 8902(m)(1). We rejected Aetna's argument that we were required to defer to a contrary interpretation set forth in a position letter sent from the OPM to FEHBA carriers, holding that the letter was not entitled to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.