In Morrow v. Community Health Sys's, Inc., No. 3-16-cv-1953, 2017 WL 4641797 (M.D. Tenn. October 17, 2017), the Court denied a defendant's motion to compel arbitration. Rarely do any of us quote long passages from any source. For one thing, quoting long swatches of someone else's writing is frowned upon in writing generally, and in writing about legal issues in particular.
But sometimes the way in which the story is told in the original is so concise and to the point that it cannot easily be improved upon.
Such is the case here.
The District Judge laid out precisely what claims were involved. This is the predicate for why the Court denied arbitration of these claims (even if it is not the legal reason for its decision):
The First Amended Complaint in this purported class action (Docket No. 73) alleges that Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”) and its direct and indirect subsidiaries (“affiliates”) have a policy and practice of breaching their provider contracts with health insurers, causing monetary damages to third-party beneficiaries of those contracts, including Plaintiff and other potential class members. Plaintiff contends that CHS and its affiliates are required by their provider contracts to submit the bills of insured patients to their respective health insurance carriers and to accept the insurer's contractually agreed-upon discounted payment as full payment for those bills, minus any co-pays or deductibles owed by the patients.
Instead, Plaintiff asserts, the policies and practices of CHS and its affiliates require CHS-owned hospitals to either (1) refuse to submit the medical bills to the patient's health insurance carrier; (2) submit the medical bills to the patient's health insurance carrier, but then refund the insurer's discounted payment and try to collect a larger payment from another source, usually the patient or a third-party tortfeasor; or (3) submit the medical bills to the patient's health insurance carrier, keep the insurer's discounted payment, and then still try to collect the balance of the undiscounted charges from another source, including the patient.
Small wonder that these claims are being pursued in the lawsuit in which they were alleged, albeit under one count or claim: unjust enrichment. The District Court in this case granted the defendant's alternative motion to dismiss as to alleged claims for breach of contract, intentional interference, and conspiracy. The Tennessee Court applied substantive Alabama law to all these claims.
To say again, the Court totally denied the defendant's motion to compel arbitration. Since there was no contract between the parties according to the Court's rulings, it follows that there was no contract provision which could require arbitration.
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