U.S. v. Hadden
No. 1:08-CV-10, 2009 WL 2423114
(D. W.D. Ky, Aug. 6, 2009)
This case involved a pedestrian plaintiff, Mr. Hadden, who was struck by a utility truck as he was walking on a sidewalk. The accident was caused when an unidentified driver ran a stop sign thereby cutting off the utility truck causing it take evasive action. In doing so, the utility struck Mr. Hadden causing bodily injury. Mr. Hadden sued the utility truck driver but was unable to file suit against the driver who ran the stop sign (the phantom tortfeasor) as he/she could not be found.
Mr. Hadden eventually reached a settlement with the utility truck driver in the amount of $125,000. Medicare issued a conditional payment demand upon Mr. Hadden for approximately $64,252.37 (said figure representing the full amount of the conditional payments issued by Medicare less applicable procurement costs).
Mr. Hadden objected to Medicare’s conditional payment demand and requested that Medicare reduce or waive its claim based, in part, on “comparative fault” and “equitable allocation” principles. Mr. Hadden argued that based on the facts a reasonable fault allocation would be 10% against the utility truck driver (against who he could recover) and 90% against the unidentified driver (against who he could not recover). Accordingly, he argued that Medicare should have to reduce its claim to no more than 10% of the claimed principal amount. In addition, Mr. Hadden argued that Medicare’s claim should be reduced under the “compromise” and “waiver” provisions per the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs).
The court rejected all of Mr. Hadden’s arguments and ruled that Medicare was entitled to a full recovery of its claimed conditional payment amount. In reaching its decision, the court held that the principles of “comparative fault” and “equitable allocation” were inapplicable under the MSP. Furthermore, the court found that Mr. Hadden did not proffer sufficient evidence in support of his “compromise” and “waiver” arguments as required under the CFRs.
NOTE: This case was appealed and heard before the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on October 13, 2010. The appellate decision is pending. This appeal was brought by the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC). To learn more about MARC and/or this appeal please visit the MARC website at www.marccoalition.com