JULY 2007 BAD FAITH CASES BAD FAITH CLAIM PREEMPTED BY ERISA (Third Circuit)

    

In Scheibler v. Highmark Blue Shield, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was confronted with the issue of a bad faith claim due to an alleged failure to provide health benefits to an employee’s husband.  In Scheibler, an employee and her husband filed a complaint against an insurer alleging wrongful denial of payment for surgery performed on an employee’s husband.  The complaint alleged, among other things, a claim for bad faith denial of insurance pursuant to 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §8371.  The District Court, however, dismissed plaintiff’s complaint holding that plaintiff’s claims were preempted by §502 (a) and §514 (a) of ERISA.  On appeal, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety and held that state law claims are preempted by ERISA if the claim could have been subject to civil enforcement under §502 (a). 

June 5, 2007

Scheibler v. Highmark Blue Shield, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, No. 06-1277, 2007 U.S. App.  LEXIS 12977 (3rd Cir. June 5, 2007) (Hardiman, J.)