U.S. justices to hear drunken driving victim's medical expenses case

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 30, 2015 10:06 AM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider whether a man injured by a drunken driver in Florida is required to pay more than $120,000 in medical costs back to his health plan administrator.

The nine justices will hear an appeal filed by Robert Montanile, who required back surgery after the accident that took place in West Palm Beach in December 2008.

The Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, in which Montanile participated via his employer, ThyssenKrupp AG, paid $121,000 in medical expenses.

Montanile subsequently sued the drunken driver and obtained a $500,000 settlement, more than half of which went to legal fees and other expenses. The benefits plan then sought to recoup the $121,000, citing the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act.

The legal question is whether Montanile is required to pay even though he says he has already spent the money on legal bills and caring for himself and his daughter.

The case is 14-723 Montanile v. Board of Trustees, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-723.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)