Appeal From Allotment of Malpractice Settlement to State Healthcare Agency - Injury & Tort Law - U.S. Tenth Circuit
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Appeal From Allotment of Malpractice Settlement to State Healthcare Agency

Price v. Wolford, No. 09-6139, involved the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA)'s appeal from the district court's order allotting part of a malpractice settlement to OHCA in full satisfaction of the lien.  The court of appeals reversed, on the ground that the district court correctly construed Oklahoma law but erred in finding that the settling parties had proved by clear and convincing evidence that only $67,666.67 of the settlement could be attributed to medical care paid by Medicaid.

As the court wrote:  "The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) asserted a $544,282.26
Medicaid lien on a $1.1 million settlement of Plaintiffs' malpractice suit against Dr. Dale Wolford. The district court, however, allotted OHCA only $67,666.67 in full satisfaction of the lien. OHCA appeals, contending (1) that the district court lost jurisdiction of the malpractice litigation when OHCA's intervention as a defendant destroyed diversity of citizenship; (2) that the district court erred in not conducting an evidentiary hearing at which OHCA could challenge the reduction of its lien; and (3) that the district court did not comply with Oklahoma law when it reduced OHCA's lien. We reject the jurisdictional argument because the supplemental-jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1367, permitted the joinder of OHCA as a nondiverse defendant. We reject OHCA's second contention because it did not timely request an evidentiary hearing. As for its final contention, we hold that the district court correctly construed Oklahoma law but erred in finding that the settling parties had proved by clear and convincing evidence that only $67,666.67 of the settlement could be attributed to medical care paid by Medicaid. We therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings."

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