North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co.

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NCMC filed suit alleging that Aetna underpaid out-of-network providers like NCMC in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and Texas law. Aetna counterclaimed, alleging that NCMC fraudulently and negligently misrepresented its billing practices by routinely waiving patient responsibilities yet billing Aetna for the total out-of-network cost. The Fifth Circuit held that Aetna's reliance on any alleged misrepresentation by NCMC was not justifiable and Aetna failed to establish a conflict in substantial evidence on this element of its fraud and negligent representation claims; any error in excluding Aetna's damages expert was harmless, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence of physician compensation; the district court abused its discretion by denying Aetna leave to amend without providing reasons; but denial of leave to amend was warranted because Aetna's counterclaims were untimely and unduly prejudicial to NCMC. In regard to NCMC's cross-appeal, the court held that any error in denying NCMC's motion to compel was harmless; the district court therefore did not err in granting Aetna's Rule 52(c) motion for judgment as a matter of law; but the district court's order denying attorney fees must be vacated and remanded for an explanation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law