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Renal Care Group Indiana, LLC v. City of Fort Wayne

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

January 16, 2018

RENAL CARE GROUP INDIANA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF FORT WAYNE, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on a Motion to Certify Issue for Interlocutory Appeal [ECF No. 29] filed by Defendant City of Fort Wayne. The Plaintiff, Renal Care Group Indiana, LLC (RCG), filed its Response [ECF No. 33] on December 6, 2017. The City timely filed its Reply [ECF No. 34]. The matter is therefore fully briefed and ripe for review.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The following background is taken from the pleadings. The Plaintiff, a domestic corporation organized under the laws of Delaware with its principal place of business in Waltham, Massachusetts, operates a dialysis facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1.) The Defendant operates a municipal retiree health benefits plan, the City of Fort Wayne Employee Benefit Plan (Plan), which provides health care medical benefits to municipal retirees. (Answer ¶ 2, ECF No. 6.) One participant in the Defendant's Plan, the Patient, [1] received treatment at the Plaintiff's dialysis facility in Fort Wayne. (Compl. ¶ 1.) The Plan provided health care coverage for the Patient from March 11, 2014, through May 31, 2014. (Answer ¶ 9.)

         During that time period, the Defendant paid the Plaintiff directly for the dialysis services that the Patient received from the Plaintiff at an agreed rate set by an insurance network, the Parkview Signature Network. (Id. at ¶ 24.) On June 1, 2014, the Patient became entitled to Medicare coverage based on the Patient's end-stage renal disease (ESRD) diagnosis. (Id. at ¶ 25.) Because the Patient was newly eligible for Medicare, the City terminated the Patient's coverage under the Plan beginning on June 1, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 26.) The City admits that it “took into account the Patient's eligibility for and entitlement to Medicare and terminated coverage for the Patient so that he would no longer be covered by the Plan beginning June 1, 2014.” (Id. at ¶ 27.)

         On February 23, 2017, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint [ECF No. 1] against the City, which the City Answered [ECF No. 6] on April 3, 2017. In its Complaint, the Plaintiff brought four causes of action against the Defendant: Declaratory relief under the federal Declaratory Act (Count I) or, in the alternative, under the Indiana Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act (Count II); breach of contract (Count III); and a private cause of action under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (Count IV). Based upon the above facts, RCG moved for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Count I [ECF No. 24]. After the parties briefed the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, the Court issued an Opinion and Order [ECF No. 28] granting the Motion. The City now asks the Court to certify the following issue for interlocutory appeal:

Whether the Medicare Secondary Payer Act and the Indiana Code directly conflict and, if so, whether the Medicare Secondary Payer Act preempts the Indiana Code to the extent necessary to effectuate the Medicare Secondary Payer Act's ESRD Discrimination Prohibitions.

(Def. Mot. to Certify Issue for Interlocutory Appeal 1.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Requests for interlocutory appeal are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b):

When a district judge, in making in a civil action an order not otherwise appealable under this section, shall be of the opinion that such order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, he shall so state in writing in such order. The Court of Appeals which would have jurisdiction of an appeal of such action may thereupon, in its discretion, permit an appeal to be taken from such order, if application is made to it within ten days after the entry of the order: Provided, however, That application for an appeal hereunder shall not stay proceedings in the district court unless the district judge or the Court of Appeals or a judge thereof shall so order.

         There are four statutory criteria for an interlocutory appeal: “[T]here must be a question of law, it must be controlling, it must be contestable, and its resolution must promise to speed up the litigation.” Ahrenholz v. Bd. of Trs., 219 F.3d 674, 675 (7th Cir. 2000).[2] The moving party bears the burden to satisfy each statutory factor. Id. Additionally, the moving party must demonstrate that exceptional circumstances justify a departure from the normal course of taking an appeal after the entry of final judgment. Smith v. Ford Motor Co., 908 F.Supp. 590, 600 (N.D. Ind. 1995). Further, “[t]he decision of whether to grant an interlocutory appeal is discretionary, ” and such relief should be granted sparingly. Id.

         ANALYSIS

         The Defendant has asked the Court to certify the following ...


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