United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
J. BARBIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Remand (Rec. Doc.
4) filed by Plaintiff Crescent City Surgical Centre
(“Crescent”) on April 18, 2019. Defendants,
Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana, Inc., Humana Health
Plan, Inc., and Humana Insurance Company (collectively
referred to as “Humana”), filed an opposition
response on April 30, 2019 (Rec. Doc. 10).
Crescent then filed a reply on May 7, 2019 (Rec. Doc.
15). Having considered the briefs, the parties'
submissions, the record, and the applicable law, the Court
finds, for the reasons expressed below, that the Motion
to Remand should be GRANTED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
initially filed this action on October 5, 2018 in
Louisiana's 24th Judicial District in Jefferson Parish.
After six months of state court litigation, Humana removed
the case to this Court on April 18, 2019.
is a medical provider in Jefferson Parish. (Rec. Doc. 1-3).
Humana is a health insurance company. Crescent's
complaint in state court alleged state law claims such as
breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.
Crescent repeatedly and exhaustively disclaims any and all
potential claims under federal law, as well as any derivative
claims it may have on behalf of its clients. Id.
Crescent's claims arise from the same basic set of facts.
Although Crescent is not an “in-network” provider
under Humana's insurance plans, it regularly provides
medical care to Humana customers. As part of this
arrangement, Humana utilizes an online portal at humana.com
to confirm coverage and communicate to Crescent the portion
of Crescent's patients' medical bill that Humana will
pay. Crescent alleges that beginning in 2011 Humana started
paying them significantly less than what it represented on
the web portal. Id.
answer, Humana asserted Employee Retirement Income Security
Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et
seq., . preemption as an affirmative defense. Id. at
32. However, it did not seek to remove until it
received patient files from Crescent on March 27, 2019. (Rec.
Doc. No. 10 at 3-4). Included in the patient files were
copies of “Patient Agreements” that Crescent had
executed with its patients. The “Patient
Agreements” contained an assignment to Crescent of
patients' reimbursement rights under ERISA. Humana used
the discovery of the ERISA assignments in the “Patient
Agreements” as its basis for removal. Id.
presents two arguments in support of its Motion to
Remand. First, Crescent argues that Humana's removal
was untimely because it was more than thirty days after the
initial complaint in state court. Second, Crescent asserts
that there is no federal question jurisdiction here.
Specifically, Crescent refutes Humana's assertion that
ERISA preemption gives rise to federal jurisdiction over this
Crescent's first argument, Humana counters that its
removal was timely, because it removed the case within thirty
days of discovering the basis for removal. Furthermore,
Humana states that ERISA preemption does apply to
Crescent's claims, and therefore federal jurisdiction
exists over them.
STANDARD AND DISCUSSION
seeks remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and
untimely removal. Because the Court finds it lacks subject
matter jurisdiction in this case, it is not necessary to
address the issue of timeliness.