Blankenbaker v. Jonovich
In Blankenbaker v. Jonovich, 205 Ariz. 383, 71 P.3d 910, CV-02-0340-PR, slip op. at P1 (July 2, 2003), the court reviewed Arizona's statutory scheme for health care provider liens and decided that such liens may not be enforced against patients. Id.
In reaching that conclusion, the court reasoned that although A.R.S. 33-931 and -932 dictate when a lien arises, these provisions do not identify the parties against whom the lien may be enforced. Id. at P14.
Rather, " 33-934 expressly delineates the parties against whom an enforcement action may be brought: 'the claimant or assignee of the lien or assignment may enforce the lien or assignment by action against the person, firm, or corporation liable for damages.'" Id. at P17.
The court further decided the lien attaches solely to "claims" of liability or indemnity rather than any proceeds emanating from these claims. Id. at P19, n.8.
Thus, a health care provider lien can only be enforced against parties liable for damages as a result of a patient's injuries and cannot be enforced against persons or entities holding settlement or judgment proceeds paid by or on behalf of the tortfeasors. Id.