Commonwealth Health Corporation v. Croslin – Case Brief Summary (Kentucky)

In Commonwealth Health Corporation v. Croslin, Ky., 920 S.W.2d 46 (1996), Croslin, the appellee, had been a victim in an automobile accident and had recovered health insurance benefits under her employer's ERISA-governed welfare plan.

Both Croslin and the plan sought recovery against the tortfeasor- Croslin for damages and the plan for subrogation. Prior to trial, the plan settled its claim; whereupon, Croslin brought suit against the plan for attorney fees, on the ground that the plan had benefitted in its settlement negotiations from the work of Croslin's attorneys and so should contribute to their fee. On its own motion, the Supreme Court ordered the claim dismissed.

It noted that ERISA contains two sections related to pre-emption and ruled that under one of them, 29 U.S.C. § 1132--ERISA's civil enforcement section--jurisdiction over disputes between a plan and its beneficiaries has been delegated to federal court.