No Health-Care Case as Supreme Court Term Begins


Health-care cases are missing from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017 docket as the court’s term begins Oct. 2. Plenty of cases that could affect the health-care industry, however, are pending.

Several court-watchers also expect new requests for review of health-care cases in the next few months that stand a reasonable chance of being granted.

Cases that could have a tremendous impact on health-care stakeholders include the very first to be argued. A trio of lawsuits have been consolidated for an argument in which the high court will consider the legality of arbitration agreements that prohibit employees from pursuing class or collective actions under the National Labor Relations Act and whether they are barred by the Federal Arbitration Act.

The case raises hopes for a petition for review “about to be filed,” other experienced court litigators told me. In Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said victims of a health-care data breach could sue the health insurer whose negligence allegedly led to the breach in a class action. The appeals court recently entered final judgment, so the insurer could ask the Supreme Court to decide if the plaintiff class suffered enough of an injury to bring the suit.

It’s also possible the Supreme Court could grant review in a series of cases in which anti-abortion pregnancy centers challenged a California law requiring them to notify patients they don’t provide or give referrals for abortion services. The petitions were scheduled for consideration at the court’s Sept. 25 conference, but have been rescheduled, possibly to include consideration of a newly filed petition.

As the term goes on, more cases are expected to percolate up through the federal appeals courts, so stay tuned!

Read my preview on health care in the 2017 Supreme Court term here.

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