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Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield v. St Vincent Infirmary Medical Center
October 12, 2007
ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD, A MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND USABLE CORPORATION PLAINTIFFS
ST VINCENT INFIRMARY MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. DEFENDANTS
This case is presently assigned by random draw to Judge James M. Moody. Plaintiffs and defendants have both given Notice of Related Case under General Order Number 39. Plaintiff seeks to have the case assigned to Judge James M. Moody asserting that the instant case is closely related to the prior case of Prudential Insurance Company of America v. National Park Medical Center, Docket No. 4:95CV514 JMM. Defendants have filed an opposition to plaintiffs' Notice of Related Case filed and have filed their own Notice of Related Case seeking to have the case assigned to Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes who decided the case of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a Mutual Insurance Company and USAble v. St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center; Little Rock Cardiology Clinic PA; Little Rock HMA d/b/a Southwest Regional Medical Enter and Attorney General of the State of Arkansas, Docket NO. 4:03CV00662 JLH.
Both of the prior cases involve the application of the Arkansas Patient Protection Act of 1995, Ark. Code Ann. § 23-99-201, et seq, popularly known as the "any willing provider law." The Prudential case decided by Judge Moody related to whether the Arkansas Patient Protection Act was preempted by ERISA and, if so, whether enforcement of the of the Act should be enjoined. The Blue Cross case decided by Judge Holmes was a declaratory judgment action between Blue Cross and USAble as plaintiffs against the same medical providers who are defendants in the present case. The suit resulted from alleged threats by the medical providers to seek money damages for the period of time when the injunction was in effect. The claims asserted in the present case are essentially identical to the ones in the case before Judge Holmes and the parties are the same. It could easily be concluded that both prior cases are related to the present case.
The Eastern District of Arkansas strongly subscribes to the notion of random selection of Judges for all cases. The primary purpose of General Order #39 is to promote judicial economy and the savings of judicial resources in those cases where a particular Judge had devoted considerable time and effort to become familiar with issues and could more efficiently apply that familiarity to another similar case. That rationale does not apply in the case now before the Court. Both Judges Homes and Moody have familiarity with the issues from past experience and there would be no significant judicial economy effected by invoking General Order #39.
The case will remain assigned to Judge Moody by random draw.
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 12 day of October, 2007.
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