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Ibson v. United Healthcare Servs., Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 18, 2014

CeCelia Catherine Ibson, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
United Healthcare Services, Inc., Defendant - Appellee

Submitted May 15, 2014

Petition for certiorari filed at, 03/12/2015

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Des Moines.

For CeCelia Catherine Ibson Plaintiff - Appellant: Donald G. Beattie, BEATTIE LAW FIRM, Des Moines, IA.

CeCelia Catherine Ibson Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Des Moines, IA.

For United Healthcare Services, Inc., Defendant - Appellee: Jay S. Blumenkopf, GONZALEZ & SAGGIO, Boca Raton, FL; Jerilyn Jacobs, GONZALEZ & SAGGIO, Milwaukee, WI; Kerrie Marie Murphy, GONZALEZ & SAGGIO, West Des Moines, IA.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BEAM and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 942

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

CeCelia Catherine Ibson and her family were insured by United Healthcare Services, Inc. (UHS) through a policy available to her to as a member of her law firm. Due to an error, UHS began informing Ibson's medical providers that Ibson and her family no longer had insurance coverage. Although UHS eventually paid the claims it should have paid all along, Ibson initiated this action against UHS raising state law claims of breach of contract, negligence, and bad faith, and seeking punitive damages. UHS responded that Ibson's claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and barred by the policy's three-year contractual limitations period. The district court agreed with UHS and entered summary judgment against Ibson. Ibson appeals, asserting the same arguments presented below. We agree with the district court that Ibson's state law claims are preempted under ERISA, however

Page 943

we disagree with the district court's entry of summary judgment on the basis of the three-year contractual limitations period. Thus, we reverse the entry of summary judgment and remand the matter to the district court for further proceedings.

I.

Ibson began working as an associate in an Iowa law firm in 2002. She declined her law firm's health care coverage because she was covered under her husband's employer-provided group health coverage. In 2003, Ibson became a shareholder in the firm. On March 6, 2004, Ibson applied to UHS for health insurance coverage for herself and her family under the law firm's group health coverage. Each shareholder of the law firm was responsible for his or her own premium payments, however the firm paid 90% of its covered employees' premiums for single coverage. The law firm remitted payment to the insurance ...


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