In the MATTER OF the ESTATE OF Khyree MARTIN, a Minor George Prange, as Vice President and Trust Officer of Bank of the Ozarks and Guardian of the Estate of Khyree Martin, a Minor, and the Estate of Khyree Martin, Appellants
Arkansas Department of Human Services, Appellee
Rehearing Denied April 24, 2019
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60PR-17-903], HONORABLE MACKIE M. PIERCE, JUDGE
Brad Hendricks Law Firm, P.A., Little Rock, by: George R.
Wise; and Brian G. Brooks, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brian
G. Brooks, for appellants.
Shanice Johnson, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
J. GLADWIN, Judge
Appellants, George Prange, as vice president and trust
officer of Bank of the Ozarks and guardian of the estate of
Khyree Martin, a minor, and the estate of Khyree Martin
(collectively, the Estate) appeal the March 28, 2018 order of
the Pulaski County Circuit Court awarding full reimbursement
of the Medicaid lien in the sum of $ 260,209.99 in favor of
appellee Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). The
Estate argues that the circuit court erred in its
determination of what portion of a tort settlement for the
injured minor should be available to satisfy DHSs lien for
past medical expenses consistent with the holdings in
Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services v.
Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 68, 126 S.Ct. 1752, 164 L.Ed.2d 459
(2006), and Wos v. E.M.A. ex rel. Johnson, 568 U.S.
627, 133 S.Ct. 1391, 185 L.Ed.2d 471 (2013), and pursuant to
Arkansas Code Annotated section 20-77-315(a) and (b) (Repl.
2014). We affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
undisputed that Khyree was profoundly brain injured at birth.
Through his mother, he sued the doctor and the hospital for
negligently causing his injuries and reached separate
compromised settlements with both the doctor and the hospital
totaling $ 4,450,000.
sought to enforce the full amount of an undisputed $
260,209.99 lien for past medical expenses that it had
paid on Khyrees behalf against the proceeds of the
settlement, but the Estate sought to have the lien reduced
proportionally to be consistent with the percentage the
settlement represented Khyrees alleged total damages. The
Estate requested that the circuit court allocate or apportion
the settlement funds and hear evidence and argument regarding
both parties positions, which DHS opposed.
hearing was held by the circuit court during which testimony
was taken and documents were introduced setting forth what
the Estate considered to be Khyrees
full damages. The evidence indicated that Khyree is
profoundly brain damaged and suffers from a form of cerebral
palsy. He is unable to walk, talk, or see, and he is fed
through a feeding tube. Khyree is unable to tend to any of
his own needs and likely will require twenty-four-hour-a-day
care for the rest of his life. The Estate introduced what it
claims is the minimum cost to provide future care for Khyree,
reduced to present value, of $ 25,382,130.72. Evidence was
also introduced as to the Estates estimate for the minimum
loss of capacity to work and of fringe benefits to Khyree,
reduced to a present value, of $ 795,753.52. The Estate
submitted that a reasonable jury verdict in favor of Khyree
for other damages including pain and suffering and mental
anguish is $ 6,000,000. Evidence was also submitted that
Medicaid, through DHS, paid $ 260,209.99 for past medical
expenses for Khyree and that the amount of that undisputed
lien would have been presented as evidence of past medical
expenses if the case had proceeded to trial. Accordingly, the
Estate submitted that the total damages suffered by Khyree
are, at minimum and reduced to present value where
appropriate, $ 32,438,094.23; but there was no stipulation by
the parties with respect to that amount or evidence as to an
allocation of the $ 4,450,000 settlement.
Estate noted that it settled the case for roughly 13 percent
of its estimated value of the total damages in order to avoid
the risk of (1) a defense verdict or a verdict lower than the
estimated damages and (2) the larger portion of fault
potentially being allocated to the physician who was
sued rather than the hospital. The Estate
asked DHS to compromise by reducing its lien ...