Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii

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Health insurers do not have a broad, unrestricted right of subrogation against third-party tortfeasors who cause injury to their insureds but, rather, are limited to reimbursement rights established by statute. In this personal injury case, the circuit court ruled that Haw. Rev. Stat. 663-10 and/or Haw. Rev. Stat. 431:13-103(a)(1) abrogated Hawai’i Medical Service Association’s (HMSA) contractual and common law rights in subrogation against a third-party tortfeasors responsible for injury to its insured. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a health insurer does not have equitable subrogation rights against a third-party tortfeasor in the context of personal injures; (2) a health insurer’s subrogation and reimbursement rights are limited by section 663-10 and section 431-13:103(a)(1); (3) any contractual provision that conflicts with section 663-10 is invalid; and (4) section 663-10 takes precedence over HMSA’s subrogation rights. View "Yukumoto v. Tawarahara" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs - Pacific Radiation Oncology LLC (PRO) and several doctors - sued Queens Medical Center (QMC), which provided radiation oncology therapy services to patients of PRO using equipment and services provided by QMC, after QMC notified Plaintiffs that only physicians employed by QMC could provide professional radiation oncology services at QMC. QMC counterclaimed, alleging that Plaintiffs steered cancer patients away from QMC in violation of unfair competition principles. During litigation, QMC’s law firm publicly filed a list naming 132 patients PRO was alleged to have diverted. The patients were not parties to the underlying lawsuit, but nineteen of them were granted intervenor status. Plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to prevent further violations of patient privacy. The magistrate judge found the 132 cancer patients’ confidential medical records to be relevant to the parties’ claims and counterclaims. On appeal, the district court certified questions to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered (1) pursuant to Haw. Const. art. I, 6 the parties cannot use or be compelled to produce confidential patient medical records, even if sufficiently de-identified, in litigation where the patient is not a party; and (2) that provision protects the health information of the patient intervenors to this case. View "Pacific Radiation Oncology, LLC v. Queen’s Med. Ctr." on Justia Law