Filing. Published in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division on August 31, 2020 (Case no. 2:18-cv-00808-HCN-DAO).
Background. Plaintiffs filed both an ERISA 1132(a)(1)(B) recovery of benefits claim and a 1132(a)(3) Parity Act violation claim. Plaintiffs filed a motion to conduct discovery on the second claim. Defendant initially denied coverage based on a lack of authorization for RTC treatment for Plaintiff’s daughter. The denial of care was upheld because the internal level of care guidelines recommended a less intensive setting.
Holding. Judge Daphne A. Oberg granted Plaintiffs’ Motion to Conduct Discovery.
Analysis. The Court reinforced the finding from other decisions that the Parity Act violation claim is legally and factually distinct from their ERISA claim. The Judge noted further the legal and factual distinctions between the Plaintiffs’ two causes of action undercut the Defendants’ argument that the Parity Act claim is just a repackaged ERISA claim for benefits. She added discovery is necessary when plaintiffs allege an as-applied violation of the Parity Act. Limiting discovery to the plan documents and prelitigation appeal record, as the Defendants propose, will improperly hamstring the Plaintiffs’ ability to prove a violation of the Parity Act as And finally, the Judge noted the Defendants objection to the relevance, scope and proportionality of the discovery request is premature.