Treasurer, Trustees of Drury Ind. v. Goding, et al.

Court: U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

Docket: 11-2885

Opinion Date: September 7, 2012

Judge: Melloy

Areas of Law: ERISA, Injury Law, Insurance Law

Defendant Goding was a beneficiary of an Employee Retirement Insurance Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., Plan administered by Drury. Goding sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident and received benefits from the Drury-administered Plan, as well as compensation through the settlement of a civil suit related to those injuries. Pursuant to a subrogation provision in the ERISA Plan, Drury attempted to secure reimbursement from Goding for the benefits it paid but was unable to do so after Goding declared bankruptcy. Drury then attempted to obtain that reimbursement from the firm that represented Goding. The court affirmed the district court’s finding that Drury could not obtain such reimbursement because the firm had not agreed to the Plan’s subrogation provision and consequently was not contractually bound by it; Drury could not maintain a suit against the firm in equity and could not bring a state cause of action for conversion against the firm; and the firm should be awarded attorneys’ fees for successful defense of a subsequent motion.