Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh Case Brief

Facts of the Case

A health insurance carrier under a federal program sued the administratrix of the estate of a former federal, seeking reimbursement of the’s medicalfrom a settlement between the administratrix and tortfeasors. Under the FederalHealth


Should a court apply the Chevron doctrine and defer to an agency’s interpretation of its jurisdiction under a particular law when that interpretation is called into question?


In a 5-to-4 decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that jurisdiction for this case lay in state court. Justice Ginsburg pointed out that while FEHBA stated that any claims against the United States would be heard in federal district court, it made no provisions for suits brought by insurers seeking to recoup medical expenses from private beneficiaries. Absent that specific provision, a significant conflict with an identifiable federal interest, or the need to resolve a substantial question of federal law in order to establish the insurer’s right to recovery, there was no reason to depart from the ordinarily-governing state law. Justices Breyer, Kennedy, Souter and Alito dissented.

Case Information

Citation: 547 US 677 (2006)
Granted: Jan 6, 2006
Argued: Apr 25, 2006
Decided: Jun 15, 2006
Case Brief: 2006