PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. v. Book

PETITIONER: PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Book
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 02-215
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

CITATION: 538 US 401 (2003)
DECIDED: Apr 07, 2003
ARGUED: Feb 24, 2003

ADVOCATES:
Joe R. Whatley, Jr. - Argued the cause for the respondents
William E. Grauer - Argued the cause for the petitioners

Facts of the case

A group of physicians filed suit against a number of managed-health-care organizations, alleging they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by failing to reimburse them for health-care services that they had provided to patients covered by the organizations' plans. The District Court refused to compel arbitration of the RICO claims on the ground that the arbitration clauses in the parties' agreements prohibited awards of punitive damages. Subsequently, the court found the arbitration agreements unenforceable. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Question

Can a group of physicians be compelled to arbitrate claims arising under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, even though the parties' arbitration agreements may be construed to limit the arbitrator's authority to award damages?

Media for PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. v. Book

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 24, 2003 in PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. v. Book

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 07, 2003 in PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. v. Book

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 02-215 PacificCare Health Systems Inc. versus Book will be announced by Justice Scalia.

Antonin Scalia:

This case is here on writ of certiorari in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

For the reason set forth in an opinion filed with the Clerk today, we reverse the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit and remand the case.

The opinion is unanimous.

Justice Thomas took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.