MSNJ Files Brief in US Supreme Court Advocating for Class Arbitration

By: Melinda Martinson, MSNJ General Counsel

On March 1, MSNJ joined the AMA filing an amici curiae—friends of the court– brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Oxford v. Sutter. This case presents the important question of whether physicians may arbitrate as a class when the insurer participation agreement requires that all disputes be submitted to arbitration. The matter is before the Supreme Court, not as a matter of right, but because the high Court granted Oxford’s petition for certiorari signaling that it will reach this important class arbitration issue.

MSNJ and the AMA assert that mandated arbitration without the right to arbitrate as a class leaves “no practical means of enforcing contracts with insurers” and is tantamount to no recourse at all. Dr. Sutter was mandated by Oxford to arbitrate his disputes in 2002. The arbitrator allowed the matter to proceed as a class. Oxford objected, litigated, and has lost at every level of appeal in the courts. Dr. Sutter and all physicians similarly situated, including MSNJ members, have been without a remedy for over ten years.

Read the brief for more details.

About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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