Supreme Court Rules North Carolina Not Entitled To Settlement Money

March 21, 2013

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled North Carolina is not entitled to collect one-third of a Taylorsville girl’s medical malpractice settlement.

In 2000, the girl suffered birth injuries while being delivered by a doctor with a history of drug abuse. Her injuries left her deaf and blind, as well as unable to sit up or walk for the past thirteen years. She also suffers from a condition that leaves her subject to seizures on a regular basis.

The girl’s parents filed a North Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawsuit against the doctor and were awarded a $2.8 million settlement in 2006; however, North Carolina officials claimed they could collect up to one-third of the award under a law designed to help float the state Medicaid program. The law entitled the state to the lesser of either the total Medicaid spending on the victim or one-third of the settlement total.

The case was taken before the Supreme Court in October of last year and yesterday, a decision was reached in a 6-3 vote that the state had no right to a portion of the settlement. An opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy explained that federal laws pre-empt the state from collecting such a large portion of an award.

The North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys with HensonFuerst hope the decision helps brings some closure to the family of the victim.

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