Supreme Court Review 2017/2018 TERM

Issue:  Federal Employees Health Benefits Act

Coventry Health Care of Missouri v. Nevils



(1) Whether the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act pre-empts state laws that prevent carriers from seeking subrogation or reimbursement pursuant to their FEHBA contracts; and (2) whether FEHBA's express-pre-emption provision, 5 U.S.C. § 8902(m)(1), which expressly “preempt[s] any State or local law” that would prevent enforcement of “the terms of any contract” between the Office of Personnel Management and a carrier which “relate to the nature, provision, or extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits)[,]” violates the supremacy clause.


Decided April 18, 2017 HOLDING

Because contractual subrogation and reimbursement prescriptions plainly “relate to . . . payments with respect to benefits,” §8902(m)(1), they override state laws barring subrogation and reimbursement.

Agree image Justice Kagan
Agree Kagan
Agree image Justice Alito
Agree Alito
Author image Justice Ginsburg
Author Ginsburg
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree Concur image Justice Thomas
Agree Concur Thomas
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Agree image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Sotomayor
Recused image Justice Gorsuch
Recused Gorsuch

GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all other Members joined, except GORSUCH, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion.

Text of Opinion
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Argued March 1, 2017

On Behalf of Petitioner Coventry Health Care of Missouri, Inc., fka Group Healt
Miguel A. Estrada, Washington, D. C.
On Behalf of United States as Amicus Curiae supporting Petitioner
Zachary D. Tripp, Assistant to the Solicitor General, De-partment of Justice, Washington, D. C.
On Behalf of Respondent Jodie Nevils
Matthew Wessler, Washington, D. C.
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Merit Briefs
Brief for Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for Respondent (pdf download)
Reply Brief for Petitioner (pdf download)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Brief for America’s Health Insurance Plans and Association of Federal Health Organizations in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for Constitutional and Administrative Law Scholars in Support of Respondent (pdf download)
Brief for Montana, Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, (pdf download)
Brief for National Governors Association and Other State and Local Organizations in Support of Respondent (pdf download)
Brief for the American Association for Justice in Support of Respondent (pdf download)
Brief for The Chamber Of Commerce Of The United States Of America in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys in Support of Respondent (pdf download)
Brief for The United States As in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)


Granted November 4, 2016

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)


Supreme Court of Missouri
Decided May 3, 2016
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