Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Son of Payback



Doe v. Vermont Office of Health Access, 2012 VT 15A.

Don’t sequels always disappoint?  Today’s case is a re-publishing of a decision that the SCOV issued back in March and was first summarized here


Since then, it appears that the parties, most likely the State, has asked for re-argument and modification to the original decision.  Such requests are common, but they are rarely granted.  It looks like something in the State’s brief struck a chord.

The revision does not change the outcome.  The trial court is reversed, and the amount that the State gets to claim against Plaintiff’s New York State settlements is still limited to the amount of payments actually made. 

In fact, the primary alterations come around paragraphs 22, 23, and 24.  The new version chops the SCOV’s broader analysis, which included an entire paragraph dedicated to discussing an analogous Arizona case.  The SCOV also makes clear that their analysis stops short of any comment on the post-2008 statutory revisions to the state Medicaid lien provisions. 

The result is a shorter decision with tighter reasoning.  The SCOV’s new section reads more decisively. 

So that is all.  The case is revised and arguably improved.  It shows that the SCOV is writing with several audiences in mind.  First, this change likely came from a party’s motion, but it also serves the broader legal audience as the final decision becomes a better and more persuasive document.  

But like any sequel, this is just a retread of the original.

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