A paraplegic federal employee who used a wheelchair nevertheless completed an application. LTC denied coverage and affirmed the denial on reconsideration. The employee filed an EEOC complaint against OPM, alleging that OPM’s contract with LTC amounted to unlawful discrimination under the ADA. The EEOC rejected OPM’s argument that the claim amounted to an impermissible collateral attack on an unfavorable insurability decision by LTC.
LTC then filed suit in District Court (D.Md.) to enjoin the EEOC from asserting jurisdiction over its insurability decisions. It argued that such jurisdiction was contrary to the Act. The District Court disagreed and dismissed the lawsuit. LTC appealed.
The Court of Appeals first addressed LTC’s contention that the Act precluded EEOC from acting as it did. The statute precludes review of a carrier’s eligibility determinations except as provided in the applicable master contract. The Court explained, however, that the EEOC had repeatedly distinguished between review of insurability determinations and scrutiny of OPM’s participation in allegedly discriminatory contracts.
The Court acknowledged that provisions of both the Act and the ADA precluded the EEOC from reviewing an insurer’s decision regarding insurance eligibility. However, the Court agreed with the govenment's distinction between reviewing an individual eligibility determination and reviewing a "macro issue" of participation in a discriminatory contractual relationship. The Court held that EEOC had not violated the statutory provisions.
LTC also argued that the statutory bar against review of insurance eligibility decisions constituted a form of sovereign immunity, and that EEOC breached that immunity by bringing an action against LTC's contractual partner, OPM. The Court found this argument overbroad and inaccurate. First, LTC was not a sovereign. Second, no immunity was implicated by EEOC’s review of OPM’s contractual relationships.
The dismissal of LTC's complaint was affirmed.
Judge(s): Karen J. Williams, Allyson Kay Duncan, and Raymond A. Jackson; Opinion by Duncan
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Related Categories: Administrative Law , Civil Rights , Conflict of Laws , Employment , Government / Politics , Insurance
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Anthony Shelley||Miller & Chevalier Chartered|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Matthew Miles Collette||U.S. Department of Justice|