Eugene S. v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 10-4225 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellant Eugene S. appealed a district court's denial of his motion to strike and its entry of summary judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellee Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ). Plaintiff sought coverage for his son A.S.'s residential treatment costs from his employer's ERISA benefits insurer. Horizon's delegated plan administrator originally denied the claim. Having exhausted his administrative appeals, Plaintiff filed suit in district court challenging the denial of benefits. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, but Horizon also filed a declaration that included the terms of Horizon's delegation of authority to the plan administrator to administer mental health claims in a Vendor Services Agreement. Plaintiff moved to strike that declaration as procedurally barred. The district court denied the motion and granted Horizon summary judgment, finding that neither Horizon nor its plan administrator acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner in denying the contested claim. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit found substantial evidence in the record that A.S. did not meet the criteria for residential treatment benefits under the plan, and as such, the plan administrator did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner in denying Plaintiff's claim. The Court affirmed the district court's judgment.