EagleMed v. Cox, No. 16-8064 (10th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants, various officials at the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, appealed the district court’s entry of a permanent injunction related to the Department’s payment for air-ambulance services rendered to ill or injured individuals covered by the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Act. Plaintiffs were several companies which provide air-ambulance services in Wyoming. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendants, arguing that the federal Airline Deregulation Act impermissibly regulated the price of air-ambulance services. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court agreed “that the Airline Deregulation Act preempt[ed] Wyoming Statute section 27-14-401(e) and Chapter 9, Section 8 of the Rules, Regulations and Fee Schedules of the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division to the extent the statute and regulation set compensation that air ambulances may receive for their services.” The court accordingly entered an injunction against Defendants. On appeal, Defendants challenge both the district court’s legal holding on the preemption question and the scope of the injunctive relief ordered in the amended judgment. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s legal ruling that Wyoming Statute Section 27-14-401(e) and its associated rate schedule were precluded to the extent that they set forth a mandatory maximum reimbursement rate for air-ambulance claims. The Court also affirmed the initial order of injunctive relief entered in the district court’s initial judgment, permanently enjoining Defendants from enforcing the rate schedule against air-ambulance services. The Court reversed the amended judgment and the overbroad injunctive relief entered therein, leaving it for the state officials to determine, as a matter of state law, how Wyoming could and should administer its workers’ compensation program within the limitations set by federal law.