Sutter v. Oxford Health Plans, L.L.C., No. 11-1773 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
By their 1998 Primary Care Physician Agreement, the parties agreed that Dr. Sutter would provide primary care health services to members of Oxford's managed care network in exchange for predetermined reimbursement. They agreed to arbitrate any disputes. A dispute arose when Sutter accused Oxford of improperly denying, underpaying, and delaying reimbursement of physicians' claims. Sutter filed a complaint on behalf of himself and a class of health care providers, alleging breach of contract and other violations of New Jersey law. The state court granted Oxford’s motion to compel arbitration. The arbitrator determined that the agreement allowed for class arbitration. The arbitrator entered a Partial Final Class Determination Award. Oxford sought to vacate, arguing that the arbitrator disregarded the law by ordering class arbitration. The district court denied Oxford's motion and the Sixth Circuit affirmed. Arbitration proceeded on a classwide basis. Oxford later moved to vacated, based on the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. The district court denied the motion. The Third Circuit affirmed. The arbitrator endeavored to interpret the parties' agreement within the bounds of the law and his interpretation was not irrational. Nothing more is required under the Federal Arbitration Act.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 4, 2012.