As the Court of Appeals recognized below, this case presents a question that is the subject of a four-to-two circuit conflict and that was addressed but left open by the Supreme Court in Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson, 534 U.S. 204 (2002). As the federal government has noted, the question is of extreme national importance and likely affects over $1 billion annually.
The question presented is:
Can a plan fiduciary bring a civil action against a plan participant to obtain “appropriate equitable relief” under Section 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), where a term of the plan requires the participant to reimburse medical expenses advanced by the plan if the participant recovers money from a third-party tortfeasor and possesses such payments in an identifiable fund?