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Wilson v. Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

March 21, 2017

MARGARET WILSON, individually and on behalf of a Class of persons similarly situated, PLAINTIFF
v.
ANTHEM HEALTH PLANS OF KENTUCKY, INC., DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Margaret Wilson's Motion for Approval of Proposed Plan for Notice of Class Pendency. [DN 48.] Defendant Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. (“Anthem”) responded. [DN 49.] Wilson replied. [DN 50.] For the reasons stated herein, Wilson's motion is GRANTED IN PART consistent with the explanation set forth below. However, because the parties have since agreed upon additional changes to the Proposed Notice as identified in Anthem's response [DN 49], the Court directs Wilson to file, within seven (7) days of the entry of this Order, an updated Proposed Notice incorporating the proposed class website and the parties' agreed-upon changes consistent with this Memorandum Opinion. Once the Court has had an opportunity to review the updated notice, the Court will direct dissemination thereof consistent with Rule 23.

         BACKGROUND

         Wilson brings this action against Anthem alleging that Anthem is violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§1001, et seq. (“ERISA”) and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), 42 U.S.C.A. § 300gg-26 by restricting its coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis, a treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders. [DN 1.] On January 4, 2017, the Court certified the following class of individuals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3):

All persons who are or have been insureds, participants in, or beneficiaries of a health insurance policy issued or administered by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc., which contains dollar or hour limits on the provision of treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders and who have made a claim for, and have been denied coverage or reimbursement for Applied Behavior Analysis treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders on the grounds that the policy's dollar or hour limits had been exceeded.

[DN 47 (Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class).] The Court then directed Wilson to submit for the Court's approval a proposed notice for notifying class members of the instant action in accordance with the requirements of Rule 23(c)(2)(B).

         STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(2)(B) outlines the notice requirements for class actions certified pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3). Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(c)(2)(B). Rule 23(c)(2)(B) provides that “the court must direct to class members the best notice that is practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.” Id. The notice must “be ‘reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.'” In re Gen. Tire & Rubber Co. Sec. Litig., 726 F.2d 1075, 1086 (6th Cir. 1984) (quoting Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950)). Rule 23 specifically requires that:

         The notice must clearly and concisely state in plain, easily understood language:

(i) the nature of the action;
(ii) the definition of the class certified;
(iii) the class claims, issues, or defenses;
(iv) that a class member may enter an appearance through an attorney if the ...

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