In Marciano v. Jimenez, (SC 19547), released yesterday, Attorneys Dowd and Levesque argued that General Statutes § 52-225a precluded the defendant’s claim for a collateral source reduction, either in full or in part, where there was a right of subrogation. The Supreme Court agreed. In this case, the right of subrogation was held by an ERISA based health insurance plan, but the amount subject to subrogation was less than the collateral sources.
The Court interpreted “a right of subrogation” as “any” right of subrogation for any amount, and held the exception to be mandatory. The court rejected the argument that construing § 52-225a in this fashion would lead to a windfall for the plaintiff, explaining that the legislature sought to balance between precluding plaintiffs from double recoveries and preventing benefits from benefiting from reduced judgments due to collateral source reductions. Any windfall would more justly fall to the injured party rather than the wrongdoer.
As a result, the Court held there should have been no collateral source reduction and reversed and remanded the matter with direction to reinstate the original verdict. The Court’s interpretation of the statute should certainly apply to other bases for rights of subrogation, including Medicare. This case will have significant impact in the personal injury arena for both plaintiffs and defendants