ERISA Preemption of Medical Malpractice Claims: Can Managed Care Organizations Avoid Vicarious Liability?
This Comment begins by briefly discussing the theory of respondeat superior and the vicarious liability of MCOs for the negligence of affiliated physicians.' Next, the section presents an overview of ERISA, focusing on ERISA's preemption of laws that impact employee benefit plans, particularly medical malpractice claims brought against MCOs seeking to hold them vicariously liable for an affiliated physician's negligence. Section III applies current ERISA preemption doctrine to a situation such as Peterson's, in which a plaintiff attempts to hold an MCO vicariously liable for an affiliated physician's negligence. Section IV concludes that, given the current state of ERISA preemption doctrine, MCOs should no longer be able to raise a successful ERISA preemption defense to a straightforward medical malpractice claim based on the MCO's vicarious liability for affiliated physician malpractice.
J. Bradley Buckhalter, ERISA Preemption of Medical Malpractice Claims: Can Managed Care Organizations Avoid Vicarious Liability?, 22 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1165 (1999).