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PHILLIPS v. TRAME

March 25, 1966

MARY E. PHILLIPS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALMA V. TRAME, DEFENDANT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INTERVENOR.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juergens, Chief Judge.

This action was instituted by Mary E. Phillips against Alma V. Trame to recover damages for personal injuries suffered in an automobile accident. The United States, pursuant to leave of Court, filed its complaint in intervention to assert a claim under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2651-2653, for the reasonable value of hospital and medical care and treatment furnished plaintiff by the United States. Plaintiff is the wife of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Defendant filed her motion to dismiss the complaint in intervention, alleging:

(1) that the complaint and the allegations thereof are irrelevant and immaterial to plaintiff's cause of action;

(2) that the complaint in intervention attempts to assert a right of action against the defendant, arising out of an accident alleged in plaintiff's original complaint;

(3) that the complaint on its face shows that plaintiff is entitled to hospital and medical care and treatment from the United States and is not personally obligated to reimburse the intervenor except by voluntary assignment;

(4) that plaintiff has alleged a voluntary assignment of her claim for hospital and medical care and treatment to the United States and it constitutes a contractual arrangement between plaintiff and intervenor without the consent of defendant and is a deprivation of defendant's rights under the due process clause of the Constitution of both the United States and the State of Illinois and is an unconstitutional exercise of administrative power by the United States, is prejudicial to the citizens of the United States and more particularly to the defendant;

(6) that the intervenor is obligated to furnish medical care whether or not it is reimbursed for the services;

(7) that assignment of benefits or rights or claims of the plaintiff is contingent upon the successful prosecution of plaintiff's unliquidated claim and is therefore invalid and not binding on plaintiff or defendant;

(8) that the amount claimed by intervenor is unreasonable, arbitrary and bears no relation to the treatment furnished or services provided;

(9) that Title 42 § 2651 is invalid, unconstitutional and results in deprivation of property without due process of law;

(10) that intervenor should be precluded from asserting its claim in the principal action by plaintiff since plaintiff has no personal interest in the recovery of medical expenses and such information should be excluded from evidence presented to the jury to avoid prejudice to defendant.

Section 2651, Title 42 U.S.C.A., provides in pertinent parts as follows:

    "(a) In any case in which the United States is
  authorized or required by law to furnish hospital,
  medical, surgical, or dental care and treatment * *
  to a person who is injured * * *, under circumstances
  creating a tort liability upon some third person * *
  to pay damages therefor, the United States shall have
  a right to recover from said third person the
  reasonable value of the care and treatment so
  furnished or to be furnished and shall, as to this
  right be subrogated to any right or claim that the
  injured or diseased person * * * has against such
  third person to the extent of the reasonable value of
  the care and treatment so furnished or to be
  furnished. The head of the department or agency of
  the United States ...

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