Brief Fact Summary. Smith and her daughter (Plaintiffs) brought an action against Richmond Memorial Hospital (Defendant) claiming a violation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), 42 U.S.C.S. Section: 1395dd. The Circuit Court of the City of Richmond (Virginia) sustained a demurrer on the ground that the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Judgment failed to state a cause of action. Plaintiffs appealed.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Virginia’s statute of limitations conflicts with the federal statute, COBRA, and are thus inapplicable to claims involving COBRA.
Issue. Did the trial court properly sustain the demurrer without leave to amend? The Supreme Court of Virginia further examined two issues of statutory interpretation:
* Whether COBRA’s treatment and transfer requirements are limited solely to an emergency medical condition or active labor which has not been stabilized and which occurs in conjunction with initial admission to an emergency department; or
* Whether those requirements also apply when an emergency medical condition or active labor commences after the admission and initial stabilization of the patient’s condition.
* Further, the court reviewed the question presented by the hospital’s second contention: Whether the suit could not be brought due to noncompliance with the statute of limitations.
Held. The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed the action of the trial court in sustaining the Defendant’s demurrer, and the case was remanded. Additionally, the court held that the statute of limitations provisions conflicted with the federal requirements, and thus were not applicable to COBRA actions.
It may go further than what Congress contemplated, but that is not a reason to distort or excise the words that Congress wrote.View Full Point of Law