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The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has ruled that, in a suit by a health plan administrator seeking to enforce the plan’s reimbursement provision under Section 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), neither the equitable doctrine limiting reimbursement to the amount of an insured’s “double recovery” nor the equitable “common fund” doctrine could override the clear terms of the plan.

The Court also held, however, that the common fund doctrine played a role in interpreting a plan where the plan was silent about allocating the costs of recovery, and that the amount of attorney’s fees paid by the insured had to be considered when determining the amount of the plan administrator’s recovery.

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