SCOTUS Considers State’s Quest for One-Third of Girl’s Med-Mal Settlement

The State of North Carolina is attempting to force the parents of 12 year old Emily Armstrong, turn over 1/3 of a wrongful birth settlement.   Emily was injured (she is blind, deaf and has cerebral palsy) at birth allegedly resulting from medical malpractice.  Her parents ultimately obtained a 2.9 Million dollar settlement.  The State spent almost 1.9 million in medicaid funds providing for Emily and is now claiming a 1/3 interest in the 2.9 million dollar settlement ($957,000.00).  The Armstrong family is claiming that under the Federal Medicaid law the State is barred from imposing liens on Medicaid patients’ property.  Courts have interpreted the law to bar liens on any portion of  a settlement that do not cover medical costs, i.e. pain and suffering.