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United States v. Angino

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 11, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
RICHARD C. ANGINO; ANGINO LAW FIRM, P.C. formerly known as Angino & Rovner; and GLORIA TROSTLE, as administratrix of the Estate of David A. Trostle, Defendants BIO-MEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., Interpleader Plaintiff
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES; RICHARD C. ANGINO, ESQUIRE; ANGINO LAW FIRM, P.C. f/k/a Angino & Lutz P.C. f/k/a Angino & Rovner, P.C.; GLORIA TROSTLE, Individually and as Administratrix of the ESTATE OF DAVID A. TROSTLE, Interpleader Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY JUDGE United States District Court.

         Before the court for disposition is the Interpleader Plaintiff Bio-Medical Applications of Pennsylvania, Inc.'s motion for interpleader deposit under 28 U.S.C. § 1335. The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

         Background [1]

         This case has its genesis in a personal injury lawsuit filed by David Trostle, who is now deceased. In that case, Trostle alleged that a pharmacy dispensed improper drugs to him. The drugs caused him to need extensive medical treatment. Medicare, his insurer, paid $84, 353 for the treatment. Then, Trostle filed suit against the pharmacy and the Interpleader Plaintiff Bio-Medical Applications of Pennsylvania, Inc. (hereinafter “Interpleader Plaintiff” or “Bio-Medical”). Defendants Richard Angino, the Angino Law Firm, f/k/a Angino and Rovner (hereinafter the “Angino Defendants”) represented Trostle in the personal injury lawsuit. That case settled for $225, 000.

         Medicare then calculated the amount owed by Trostle on the $84, 353 it had paid for the treatment. After deducting its share of the attorney's fees, Medicare calculated that the Medicare lien that Trostle owed was $53, 295, plus interest if it was not paid within sixty (60) days.

         Trostle challenged the calculation of the Medicare lien through the Medicare administrative process, and was once again represented by the Angino Defendants. Evidently, the administrative review process was never exhausted and Medicare's determination of the amount allegedly became final.

         Regardless, Defendant Gloria Trostle, Administratix of the Estate of David A. Trostle, later filed suit in federal district court challenging Medicare's determination. The court dismissed the case finding that the administrative remedies had not been timely exhausted. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.

         Thus, Plaintiff United States of America argues that the determination that it is owed $53, 295 is now final and binding on the defendants. Defendants indicated to plaintiff that they were not agreeable to trying to resolve the matter by settlement and the plaintiff as a result filed the instant action. Plaintiff argues that because it had to file suit to collect the amount owed, that it no longer must pay for its share of attorney's fees. The total owed now is the original $84, 353 plus interest, which it indicates brings the total to over $100, 000.

         The defendants argue that they do not owe more than the original amount less attorneys fees, for a total of $53, 295. The Angino Law Firm hold a portion of this amount, $19, 699.16, in escrow and the Interpleader Plaintiff has the remainder, $33, 750. The defendants argue that if it is determined that more is owed than the $53, 295 originally calculated by the United States, then the defendants from the original lawsuit, including Interpleader Plaintiff Bio-Medical, are responsible for it.

         Interpleader Plaintiff Bio-Medical argues that it has done everything it could to adhere to the release agreement from the original lawsuit and to protect the government's interest in the Medicare lien. Thus, it cannot be held liable for more than its original settlement portion. If more is now owed to the government it is strictly due to the actions of the defendants and they, not Bio-Medical, should be held liable for it.

         To that end, Interpleader Plaintiff filed the instant motion.[2] It seeks to deposit with the court $33, 730, its share of the Medicare Lien from the original settlement. It then seeks to be dismissed with prejudice from the case. It claims no interest in the money and seeks to have the court determine who it should go to, the plaintiff or defendant. The Angino Defendants oppose the motion, bringing the case to its present posture.

         Jurisdiction

         The court has jurisdiction over this motion as it involves an interpleader action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331; 28 U.S.C. § 1346; 42 ...


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