On March 1, MSNJ joined the AMA filing an amici curiae—friends of the court– brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Oxford v. Sutter. This case presents the important question of whether physicians may arbitrate as a class when the insurer participation agreement requires that all disputes be submitted to arbitration. The matter is before the Supreme Court, not as a matter of right, but because the high Court granted Oxford’s petition for certiorari signaling that it will reach this important class arbitration issue.
MSNJ and the AMA assert that mandated arbitration without the right to arbitrate as a class leaves “no practical means of enforcing contracts with insurers” and is tantamount to no recourse at all. Dr. Sutter was mandated by Oxford to arbitrate his disputes in 2002. The arbitrator allowed the matter to proceed as a class. Oxford objected, litigated, and has lost at every level of appeal in the courts. Dr. Sutter and all physicians similarly situated, including MSNJ members, have been without a remedy for over ten years.