James McCutchen, an airline mechanic, participated in a self-funded benefits plan established by his employer, US Airways. The Plan was obligated to pay the medical expenses of a participant injured by a third party. However, the participant was requiredto reimburse the Plan out of any proceeds later recovered from the tortfeasor. McCutchen was seriously injured in a multiple car collision. The Plan paid$67,000 in medical expenses; and McCutchen ultimately recovered $66,000 from thetortfeasor. US Airways brought an action for reimbursement under Section 502(a)(3). The participant attempted to invoke the Make Whole Doctrine, as a matter of equity. The Court, however, found that the Plan’s termswere not subject to equitable defenses. “The agreement itself becomes the measure of the parties’ equities; so if a contract abrogates the common-fund doctrine, the insurer is not unjustly enriched by claiming the benefit of its bargain.” As such, the Made Whole Doctrine did not apply. US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen,133 S. Ct. 1537 (2013).
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