final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of non-final order from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth
Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Jack B. Tuter, Judge; L.T.
Case No. 15 008975 CACE (07).
L. Wallach of Becker & Poliakoff, Fort Lauderdale,
Patrick de Gravelles, Washington, DC, and Anthony F. Shelley
of Miller & Chevalier Chartered, Washington, DC, for
J. Waldman of Waldman Trigoboff Hildebrandt & Calnan,
P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for appellees.
jurisdiction is contested in this appeal from an order
denying a motion to dismiss a second amended complaint.
Appellant Carefirst ("the defendant") argues the
trial court erred in finding specific personal jurisdiction
over it. We agree and reverse.
defendant is a Maryland-based insurance company that sells
health insurance policies to Maryland residents and Maryland
companies that may have employees outside of Maryland. It is
a licensee of Blue Cross and participates in the Blue Card
Program, which allows members to receive treatment nationwide
while allowing the defendant to charge the in-state
discounted rates that Blue Cross uses in that state. See
St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp. v. La. Health Serv. &
Indem. Co., No. H-08-1870, 2009 WL 47125, *7 (S.D. Tex.
Jan. 6, 2009). It also offers plans with out-of-network
benefits at higher premiums.
defendant does not own property in Florida, maintains no
office in Florida, and does not advertise in the state. But,
its customers can access a list of Florida providers on their
website that directs them to Blue Cross's National Doctor
and Hospital Finder through a link to the defendant as a
defendant contracts with Florida Blue for Florida Blue to pay
the health care providers, such as the plaintiff, a scheduled
price determined by Florida Blue through the Blue Card
program. The defendant then reimburses Florida Blue for
paying the provider on its behalf. Appellee Recovery Village
("the plaintiff") is unable to contract directly
with the defendant; it must contract with Florida Blue. The
plaintiff is not in the Florida Blue network and allegedly
did not agree to accept anything less than the full price for
January 2014 and the present, eight of the defendant's
members (all residents of Maryland) received treatment from
the plaintiff, a Florida-based substance abuse and eating
disorder facility. The plaintiff alleges that before
providing services to the defendant's members, it
contacted the defendant to verify their eligibility under
their respective insurance policies. The defendant, or its
agent, Magellan Healthcare, preauthorized treatment for three
parties disagree about how the contact happened. The
defendant argues the system is almost completely automated,
and it is unlikely that any "person" approved the
treatment. The plaintiff claims that it called the defendant
multiple times for each member to get approval at various
stages of treatment. The plaintiff also alleges the defendant
initiated phone calls to it on several occasions.
2015, the plaintiff filed suit against numerous defendants
participating in the Blue Card Program, including the
defendant, for underpayment on contracts. In February 2016,
the plaintiff filed its first amended complaint for: (1)
breach of express contract; (2) breach of implied-in-fact
contract; (3) breach of implied-in-law contract; and (4)
defendant moved to dismiss, arguing the first amended
complaint did not allege sufficient grounds for specific
personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the
defendant's motion. The court indicated the motion and
appended affidavit were sufficient to rebut the
plaintiff's prima facie jurisdictional claim.
plaintiff then filed a second amended complaint, adding a
description of the relationship between the defendant and
Florida Blue that allegedly constituted minimum contacts
sufficient to establish specific jurisdiction. The added
allegations outlined the above-described relationship. It