The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, a case that raises the issue of whether a benefit plan administrator is entitled to full reimbursement for payments made to a plan participant injured in an accident where the participant sues and recovers damages from a third party.

“This is a contentious case,” says Howard Shapiro, a lawyer with Proskauer and co-chair of the firm’s ERISA litigation practice. “In some places, some of the conservative Republican appointees asked questions that might favor McCutchen and some of the more liberal, Democrat appointees asked questions that might benefit the plan. So there is no clear consensus position that emerges when you read the transcript.”

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