“Standing Room Only,” or How Professional Associations Are Filling Courts with Suits on Behalf of Members, as appeared in AHLA’s Healthcare Liability & LitigationMay 31, 2012
Jim Flynn and Sheila Woolson, Members of the Firm in the Litigation and Labor and Employment practices, in the Newark office, and Amy Hatcher, an Associate in the Labor and Employment and Litigation practices, in the Newark office, cowrote an article titled "'Standing Room Only,' or How Professional Associations Are Filling Courts with Suits on Behalf of Members."
Following is an excerpt:
An increasing trend in healthcare litigation involves medical professional associations or medical societies suing on behalf of their members, attempting to challenge healthcare contracts, services, benefit determinations, and/or other practices by payors and other institutions. Such suits, whether in state or federal court, seek to protect plaintiffs from the demands and prerequisites for maintaining class actions, while still enjoying the economies of scale that stem from aggregating numerous individual claims into one suit. Much of the utility of such suits, however, hinges on a threshold issue—does the association itself have standing to bring suit on behalf of its members and/or third parties. This requires an analysis of associational standing and, if in federal court, constitutional Article III standing. The issue of associational standing is one that is always contested and often complicated by the nature of the claims and the remedy sought. Moreover, even when an association is found to have standing, it does not always result in benefit for the association's members.