A federal district court in California held that the ILWU-PMA Welfare Benefit Plan’s anti-assignment provision barred Brand Tarzana Surgical Institute’s claim for benefits and thus dismissed the Institute’s claim for benefits. In so holding, the court rejected the Institute’s argument that the plan waived the right to assert the anti-assignment provision as a defense by failing to raise the argument during the claims administration process because the anti-assignment provision is “irrelevant to the denial of a claim in the first instance,” and only obtains significance once a party files suit or engages in conduct “so inconsistent with an intent to enforce the [anti-assignment provision] as to induce a reasonable belief that such right has been relinquished.” The opinion is available at Brand Tarzana Surgical Institute, Inc. v. International Longshore & Warehouse Union-Pacific Maritime Association Welfare Plan, No. CV 14-3191 FML, slip op. (C.D. Cal. Mar. 8, 2016).
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