Health Care Counsel

Arent Fox's health care law blog offers news, analysis, and insights for the health care industry.

Health Care Counsel

Caroline Turner English

Caroline Turner English, Partner at Arent Fox
Caroline Turner English
Washington, DC

As a partner in the Litigation Department, Caroline Turner English focuses her practice on commercial litigation, with substantial experience in class action litigation and complex multiparty disputes. She has appeared before state and federal courts nationwide in both trial and appellate matters, and has tried both jury and non-jury cases. Caroline’s practice is composed primarily of litigation in the ERISA and bankruptcy fields, along with commercial contract and tort litigation.

Client Work

Caroline has a robust litigation practice that is primarily concentrated in ERISA. She litigates traditional ERISA fiduciary and benefits cases, as well as managed care disputes. She handles administrative appeals and litigation with respect to both pension plans and health and welfare plans. Caroline represents a variety of parties including major employers, fiduciaries, and medical service providers. Cases that she has handled involving pension plans range from defending challenges to cash balance plans to “stock drop” cases and other claims for breach of fiduciary duty with respect to 401(k) plans and ESOPs. Caroline’s work has also extended to include DOL investigations and handling inquiries from the IRS. With respect to managed care litigation and health and welfare benefits, Caroline provides advice and counseling as well as litigation services with respect to commercial payer disputes and a myriad of issues that arise for plans and providers under ERISA, COBRA, FEHB, ACA, and various state laws. Finally, Caroline has significant experience with issues arising under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act.

Additionally, Caroline has unique experience in the overlap of benefits issues with bankruptcy law and in bankruptcy litigation generally. Her work in the bankruptcy area has included, most notably, the representation of the Official Committee of Retired Employees in the Kodak bankruptcy, the representation of a group of auto dealerships in the Chrysler bankruptcy, and the representation of an indenture trustee and majority bondholder in the United Air Lines bankruptcy. She frequently handles ERISA cases and benefits issues that arise where the employer-sponsor of the ERISA Plan is a debtor in bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, she has litigated numerous adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court, and has represented debtors, creditors, and official committees of unsecured creditors with respect to issues such as challenges to pre-petition liens, preference actions, executory contract rejection, assumption, and assignment, asset sales, and challenges to debtor-in-possession financing.

Caroline’s experience has covered a large variety of clientele and substantive areas of the law in addition to those described above. She has represented both large and small businesses, as well as individuals. Other issues litigated by Caroline have included business torts, civil RICO and fraud claims, trademark and copyright infringement, government contracts, and commercial breach of contract claims. She has also represented clients in white collar criminal investigations and proceedings.

Finally, Caroline has represented indigent clients and nonprofit entities in a plethora of cases she has handled pro bono, including two death penalty cases.

Reported Decisions

The following is a representative list of several reported cases that Caroline has worked on:

Gearren v. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 660 F.3d 605 (2d Cir. 2011) (amicus brief)

Walker v. Monsanto Co. Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 415 (7th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S.Ct. 1678 (2011)

Bunch v. W. R. Grace & Co., 555 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2009)

Evans v. Akers, 534 F.3d 65 (1st Cir. 2008)

In re Mutual Funds Investment Litigation, 529 F.3d 207 (4th Cir. 2008) (amicus brief)

Seabulk Offshore, Ltd. v. American Home Assur. Co., 377 F.3d 408 (4th Cir. 2004)

Scandinavian Satellite Sys., AS v. Prime TV Ltd., 291 F.3d 839 (D.C. Cir. 2002)

Farkas v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 861 F.Supp. 2d 716 (E.D. Va. 2012), aff’d, __ Fed. Appx. __, 2013 WL 1459248 (4th Cir. Apr. 11, 2013)

Mugnai v. Kirk Corp., 843 F. Supp. 2d 858 (N.D. Ill. 2012)

Walker v. Monsanto Co. Pension Plan, 636 F.Supp.2d 785 (S.D. Ill. 2009)

Walker v. Monsanto Co. Pension Plan, 636 F.Supp.2d 774 (S.D. Ill. 2009)

Walker v. Monsanto Co. Pension Plan, 252 F.R.D. 450 (S.D. Ill. 2008)

Bunch v. W. R. Grace & Co., 532 F. Supp. 2d 283 (D. Mass. 2008)

Evans v. Akers, 466 F. Supp. 2d 371 (D. Mass. 2006)

Walker v. Monsanto Co. Pension Plan, 472 F. Supp. 2d 1053 (S.D. Ill. 2006)

Shook v. District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority, 964 F. Supp. 416 (D.D.C. 1997)

In re First Republic Group Realty, LLC, 421 B.R. 659 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2009)

In re Old Carco LLC, 406 B.R. 180 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2009)

In re Chrysler LLC, 405 B.R. 84 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2009)

In re UAL Corp., 346 B.R. 456 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2006)

Hyde v. State, 950 So. 2d 344 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006)

Hyde v. State, 894 So. 2d 808 (Ala. Crim. App. 2004)

Professional Activities

Caroline has served as an adjunct professor teaching legal writing at George Washington University.

Publications, Presentations and Recognitions

In 2012, Caroline joined a panel of seasoned legal speakers addressing ERISA litigation for the American Conference Institute in New York. The session was titled “ERISA’s Enforcement Scheme: The Procedural Nuances, Available Remedies, and Proper Parties Under 502(a).” Caroline has spoken on ERISA topics, including fiduciary liability issues, statutory penalties, and ethical issues, at numerous conferences prior to this as well.

In August 2011, Caroline’s article titled “The Supreme Court’s Cigna v. Amara Decision: Surprises and Curiosities” was published in the BNA Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal.

In 2004, Caroline was awarded the Albert E. Arent Pro Bono Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Public Interest in recognition of her long-standing commitment to pro bono work.

During law school, Caroline was a member of the George Washington Law Review, and her article on mediator immunity was published in the DC Circuit Review and subsequently cited in State v. Second Judicial District Court ex. rel. County of Washoe, 55 P.3d 420 (Nev. 2002).


Blog Posts by Caroline Turner English

Examining State Law Claims Under ERISA At Second Circuit

Medical providers seeking to pursue state law claims for payment from health care payers scored a win in the Second Circuit last month in a holding that affirms providers’ ability to hold health care insurers and other payers to their payment representations and promises.

In McCulloch Orthopaedic Surgical Services PLLC v. Aetna Inc., No. 15-2150, 2017 (2d Cir. May 18, 2017), the Second Circuit set out to decide “whether [the Employee Retirement Income Security Act] ERISA completely preempts an out-of-network health care provider’s promissory estoppel claim against a health insurer where the provider (1) did not receive a valid assignment for payment under the health care plan and (2) received an independent promise from the insurer that he would be paid for certain medical services provided to the insured.” The court held that ERISA does not completely preempt this type of claim.

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Church-Affiliated Benefit Plans Exempt from ERISA: What the Supreme Court’s Ruling Means for Healthcare Providers

The Supreme Court issued a stunning ERISA decision on Monday, overturning the law in the three federal circuits as to what constitutes a “church plan” that is exempt from ERISA’s requirements. In Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, 581 U. S. ____ (2017), issued June 5, 2017, the Court held that ERISA’s “church plan” exemption applies to plans sponsored by hospitals that are affiliated with churches, regardless of whether or not those plans were actually established by a church. This decision reverses contrary rulings by the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.  While this case arose out of pension plans sponsored by church-affiliated entities, the decision will apply equally with respect to health and welfare plans. 

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The Ninth Circuit Speaks on Health Care Providers’ ERISA Rights

A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in DB Healthcare, LLC v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc., No. 14-16518, 2017 WL 1075050 (9th Cir. Mar. 22, 2017) reaffirms that health care providers are not health plan “beneficiaries” with the ability to sue under ERISA. Health care providers may sue under ERISA’s civil enforcement provisions only when armed with robust assignments of benefits and rights from patients and where the governing Plan documents do not prohibit assignments.

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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.