U.S. v. Horton, No. 78-3584

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WISDOM, RONEY and HATCHETT; PER CURIAM
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ernestine HORTON, d/b/a Pine View Manor Nursing Home, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date23 July 1980
Docket NumberNo. 78-3584

Page 144

622 F.2d 144
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Ernestine HORTON, d/b/a Pine View Manor Nursing Home,
Defendant-Appellant.
No. 78-3584.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
July 23, 1980.

Page 145

Alton O. Paulk, Panama City, Fla., for defendant-appellant.

William Kanter, Linda Jan S. Pack, Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., App. Staff, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Before WISDOM, RONEY and HATCHETT, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Appellant appeals a judgement for the government in an action to recover Medicare overpayments made to appellant's nursing home from 1967 through 1969, when the nursing home was a "provider" facility under the Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395 et seq. After two jury trials and two trials to a special master, the district court awarded the government $98,167, with interest from the date of judgment plus costs, in a final judgment which incorporated four partial summary judgments. Because we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a new trial or appointing a special master, correctly entered the four partial summary judgments, and was otherwise correct in its rulings, we affirm.

Appellant, Ernestine Horton, owned and operated the Pine View Manor Nursing Home which, from January, 1967, through May, 1969, was certified as a "provider of services" under the Medicare program. 42 U.S.C. § 1395x(v). Horton designated Aetna Life and Casualty Insurance Company (Aetna) to be her "financial intermediary." 42 U.S.C. § 1395h. Under this arrangement, Horton submitted bills for services to Aetna. Aetna then paid the bills in its capacity as agent for the Secretary of Health and Human Resources. Aetna also served as the Secretary's agent for purposes of auditing Horton. After reviewing and auditing the payments made to Horton during the two and a half year period Pine View Manor participated in the Medicare program, Aetna determined that certain costs claimed by Horton were not allowable and that overpayments had been made. Horton refused to pay the refund demanded by both Aetna and the Secretary. Settlement of the government's claim was discussed, and in November, 1974, a regional official of Health and Human Resources signed a purported release. Subsequently, the government contended, and the district court agreed, that this release was invalid because the regional official lacked authority to issue it.

The government filed suit in federal district court in 1975, seeking recovery of its overpayments.

Page 146

The district court proceedings were exceedingly complex and protracted. The case involved an accounting dispute, contractual in nature. There were seven "line items" in Horton's cost report in dispute. The trial judge granted a jury trial over the government's objections. The judge cast his order for a jury trial such that the jury would make factual determinations on each of the seven line items and then the judge would incorporate these findings of fact into a final judgment which would have to be written with the aid of accountants. The judge eventually held two jury trials and two trials to a special master.

FIRST JURY TRIAL

The first trial was held in 1977. Seven "line items" in the Pine View Manor cost reports were at issue: interest expense on loans; bad debts; Horton's compensation as owner-operator; general and administrative expense; depreciation for 1967 and 1968; depreciation at time of sale in 1969; "grossing-up" charges to equalize the cost for Medicare in non-Medicare patients in 1967. Extensive testimony was presented to explain the Medicare regulations and the contested "line items."

Shortly after retiring to consider its answers to interrogatories in the special verdict, the jury submitted to the judge a question evincing confusion on the computation of depreciation. A clarifying answer was sent to the jury, which then returned a special verdict. On six of the seven interrogatories, the jury's answers were favorable to Horton; the seventh question, Horton's compensation, was answered in the government's favor.

Judgment was not entered immediately since the government was required to re-cast Horton's cost reports in light of the verdict. One week after the verdict, the government moved the court to set aside the jury verdict and grant a new trial under Rule 59, Fed.R.Civ.P., on the grounds that the verdict included allowances not permitted by law, was inconsistent with the court's instructions, and was not supported by the weight of the evidence. The government also suggested that the court reconsider its ruling granting a jury trial. Horton opposed the government's motion, but the judge granted a new trial, again with a jury. The new trial was limited, in that it would not reconsider the matter of Horton's compensation, the one issue on which it was apparent the jury had had sufficient evidence on which to make its determination.

FIRST TRIAL TO THE SPECIAL MASTER

On the same day he ordered a new trial, the judge notified the parties of his conclusion that a special master should be utilized "to aid and assist the jury with the new trial of this case." A special master was appointed, with instructions to make specific findings of fact on the six "line items" for which a new trial had been granted. The special master examined the entire record and conducted a hearing, in which extensive testimony was presented on the Medicare cost reimbursement system and on Horton's cost reports. The special master's findings supported the government's allegations of overpayments on five of the six issues. On the...

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51 practice notes
  • Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin v. Smith, Nos. 14–5003
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • July 18, 2014
    ...has accepted such affidavits as new evidence in evaluating whether the law of the case controls or not. See United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980) (per curiam) (finding that the law of the case did not preclude the entry of summary judgment despite an earlier contrary rul......
  • Gallant v. Telebrands Corp., No. Civ.A. 94-452(AJL).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • December 22, 1998
    ...judgment, moreover, is not entitled to res judicata or collateral estoppel effect in other litigation. See United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980); Schering Corp. v. Schering Aktiengesellschaft, 667 F.Supp. 175, 185 (D.N.J. 1987), vacated on other grounds, 709 F.Supp. 529 ......
  • JH Rutter Rex Mfg. Co., Inc. v. United States, Civ. A. No. 80-2865.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • February 19, 1982
    ...Clark, 385 F.2d 687 (D.C.Cir.1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 948, 88 S.Ct. 1036, 19 L.Ed.2d 1138 (1968). See also United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir. 1980); Wm. G. Roe & Company v. Armour & Company, 414 F.2d 862 (5th Cir. 1969). On March 25, 1981, the District of Columbia Cou......
  • Jordan v. Epps, Civil Action No. 1:05CV260KS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • August 30, 2010
    ...limited in scope." Id. (citing Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618, 103 S.Ct. 1382, 75 L.Ed.2d 318 (1983); United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980)). However, the law of the case doctrine does not apply where "(1) a subsequent trial produces substantially different evi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin v. Smith, Nos. 14–5003
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • July 18, 2014
    ...has accepted such affidavits as new evidence in evaluating whether the law of the case controls or not. See United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980) (per curiam) (finding that the law of the case did not preclude the entry of summary judgment despite an earlier contrary rul......
  • Gallant v. Telebrands Corp., No. Civ.A. 94-452(AJL).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • December 22, 1998
    ...judgment, moreover, is not entitled to res judicata or collateral estoppel effect in other litigation. See United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980); Schering Corp. v. Schering Aktiengesellschaft, 667 F.Supp. 175, 185 (D.N.J. 1987), vacated on other grounds, 709 F.Supp. 529 ......
  • JH Rutter Rex Mfg. Co., Inc. v. United States, Civ. A. No. 80-2865.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • February 19, 1982
    ...Clark, 385 F.2d 687 (D.C.Cir.1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 948, 88 S.Ct. 1036, 19 L.Ed.2d 1138 (1968). See also United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir. 1980); Wm. G. Roe & Company v. Armour & Company, 414 F.2d 862 (5th Cir. 1969). On March 25, 1981, the District of Columbia Cou......
  • Jordan v. Epps, Civil Action No. 1:05CV260KS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • August 30, 2010
    ...limited in scope." Id. (citing Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618, 103 S.Ct. 1382, 75 L.Ed.2d 318 (1983); United States v. Horton, 622 F.2d 144, 148 (5th Cir.1980)). However, the law of the case doctrine does not apply where "(1) a subsequent trial produces substantially different evi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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