Iowa Court Rules California Resident's Case To Be Heard in Iowa

June 16, 2003 ( - A federal court in Iowa has personal jurisdiction over a California-based health plan participant sued by his Iowa-administered health plan.

>A judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa rejected the participant’s motion to have the case moved to a federal court in California.   In so ordering, the Iowa court determined that since the plan in question was administered in Iowa, under ERISA, Iowa was the proper venue for hearing the case, according to Washington-based legal publisher BNA.

However, in rejecting the participant’s argument that would be inconvenient for him to travel to Iowa for a trial, the court found the participant’s presence would more than likely not be required given that the underlying tort claim was not being litigated.   The “narrow issue” was whether the plan required the participant to reimburse the plan from his personal injury settlement.