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Hon. Richard Enslen, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

Education

Northwestern University Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1999

  • Articles Editor, Journal of International Law and Business
  • Winner and Best Speaker, Julius H. Minor Moot Court Competition

University of Michigan, B.A., 1993

Photo of Jason S. Cowart

Jason S. Cowart

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Jason S. Cowart is an experienced litigator who focuses on insurance and health care matters. As the health care industry continues to experience historic changes, he represents health care providers and their patients in high-stakes disputes with health insurance companies, working to ensure that patients are not wrongfully denied treatment and that providers are appropriately compensated. In developing legal theories concerning the rights and remedies provided by Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Mr. Cowart has expanded providers’ ability to successfully challenge insurance company claim determinations.

Mr. Cowart is currently working to redress a myriad of insurance company practices that exacerbate the financial pressures that providers and patients face. These include improper denials due to lack of coverage and coordination of benefit protocols, overbroad application of experimental or investigational exclusions, claim bundling and downcoding, and discrimination against mental health patients.

Mr. Cowart’s work uncovering and addressing health insurance company misconduct draws upon his extensive experience in complex securities fraud, derivative, and antitrust matters. Mr. Cowart represented copper purchasers in a private antitrust case that sprang from Sumitomo trader Yasuo Hamanaka’s efforts to corner the world’s copper market; a class of AT&T investors that suffered millions of dollars in losses in Jack Grubman’s analyst rating scandal; and investors defrauded by Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Mr. Cowart also represented BP common stock investors in litigation that established the viability of common law claims to remedy securities fraud violations that occur in connection with foreign traded stocks. 

Professional Highlights

  • Mr. Cowart represented mental health providers and their patents in one of the first cases in the country seeking to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. At issue was whether United Healthcare, a third party administrator, could be held liable under ERISA for applying allegedly discriminatory policies and procedures when making mental health and substance abuse-related claim determinations. After the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with Mr. Cowart that United could be held liable under these circumstances, the case settled. Mr. Cowart is currently litigating several other cases against insurers (including United and Aetna) challenging the legality of level of care policy exclusions and the internal guidelines they use when adjudicating mental health and substance abuse claims.
  • Mr. Cowart represented chiropractors and state and international chiropractic associations in an ERISA case of first impression concerning whether several Blue Cross Blue Shield entities are required to provide in-network providers with ERISA notice and appeal rights when those insurers retroactively deny claims. This litigation led to the expansion of the notice and appeal rights that many providers receive in connection with such denials.
  • Mr. Cowart represented medical providers and related associations (including the American Medical Association) in litigation concerning whether out-of-network providers with patient assignments were entitled to ERISA rights. In a precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with Mr. Cowart’s position that providers with standard patient assignments of benefits were entitled to such rights.
  • Represents health care providers against several insurers, including United Healthcare and Aetna, in ERISA actions seeking ERISA notice and appeal rights in connection with repayment demands and challenging the legality of cross-plan offsets. In one such action against United, a class of out-of-network providers has been certified. These cases raise numerous issues of first impression including those related to out-of-network providers’ ERISA rights, their standing to assert such rights, and the scope of available judicial remedies.
  • Represents health care providers in a certified class action against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey concerning Horizon’s bundling of payments for different services.
  • Represents patients and providers in litigation brought against various third party administrators challenging the use of plan assets and health spending accounts to pay administrative fees and expenses.
  • Represents patients in litigation against insurers challenging denial of coverage for transcranial magnetic stimulation on the ground that it is experimental or investigational.
  • Mr. Cowart represented numerous institutional investors in securities fraud cases concerning statements ‎that BP made about its purported safety reforms prior to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. ‎In these cases, Mr. Cowart played the lead role in defeating BP’s motion to dismiss, convincing the ‎court that the Supreme Court’s Morrison decision (which prevents investors from pursuing federal ‎securities fraud claims based on foreign securities transactions) did not defeat his clients’ common law ‎claims.‎
  • Mr. Cowart represented a Pfizer shareholder in derivative litigation brought against the Pfizer board of directors alleging that the board breached its fiduciary duties by approving the company’s illegal off-label marketing campaign. The settlement not only required the defendants to forfeit $75 million (one of the largest derivative settlements in history), it also required implementation of corporate governance reforms designed to ensure compliance with drug marketing laws.
  • Mr. Cowart represented an institutional investor in a securities fraud class action against Citigroup, its CEO Sanford Weil, and telecommunications analyst Jack Grubman. The case concerned Mr. Grubman’s decision in 1999 to change his recommendation on AT&T stock to a “buy” and allegations that this opinion was not honestly believed and was actually designed to advance his personal interests and those of Mr. Weil. Although similar claims against stock analysts were dismissed, Mr. Cowart deconstructed Mr. Grubman’s buy rating rationale and documented facts indicating that Mr. Grubman was aware of substantive problems at AT&T that were concealed in his rating upgrade. The case settled for almost $75 million.
  • Mr. Cowart represented the lead plaintiffs in a securities fraud class action against the American Italian Pasta Company and its auditor, Ernst & Young. The case, which involved allegations of significant accounting fraud, resulted in a $28.5 million recovery for his clients.
  • Mr. Cowart represented a class of investors in Force Protection, a military contractor, alleging securities fraud claims. The case, which concerned accounting fraud as well as allegations that the defendants led investors to be overly optimistic about the company’s ability to land new government contracts, settled for $24 million.

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Professional Affiliations

  • Former President-Elect and Secretary, National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys

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