New Hampshire Ruling Clouds State’s Claim to Malpractice Fund

June 29, 2009

A judge has rejected New Hampshire’s claim that a medical malpractice fund is an agency of the state.

Judge Kathleen McGuire’s ruling Thursday appears to undercut the state’s argument that it can use a $110 million surplus in the fund to balance the new state budget, the Laconia Daily Sun reported.

Gov. John Lynch and the Legislature laid claim to the Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association’s surplus only after the attorney general’s office said the move would be legal.

More than 200 health care providers who pay into the fund are suing in Superior Court in Laconia, saying the money doesn’t belong to the state. McGuire ruled Thursday that the attorney general’s office cannot represent the association in court.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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