John D. Kolb

John D. Kolb

Managing Partner

Phone: 502.614.3776

Fax: 844.557.4329


Home Office: Louisville, KY

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John Kolb is a founding member of Kolb Clare & Arnold. He is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on health subrogation law. He has represented insurers and self-funded entities in recovery matters since 1998. He focuses his practice on health plan subrogation, an area of law that allows him to find creative solutions to problems. John is proud of his ability to “explain complicated matters so that they make sense to non-lawyers” and is often invited to speak at conferences. In addition, John has served the subrogation industry by co-authoring amicus briefs on behalf of the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, America’s Health Insurance Plan, and the Self-Insurance Association of America.

John’s health plan settlements and reported decisions set important precedents.

John focuses on healthcare subrogation cases and has extensive experience litigating recovery actions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). He has represented ERISA plans in over twenty federal district courts, three Circuit Courts of Appeals and before the United States Supreme Court. His reported decisions include:

  • Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, 136 S.Ct. 651 (2016) - This important decision set the scope of the equitable relief available to fiduciaries under ERISA’s remedial scheme. John represented the plan as lead counsel in the district court and before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Eleventh Circuit opinion is the first federal appellate decision holding that an ERISA plan may use a single document to serve as the plan’s written instrument and summary plan description after the United States Supreme Court’s decision in CIGNA v. Amara. John also sat second chair before the United States Supreme Court where the case was remanded back to the district court on other grounds.
  • Board of Trustees v. Moore, 800F.3d 214 (6th Cir. 2015) – The Sixth Circuit recognized that the plan’s summary plan description was an enforceable plan document. The Sixth Circuit held that the ERISA plan’s equitable lien attached to the plan member’s settlement regardless of whether the settlement included medical expenses paid by the plan.
  • Bd. of Trustees of the Nat. Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan v. McLaughlin, 590 Fed.Appx. 154 (3rd Cir. 2014) – In this matter, John obtained a decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the district court’s enforcement of an equitable lien on a plan participant’s settlement despite New Jersey’s anti-subrogation law.
  • Humana Health Plans v. Powell, 603 F.Supp.2d 956 (W.D. Ky 2009) – Kentucky statute requires that subrogated carriers intervene in the insured’s court action or risk losing their right of subrogation. John Kolb and Linda Clare obtained a reported decision holding that the statute is preempted by ERISA even for employee benefits plans funded through insurance.
  • Click here to see John’s amicus curiae brief filings