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Encompass Health Care v. Farm Bureau Ins. Co. (COA – UNP 4/16/2019; RB #3892) 

Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 340664; Unpublished
Judges Murray, Sawyer, and Redford; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING:
One-Year Back Rule Limitation [§3145(1)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Medical Provider Standing (Post-Covenant)


SUMMARY:

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision regarding an action to recover unpaid no-fault PIP benefits, the Court of Appeals confirmed that an amended complaint, to reflect an assignment obtained after the original complaint is filed, is a supplemental pleading and will not relate back to the filing date of the original complaint.  Therefore, for purposes of the one-year-back rule under MCL 500.3145, damages will not extend back to the date the original complaint was filed and will be limited to those incurred one year prior to the date the supplemental pleading is filed.  Therefore, in this case, the medical provider Plaintiff was barred from any recovery because the claimed charges were incurred more than one year before the assignment was signed and one year before any supplemental pleading was filed.

Medical provider Plaintiff, Bruce Ruben, M.D. treated an injured motorist and subsequently filed its own action seeking reimbursement from the motorist’s insurer, Farm Bureau Insurance.  While the matter was pending before the trial court, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Covenant, prompting Farm Bureau to move for summary disposition.  Plaintiffs then produced assignments, executed more than two years after the accident and the trial court denied Farm Bureau’s motion for summary disposition.

The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Covenant does, in fact, apply retroactively and that plaintiffs’ recoveries were barred because the assignments were executed more than one year after the claimed charges were incurred. The Court reasoned:

Nonetheless, defendant would still prevail if we agree with plaintiffs and the trial court that amending the complaint to reflect the assignments would relate back to the filing of the complaint. This issue is also controlled by Shah. Like in this case, the plaintiffs in Shah obtained assignments from the insured after the litigation had commenced and sought to amend its complaint accordingly. The Shah opinion, 324 Mich App at 204-205, rejected the argument that the amendment (and thus the assignments) would relate back to the filing of the complaint . . .

The Court further reasoned that Plaintiff’s amended complaint could not relate back to the filing of the complaint and was, therefore, was also barred by the one-year-back rule.  In this regard, the Court stated, “…we conclude that the trial court erred in allowing plaintiffs to amend their complaint to reflect the assignments as such an amendment would be futile under the one-year-back rule.”


Michigan auto accident attorney Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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