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United Rehab Services v. Auto Club Ins. Assoc. (COA – UNP 4/30/2019; RB #3898)

Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 341208; Unpublished
Judges Jansen, Meter, and Gleicher; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


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

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Medical Prover Standing (Post-Covenant)


SUMMARY:

In this majority unpublished per curiam decision (Justice Gleicher concurring in part and dissenting in part) involving a claim for no-fault PIP benefits, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of the Defendant’s motion for summary disposition because the Plaintiff’s amended complaint—to reflect an assignment obtained after the complaint was originally filed—was actually a supplemental pleading and did not relate back to the filing date of the original complaint.  Therefore, due to the one-year back rule, Plaintiff could only claim no-fault PIP benefits for costs that its patient incurred in the one year prior to the date it obtained the assignment.

Plaintiff United Rehab Services, PC treated Defendant Auto Club Insurance Association’s insured on multiple occasions between January 8, 2016, and sometime in July of 2016.  Plaintiff sought no-fault PIP benefits for the services it provided and filed the present action on January 6, 2017.  While the action was pending before the trial court, the Supreme Court decided Covenant, prompting Plaintiff to obtain an assignment on July 1, 2017, and to amend its complaint to reflect its doing so.  Defendant moved for summary disposition, which the trial court denied, arguing that the amended complaint was actually a supplemental pleading, as established by the Court of Appeals in Shah.  Moreover, the supplemental pleading did not relate back to the original filing date of the complaint, and Plaintiff’s claims were therefore barred by the one-year-back rule under MCL 500.3145.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion for summary disposition, arguing that the amended complaint was, in fact, a supplemental pleading and that Plaintiff’s claims were, therefore, barred by the one-year-back rule.  In other words, Plaintiff could only claim benefits for treatments it provided within one year of the date it obtained the assignment, July 1, 2017.  Plaintiff’s claims were for services provided between January and July of 2016, meaning that all claims for treatments provided between January 2016 and June 30, 2016, were barred by the one-year-back rule.  The Court reasoned:

Here, plaintiff seeks payment of no-fault benefits incurred between January 8, 2016, and July 2016. However, because plaintiff obtained its assignment from Miesch on July 1, 2017, it is only entitled to seek no fault-benefits for medical services rendered between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. Id. at 204-205. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to summary disposition with respect to any medical services rendered by plaintiff to Miesch before July 1, 2016. Because the trial court erred in finding otherwise, we reverse in part.

However, although the parties agree that Miesch was last treated by plaintiff in July 2016, on the record before us, it is unclear on exactly what date plaintiff last treated Miesch. Because plaintiff is entitled to pursue defendant for no-fault benefits for medical services rendered on any date after July 1, 2016, but before July 1, 2017, remand for further proceedings is required.

Justice Gleicher concurred with the majority’s reasoning only because of Shah’s status as binding precedent, but disagreed with the Shah Court’s characterization of an amended complaint as a supplemental pleading.


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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