Omega Rehab Servs, LLC v Everest Nat’l Ins Co (COA – UNP 2/21/2019; RB #3852)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 340297; Unpublished
Judges Borrello, Cavanagh, and Redford; per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion 


Intervention by Service Providers and Third Party Payors in PIP Claims 

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition for defendant Everest National Insurance Company (“Everest”) because plaintiff Omega Rehab Services, LLC (“Omega”) received a proper assignment of rights from its patient, an injured motorist insured under a no-fault policy with Everest.

Omega was properly assigned the rights of its patient, and brought this action to recover payment for treatment to said patient from Everest, the patient’s no-fault insurer.  Everest moved for summary disposition, arguing that the assignment of rights was invalid due to an anti-assignment clause in the policy.  The trial court granted summary disposition for defendant, in light of both the anti-assignment clause and the rule against splitting a cause of action. 

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant, citing Shah and Henry Ford—both of which found anti-assignment clauses to be unenforceable because they violated Michigan public policy.  The Court also relied on its analysis in Henry Ford regarding the rule against splitting causes of action, in which it pointed out that the rule had been replaced by MCR 2.205. 

In this case, the underlying claimants’ assignments to plaintiff were for past or presently due accrued benefits. Under Shah, the anti-assignment clause in defendant’s no-fault insurance policy is unenforceable. Therefore, the trial court erred when it granted defendant’s motion for summary disposition on the basis that the anti-assignment clause prohibited the insureds from assigning plaintiff their rights to payments of the benefits to which the insureds were entitled. Because we find Shah dispositive, we decline to address the alternative grounds upon which plaintiff argues the invalidity of defendant’s insurance policy’s anti-assignment clause.

. . .

Defendant argues that plaintiff could not rely on the underlying claimants’ assignments because that split their cause of action for no-fault benefits. Defendant essentially contends that the underlying claimants had to assign all of their claims for no-fault benefits and bring them in one action because their assignments of only the portion of their rights to benefits to plaintiff split their one claim into multiple claims. We disagree.

In Henry Ford, this Court addressed the cause splitting issue that defendant raises in this case. The defendant similarly argued in Henry Ford that the plaintiff could not sue the defendant based on the insured’s assignment of her claim for no-fault benefits for services rendered by the plaintiff because the insured only assigned a portion of her claim instead of her entire claim for all no-fault benefits arising from the subject accident. This Court found the defendant’s argument unpersuasive because it ignored the applicable law that stated that “ ‘MCR 2.205 has replaced the common-law rule against splitting a cause of action.’ Unite Servs Auto Ass’n v Nothelfer, 195 Mich App 87, 89; 489 NW2d 150 (1992).” Id. at ___; slip op at 5.

The Court thus reversed and remanded for further proceedings.