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Centria Home Rehab. v. Farmers Ins. Exch. (COA – UNP 4/2/2019; RB #3877)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 341743; Unpublished
Judges Shapiro, Beckering, and Kelly; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion

Not Applicable

Assignments of Benefits—Validity and Enforceability
Medical Provider Standing (Post-Covenant)

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition for defendant Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers), because plaintiff Centria Home Rehabilitation’s (Centria) amended complaint—to reflect an assignment received after the filing date of the original complaint—was actually a supplemental pleading. The supplemental pleading did not relate back to the date of the original complaint, and Centria’s claims were therefore barred by the one-year-back rule.

Plaintiff Centria treated an injured motorist entitled to PIP benefits from Farmers via the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. Centria filed its complaint against Farmers in May 2016 to recover payment for treatments administered to its patient, for which Farmers denied payment. Farmers moved for summary disposition, citing the Supreme Court’s holding in Covenant, that medical providers do not have standing to pursue direct claims for PIP benefits from no-fault insurers. After initially allowing Centria to amend its complaint to reflect an assignment obtained in June 2017, the trial court revisited Farmer’s motion and determined that Centria’s amended complaint was actually a supplemental pleading, ergo it did not relate back to the date of the original complaint. Thus, Centria’s claims were barred by the one-year-back rule.

The Court of Appeals agreed, finding that “[Centria] obtained Shell’s assignment on June 15, 2017, more than a year after plaintiff filed its original complaint on May 12, 2016.” Therefore, under the Court’s decision in Shah, “by obtaining an assignment after the complaint was filed, the plaintiff was seeking to file a supplemental pleading, not an amendment of its original complaint. As such, it could not relate back to the date of the filing of the original complaint.” The Court concluded:

Pursuant to Jawad A Shah, MD, PC, plaintiff’s amended complaint was actually a supplemental pleading that did not relate back to the date of the filing of the original complaint, and under the one-year-back rule plaintiff cannot recover for any services rendered more than a year before June 15, 2017, the date of the assignment. Because plaintiff’s complaint only sought benefits for services rendered before May 2016 (the date the original complaint was filed), the complaint failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted.

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