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Ruben, M.D., PC v. Allstate Ins. Co. (COA – UNP 2/21/2019; RB #3848)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 343163; Unpublished
Judges Gleicer, Kelly, and Letica; per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Not Applicable

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


SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision, summary disposition for the defendant was affirmed on the issue of assignment of rights. Plaintiff medical provider filed an amended complaint to reflect his being assigned his patient’s rights, but the amended complaint was actually a supplemental pleading, per Shah. His claim, therefore, was barred by the one-year-back rule.

Plaintiff provided medical treatment to an injured motorist, and filed suit against defendant insurance company for payment of the patient’s outstanding medical bills. Under Covenant, however, a medical provider “has no statutory cause of action of its own to directly sue a no-fault insurer.” Thereafter, the injured motorist assigned his rights to plaintiff, who amended his complaint to reflect the assignment. Defendant then moved for summary disposition, which the trial court granted. The amended complaint, the court reasoned, was actually a supplemental pleading, and therefore did not relate back to the original complaint. As a result, plaintiff’s claim was barred by the one-year-back rule.

The Court of Appeals, bound by its earlier ruling in Shah, agreed. The Court’s conclusion is laid out below:

The Shah majority held that although an amended complaint relates back to the date of the original pleading under MCR 2.118(D), a supplemental pleading does not. Id. at 203-204. The amended complaint filed in Shah, as here, asserted a claim for no-fault benefits advanced by healthcare providers who had obtained assignments of the injured party’s rights. According to the Shah majority, the amended complaint actually qualified as a supplemental pleading, eliminating the providers’ right to rely on the relation-back doctrine to preserve the timeliness of their claims.

Thus, the trial court’s grant of summary disposition was affirmed.

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