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Back in Motion Chiropractic v. Westfield Ins. Co. (COA – UNP 4/16/2019; RB #3886)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 341791; Unpublished
Judges Tukel, Kelly, and Kelly; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Not Applicable

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


SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision involving an action for no-fault PIP benefits, the Court of Appeals held that Plaintiff medical provider was permitted to bring a cause of action directly against its patient’s no-fault insurer to recover unpaid PIP benefits, because Plaintiff received an assignment of rights from its patient. The Court also held that the patient’s insurance policy’s anti-assignment clause was invalid as a matter of law, and that the patient was allowed to split his cause of action and only assign a portion of his claim to Plaintiff.

Yasser Saad was injured in an automobile collision and received treatment from Plaintiff, Back in Motion Chiropractic, DC, PLLC, who sought payment for treatments it rendered to Saad from Saad’s no-fault insurer, Defendant Westfield Insurance Company. Saad assigned his rights to Back in Motion, who brought this action against Westfield. Westfield moved for summary disposition, which the trial court granted, pointing to the anti-assignment clause in Saad’s policy.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant, finding that Back in Motion was allowed to pursue its cause of action against Westfield on the basis of an assignment. Moreover, the anti-assignment clause in Saad’s policy was unenforceable per the Court of Appeals’ ruling in Shah, and Saad was allowed to split his cause of action and assign only a portion of his claim to Plaintiff. On that issue, the Court of Appeals said:

. . . an insured may assign its rights to medical providers for past or accrued rights . . . as a result, these medical providers can pursue claims against insurers, which can create multiple potential claims by multiple defendants. Defendant’s reliance on the common law rule that prohibited the splitting of causes of action is misplaced, as that rule has been replaced by MCR 2.205.

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