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Rehab R Us, LLC v. Geico Indemnity Co. (COA – UNP 4/18/2019; RB #3889)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 340232; Unpublished
Judges Letica, Ronayne Krause, and Boonstra; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion

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

Medical Provider Standing (Post-Covenant)

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam decision involving medical provider standing and the one-year-back rule, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition for plaintiff Geico Indemnity Co. (Geico), albeit on other grounds: (1) Plaintiff providers’ amended complaint to reflect an assignment was deemed to be a supplemental pleading which did not relate back to the filing date of the complaint; and (2) the assignment was obtained more than one year after the original complaint was filed. Plaintiffs were therefore precluded from bringing their action by the one-year-back rule.

George Marcos was injured in a motor vehicle collision and received treatment from plaintiffs Rehab R Us and Wellness Transportation, who then sought PIP benefits for the services they had rendered from Geico. While the action was ongoing, the Supreme Court decided Covenant, prompting Geico to move for summary disposition. The plaintiffs sought to amend their complaint, but the trial court ultimately agreed with Geico that “although plaintiffs were not precluded from pursuing a cause of action premised on standing derived from an assignment, the particular assignment here was unenforceable because it was ambiguous and purported to assign future benefits, and it did not appear to contain a severable assignment for past benefits.”

The trial court granted Geico’s motion for summary disposition; the Court of Appeals affirmed, but disagreed with the trial court’s interpretation of the language of the assignments. The Court determined that the assignments were unambiguous, and were assigned for benefits that were past or presently due, not for future benefits. Despite the validity of the assignments, Rehab and Wellness were precluded from bringing their action because the amended complaint, “if premised on an assignment that occurred after the filing of the original complaint, must be considered a supplemental pleading, rather than a truly amended pleading. [citation omitted].” Thus, whereas “an amended pleading adding a claim will relate back to the date of the original pleading . . . a supplemental pleading will not.” The Court went on to state:

Because the assignments here occurred after the original complaint was filed, any “amended complaint” plaintiffs could file would be considered a supplemental pleading that could not relate back to the date of the original complaint. Id. at 203-205. Because the assignments themselves did nothing more than grant plaintiffs whatever rights Marcos had on June 30, 2017, when the assignments were executed, the one-year-back rule precludes plaintiffs from recovering payment for services provided prior to June 30, 2016. See Shah, 324 Mich App at 202-205.

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