Click on any headline for full story…

Attorneys Scott Pawlak and Brian Catrinar obtained summary disposition on behalf of a no-fault insurer for medical expenses arising out of a motor vehicle accident. Following the accident, Plaintiff’s health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield (through an ERISA plan), reimbursed plaintiff’s healthcare providers at a reduced amount pursuant to their provider participation agreements. Plaintiff then sought the difference between the Blue Cross reimbursement rate and the amount billed by the providers. Defendant argued – and the Court agreed – that the providers were statutorily bound to accept the reduced payments from Blue Cross as payment in full for their services. The Court held that because the providers were not entitled to pursue the differential, Plaintiff had not “incurred” those amounts and was therefore not entitled to recover the differential.

Attorney Matthew J. Zmijewski prevailed in his pursuit of Summary Disposition in favor of his client, a national insurance carrier. The plaintiff, seeking recovery of PIP Benefits under the Michigan No-Fault Act, submitted more than a dozen affidavits in support of her alleged physical disabilities and need/receipt of household assistance and personal nursing care. She later provided deposition testimony in furtherance of her allegations, contending the extent of her bodily injuries disabled her from activities such as driving, grocery shopping or styling her hair. Zmijewski petitioned the Macomb County Circuit Court to apply the “fraud exclusion” provision of his client’s insurance policy to preclude coverage entirely, highlighting direct and specific contradictions between the plaintiff’s affidavits and deposition testimony with surveillance footage depicting the plaintiff performing activities inconsistent with her claimed limitations – driving, grocery shopping and working as a hair stylist. The Court agreed and authored a written Opinion and Order applying the “fraud exclusion” provision and dismissing the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. Zmijewski parlayed the favorable outcome, having sought the same relief with the Wayne County Circuit Court in a separate lawsuit filed by one of the plaintiff’s medical/service providers. The extra effort paid off as Zmijewski obtained dismissal of the medical/service provider’s claims against his client, which alone totaled more than $50,000.00.

Collins Einhorn Farrell PC is pleased to announce that 17 of its attorneys have been named to the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America©. In addition, three attorneys have received the high distinction of being named Metro Detroit’s 2018 “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for their outstanding work. This marks the eighth year in a row that a Collins Einhorn lawyer has been so honored with this prestigious designation. Click on the headline to view the full list of recipients.

Attorneys Ashley S. Dickey and MaryRachel Dysarz won a summary disposition motion in favor of an automobile no-fault insurer on August 2, 2017. Plaintiff, a medical provider, claimed to be entitled to medical expenses, interest, and fees totaling $140,766.09, incurred on behalf of a claimant who was allegedly injured in an automobile accident. Pursuant to the Michigan Supreme Court decision in Covenant v State Farm Mut Automobile Ins Co, ___Mich___ (May 25, 2017)(Docket No. 152758), attorneys Dickey and Dysarz argued that a medical provider has no standing to sue under the No-Fault Act. The Oakland County Circuit Court agreed. The Court also found that the medical provider had an assignment from the claimant for 11 months but chose not to allow an amendment to its complaint because the medical provider did not request the amendment until the eve of trial. For these reasons, the Oakland County Circuit Court dismissed the medical provider’s case against the automobile no-fault insurer.

Click on the headline for full details of the outcome.

Collins Einhorn Farrell PC is pleased to announce that attorney Matthew S. LaBeau has joined the firm’s General and Automotive Liability practice group. LaBeau will focus his practice on the defense of first and third-party No-Fault claims, uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, automobile negligence, premises liability, general negligence, and contractual disputes. LaBeau has extensive experience in defending catastrophic No-Fault claims, as well consulting insurers regarding catastrophic claims prior to litigation. His background also includes involvement in all aspects of the litigation process from the discovery process through trial, routinely resulting in successful results for his clients. LaBeau has frequently made presentations throughout the State of Michigan on various topics relating to claims under the Michigan No-Fault Act, uninsured/underinsured motorist claims, and automobile negligence.

Peter J. Tomasek has joined the firm’s Appellate practice group. Tomasek will focus his practice on appellate litigation and writing dispositive motions in the trial courts. Before joining the firm, he worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Colleen A. O’Brien and as a research attorney with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Attorney Patrick D. Crandell was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Livonia Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The Livonia EDC provides a partnership between the public and private sectors and offers an incentive program designed to help businesses grow and prosper. The role of the Board, composed of business leaders and community representatives, is to discuss the issuing of tax-exempt revenue bonds or notes to finance all or parts of the cost of a project, including acquisition, new construction, renovating of existing property, and machinery and equipment.

We are pleased to announce that our partner Kellie L. Howard-Goudy has been named a 2017 Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Women in the Law Award recipient. The selection criteria included commitment to excellence in the practice of law, inspiring and accomplished leadership in the profession, mentoring and significant contributions of time and effort to volunteer and pro bono activities. Howard-Goudy is one of 30 distinguished lawyers who were chosen to receive this prestigious award. Click on the headline to read the full announcement.

Attorneys Kari L. Melkonian and Jonathan B. Koch won summary disposition in favor of a hotel in a premises liability action arising out of an assault on a visitor at the premises. The plaintiff-visitor was assaulted by a hotel guest and sued the hotel under a premises liability theory that it had a duty to act in response to an allegedly reported threat. The Court dismissed plaintiff’s claims finding that there is no duty to anticipate or prevent the criminal acts of third-parties and that the hotel had no notice of any potential threat and therefore no duty to act.

Attorneys Kellie L. Howard-Goudy and Michael J. Cook obtained summary disposition on behalf of a public school district and the school itself, cutting off a multimillion dollar liability exposure. The plaintiff, arguing the case in Wayne County Circuit Court, asserted negligence and gross negligence claims based on a paralyzing injury he suffered during football practice. He claimed that the operation of the school football team was negligent and unauthorized. Howard-Goudy and Cook asserted and the Court agreed that the school district, which was an “educational authority” instead of a typical school district, was entitled to governmental immunity.