Michigan Court of Appeals Holds that an Anti-Assignment Provision in a Settlement Agreement Is Valid and Enforceable

Driving Forward:

Propelling the Legal Community

with Innovative Insights.

Michigan Court of Appeals Holds that an Anti-Assignment Provision in a Settlement Agreement Is Valid and Enforceable
Since the Michigan Supreme Court released Covenant Med Ctr, Inc v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 500 Mich 191; 895 NW2d 490 (2017), the assignment of no-fault benefits to medical providers has been an area of contention. Previously, many insurance carriers included anti-assignment clauses in their policies. But in 2018, the Michigan Court of...
Court of Appeals Holds That No-Fault Plaintiff-Provider Was Not the Real Party in Interest, but Under Case-Specific Facts
Only “the real party in interest” can maintain a lawsuit under Michigan law. Who’s the real party in interest in a no-fault case after an assignee medical provider is sold? The Court of Appeals’ decision in Southeast Mich Surgical Hosp, LLC v Farm Bureau Mut Ins Co of Mich (Docket No. 351298), reveals that the...
Michigan Court of Appeals Holds that Information in an Insurer’s Computer System Satisfied the Written Notice Requirement Under MCL 500.3145
The no-fault act prohibits the filing of a lawsuit for benefits more than one year after an accident unless the insurer received written notice of the injured person’s injuries within the first year or the insurer previously paid benefits. In Jawad A. Shah MD v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co (Docket No. 351156), the...
Court of Appeals Holds that Assignments Signed During Medical Service Intakes Are Void
Assignments have become a popular mechanism for medical providers to collect their bills on behalf of patients injured in car accidents. As a result, insurers frequently dispute whether medical providers have valid assignments. MCL 500.3143 prohibits assignments for benefits payable in the future, but it does not provide any temporal restrictions on the meaning of...
Preliminary Injunctive Relief: The Next Big Thing in Michigan No-Fault Law?
Preliminary injunctive relief has long been recognized in commercial contract disputes, particularly where a dispute has the potential to disrupt a commercial supply chain. A party to litigation can file a request for a preliminary injunction and seek an order from the court to maintain the status quo until the dispute is resolved. Recently, the...
Michigan Court of Appeals Reaffirms that a Plaintiff’s Injuries Must Be More Than “Incidental” to Recover No-Fault Benefits
Michigan’s no-fault act doesn’t allow an injured person to claim benefits for a limitless chain of injuries or conditions. Benefits are payable for injuries “arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.” MCL 500.3105(1). They’re not recoverable for injuries that are only incidentally or fortuitously related...
Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Disposition of Uninsured-Motorist Claim Under Competent-Evidence Policy Requirement
On occasion, a plaintiff will sue an insurance company for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits after a no-contact/no-collision accident involving an unknown at-fault driver. UM benefits are not a statutory requirement in Michigan, but rather a contractual benefit. So the litigants often ask the court to review the policy language and provide an opinion regarding its...
Making Sense of Negligence
We all know that a plaintiff must prove four elements to succeed on a negligence claim: a duty owed, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages. A fact-intensive analysis is required to determine whether a defendant breached a legal duty. And to win a motion for summary disposition arguing that no duty was breached,...
Hide and Seek: A Lower-Priority Insurer’s Liability Turns on Whether a Higher-Priority Insurer is Identifiable, Regardless of the Time or Effort Required to Find It
In a recent published decision, Griffin v Trumbull Ins Co (Docket No. 344272), the Michigan Court of Appeals clarified the proper analysis for courts faced with priority issues in no-fault actions. If a higher-priority insurer is “identifiable” under one of the exceptions in MCL 500.3114, the claimant’s own insurer isn’t liable for no-fault benefits under...
Court of Appeals Holds That an Independent Contractor Can Still Be an “Employee” Under the No-Fault Act’s Employer-Furnished Vehicle Exception
Insurers frequently dispute the application of MCL 500.3114(3) (the employer-furnished vehicle exception) in cases involving commercial vehicles. In Miclea v Cherokee Ins Co (Docket No. 344694), the Michigan Court of Appeals clarified that an individual’s status as an independent contractor does not have any impact on whether the individual is an “employee” of another person...
DIFS Has Issued Rules for Utilization Reviews: Here’s What You Need to Know
When the Legislature reformed the Michigan no-fault act on June 11, 2019, one of the many changes was the implementation of a utilization review process. This new procedure allows insurers and the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to seek further information and make determinations regarding treatment, training, products, services, or accommodations that were potentially overutilized...
Michigan Court of Appeals Reaffirms the Standards Governing Reimbursement of Mistakenly Paid PIP Benefits
In Ravenell v Auto Club Ins Assoc, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued October 15, 2020 (Docket No. 348436), the Court of Appeals considered NGM Insurance Company’s claim for reimbursement of mistakenly paid personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits from Auto Club Insurance Association (ACIA). The Court followed Amerisure Cos v State...
Interpreting the New IME Requirements Under the Amended No-Fault Act Through an Analysis of Medical-Malpractice Law
Comprehensive changes to MCL 500.3151—the statute governing insurer-requested physical and mental examinations under the no-fault act—have prompted insurers and attorneys alike to consider the potential impact that the amendments will have on independent medical evaluations (IMEs). But a reasoned interpretation of the amended statute does not require starting from scratch. Conveniently, the requirements now adopted...
Player Cries Foul in Youth Soccer Match: An Update on the Reckless-Misconduct Standard as Applied to Recreational Activities
In Campau v Renaud, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued August 6, 2020 (Docket No. 347622), the Court of Appeals analyzed the reckless-misconduct standard in a case arising out of a youth soccer game. The Court’s analysis centered on Ritchie-Gamester v Berkley, 461 Mich 73; 597 NW2d 517 (1999), and it...
Focus on the Facts to Obtain Summary Disposition on Sudden-Emergency Grounds
In Price v Austin, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued April 30, 2020 (Docket No. 346145), the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s grant of summary disposition based on the sudden-emergency doctrine. The Court’s decision demonstrates that a defendant may rely on the doctrine to rebut the presumption of negligence...
A Plaintiff Claiming False Light Invasion of Privacy Must Show Malice
Michigan law recognizes four types of invasion-of-privacy claims. In Foundation for Behavioral Resources v WE Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Group, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 345415), the Michigan Court of Appeals recently clarified the elements for “false light invasion of privacy” (i.e., the cause of action for “publicity that places the...
A Whole New World: Advice for Remote Depositions
A Whole New World: Advice for Remote Depositions If you’re anything like me, you spent the early days of the stay-at-home order pushing back a deposition or two, assuming that you’d be better off waiting until they could be conducted “properly” (i.e., in person). By now, it’s clear that we must adapt during these bleak...
Michigan Legislature Eliminates Limitation on No-Fault Benefits for Chiropractic Services
In 2020, back pain isn’t just something that we experience as we social distance and sit on our couches watching a Tigers game instead of going to Comerica Park. It’s also one of the most common complaints that no-fault insurers see following an automobile accident. For years, the no-fault act has excluded certain chiropractic services...
Recent Published Opinion Distinguishes Haydaw and Affirms Summary Disposition Under Bahri
In July 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued Haydaw v Farm Bureau Ins Co (Docket No. 345516), an opinion with significant consequences for insurance companies defending against fraudulent claims. As explained in our earlier blog post, Haydaw held that an insurer can’t rely on an insured’s misrepresentations during discovery to void an insurance policy...
Michigan Court of Appeals Holds that Evidence of Third-Party Payments is Relevant to the Reasonableness of a Provider’s Charges Under the No-Fault Act
Parties argue about what is “reasonable” in nearly every legal context. The same holds true for no-fault litigation, especially when it comes to personal protection insurance (“PIP”) benefits. While the no-fault act itself and the supporting case law firmly establish that no-fault insurers are only obligated to pay reasonable charges, the act doesn’t define “reasonable.”...
Michigan Court of Appeals Expands the Factors that Courts Should Consider When Applying the Economic Reality Test in No-Fault Cases
In Duckworth v Cherokee Ins Co, ___ Mich App ___ ;___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 347865), the Court of Appeals analyzed whether James Duckworth was an employee or independent contractor of Speed Express, LLC, to resolve a priority dispute between Speed Express’s no-fault insurer and Duckworth’s personal no-fault insurer. The Court held that trial...
What Did You Say? A Claim for Defamation in the Internet Age
In Redmond v Heller, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 347505), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that several statements made on the internet about a funeral home and its staff constituted defamation per se. In other words, the internet isn’t quite the freewheeling “Wild West” as is often depicted. You...
When You Can’t Pass the Buck: The Limits of Equitable Subrogation in Auto Insurance Cases
Under the doctrine of equitable subrogation, a person who pays a debt primarily owed by a third party (the subrogee) is substituted in the place of the person for whom the debt is paid (the subrogor). The subrogee can then enforce the subrogor’s rights to obtain reimbursement from the responsible third party. In Esurance Prop...
“The Devil is in the Details”: Pay Close Attention to the Facts in Cases Involving Residential Care Services
In Life Skills Village, PLLC  v Nationwide Mut Fire Ins Co, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2019) (Docket No. 345237), the Court of Appeals emphasized the highly factual nature of determining whether a facility provides adult foster care services that trigger Michigan licensure requirements. The published opinion is important for ascertaining whether residential...
Michigan Supreme Court Holds Antifraud Provision Invalid As Applied to Statutorily-Mandated No-Fault Coverage
In Meemic Ins Co v Fortson, ___ Mich ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 158302), released July 29, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the antifraud provision in Meemic Insurance Company’s no-fault policy was invalid and unenforceable as applied to coverage mandated by the no-fault act. The antifraud provision failed because it was...
An Assignor’s Release of Past, Present, and Future No-Fault Benefits Applies to His Assignee Unless the Insurer Receives Notice of the Assignment
Since the Michigan Supreme Court released its Covenant opinion[1] in 2017, Michigan courts have issued inconsistent decisions regarding a medical provider’s rights under an assignment after the assignor settles his claim for no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The Michigan Court of Appeals heeded the calls for direction on this issue and approved Physiatry and...
The Snow May Be Gone, but Snowmobile Claims Remain: Snowmobilers’ Liability Under Michigan Law
It may be summer, but the consequences of wintertime fun are likely manifesting themselves now as legal claims. Michigan registers one of the highest numbers of snowmobilers in the country, second only to Wisconsin. Nearly 6,500 miles of State-groomed snowmobile trails cover the middle and northern parts of Michigan. In fact, in some parts of...
An Insured’s False Statements During Discovery Present Credibility Issues, Not Grounds for Summary Disposition
In early July 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in Haydaw v Farm Bureau Ins Co, ___ Mich App __; ___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 345516), that an insurer can’t rely on an insured’s misrepresentations during discovery to void an insurance policy under a fraud provision. Haydaw preserves insurers’ ability to void policies...
The Second Phase of No-Fault Reform Is Now In Effect: What You Need to Know
Introduction The amendments to Michigan’s no-fault act were filed with the Secretary of State on June 11, 2019. At that time, certain changes went into effect immediately. However, the Legislature set a later effective date for the most impactful amendments. The second phase of reform went into effect on July 2, 2020. Here’s what you...
Change May Be on the Horizon for Michigan’s Insurable-Interest Requirement in Auto Cases
In MemberSelect Ins Co v Flesher, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2020) (Docket No. 348571), the Michigan Court of Appeals considered the insurable-interest requirement for auto policies. It held that Kelly Fetzer had a sufficient interest in her adult son’s well-being to support her insurance policy, which covered a vehicle owned by and registered to...
Driving Forward: Propelling the Legal Community With Innovative Insights
Collins Einhorn Farrell is pleased to announce the launch of Driving Forward, a blog discussing the latest issues impacting automotive and general liability law.  The attorneys from our General and Automotive Liability practice group have obtained excellent results throughout the State of Michigan, and will be providing their perspectives on various legal issues.  The blog will...
Have questions or looking for further information? Contact one of our experts.