Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #336088; Published
Judges O’Connell, Hoekstra, and Swartzle; written by Hoekstra
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Medical Provider Standing (Post-Covenant)
In this unanimous published opinion written by Judge Hoekstra, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition to Plaintiff Bronson Healthcare Group, Inc. (“Bronson”) and ordered the district court to enter summary disposition for Defendant Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (“MACP”). The Court reversed the trial court because it found that Bronson did not have standing to bring a claim after the Michigan Supreme Court abolished the independent statutory cause of action for medical providers in Covenant Med Ctr, Inc v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 500 Mich 191; 895 NW2d 490 (2017).
Bronson provided medical treatment to an injured individual who was not covered by an auto insurance policy. Bronson sought to have MACP assign the claim to an insurer and MACP refused to do so. Bronson brought an action to have MACP assign the claim and the trial court granted summary disposition for Bronson. MACP appealed and while the case was pending on appeal the Michigan Supreme Court decided Covenant, which abolished the independent statutory action for medical providers. The Michigan Court of Appeals subsequently held that Covenant applied to cases waiting on appeal.
The Court reversed summary disposition for Bronson because it found that it lacked standing. The Court found that Covenant abolished the independent statutory cause of action for medical providers and Bronson brought its action as an independent statutory cause of action. Therefore, under Covenant Bronson did not have standing and summary disposition should be granted to MACP. The Court also explained that Covenant applied because this case was pending on appeal when Covenant came out. Additionally, the Court dismissed Bronson’s contention that MACP’s failure to bring the issue in the trial court meant that it waived the issue. Finally, the Court explained that Bronson should be allowed to amend its complaint if it can establish standing.
“In sum, applying Covenant, we conclude as a matter of law that defendants are entitled to summary disposition. Consequently, we vacate the decision of the circuit court, we reverse the district court’s grant of summary disposition to plaintiff, and we remand to the district court for entry of summary disposition in favor of defendants. On remand, plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to file a motion to amend its complaint.”
Thus, the Court reversed the order for summary disposition against MACP and ordered the trial court to grant summary disposition for MACP.