Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #361552; Unpublished
Judges O’Brien, Murray, and Letica; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Defendant TheraSupport Behavioral Health & Wellness (“TheraSupport”). Plaintiff Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the fee schedule included in the 2019 amendments to the No-Fault Act—MCL 500.3157(7), specifically—applied to the no-fault claim of TheraSupport’s patient, Roger Taliaferro, who was catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle collision in 1988. TheraSupport moved emergently for a preliminary injunction following the Court of Appeals’ decision in Andary v USAA Cas Ins Co, ___ Mich App ___ (2022), asking the trial court to order that Farm Bureau continue paying its charges related to Taliaferro’s treatment without regard for the fee schedule. The trial court granted TheraSupport’s motion without holding a hearing, and the Court of Appeals held that any procedural error by the trial court in doing so was harmless given that the dispositive issue was squarely decided by the Court of Appeals in Andary, and given that the trial court already knew Farm Bureau’s position on that issue full well, it having been fully articulated in Farm Bureau’s complaint.
Roger Taliaferro was catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle collision in 1988, and thereafter receiving residential brain injury treatment from TheraSupport. Farm Bureau eventually came to dispute certain aspects of Taliaferro’s claim, prompting Taliaferro to file suit at some before 2018. The parties then reached a settlement in 2018, after which Farm Bureau began paying TheraSupport a $900 per diem rate for Taliaferro’s care.
In February of 2022, Farm Bureau filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that the amount payable to TheraSupport for Taliaferro’s care was now capped in accordance with the fee schedule included in the 2019 amendments to the No-Fault Act. In response, TheraSupport emergently moved for a preliminary injunction, asking the trial court to order Farm Bureau to continue paying the $900 per diem rate while Andary was pending before the Supreme Court. In support of its motion, TheraSupport argued that it could not continue to provide residential care to Taliaferro if the per diem rate were cut by 45% in accordance with the fee schedule, and attached affidavits from Taliaferro’s caregivers who were unanimous in their opinion that Taliaferro would not survive outside of a supportive and rehabilitative environment. Without holding a hearing, the trial court granted TheraSupport’s motion and issued the requested preliminary injunction.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order granting TheraSupport’s motion for a preliminary injunction , and held that any error committed by the trial court in issuing the injunction without a hearing was harmless. The Court reasoned that the dispositive issue in the case was squarely decided by Andary , and noted that the trial court was fully apprised of Farm Bureau’s position on that issue due to its having been explained in detail in Farm Bureau’s complaint.
“Even though the trial court did not follow any of the procedures required by MCR 3.310, given that the dispositive issue was the interpretation and application of MCL 500.3157(7), and the trial court was fully apprised of Farm Bureau’s position on the matter, the trial court’s procedural error was harmless. See MCR 2.613(A). Even if the trial court’s error was not harmless, Farm Bureau is not entitled to any relief, given the subsequent decision in Andary. For these reasons, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by granting defendants’ motion for a preliminary injunction.”