Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Spine Specialists of Michigan P.C. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Michigan

October 13, 2016

SPINE SPECIALISTS OF MICHIGAN, P.C. and AMERICAN ANESTHESIA ASSOCIATES L.L.C., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Wayne Circuit Court LC No. 14-011030-NF

          Before: Fort Hood, P.J., and Gleicher and O'Brien, JJ.

          GLEICHER, J.

         Alonzo Garvin sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident and received treatment from plaintiff Spine Specialists of Michigan, P.C. Spine Specialists brought this action against State Farm seeking payment for the care it provided to Garvin. Dr. Louis Radden, a neurosurgeon, solely owns Spine Specialists of Michigan, P.C. The issue presented is whether State Farm must pay Dr. Radden an expert witness fee to take his deposition.

         Dr. Radden refused to be deposed unless State Farm paid him $5, 000 for three hours of testimony. When State Farm objected, the circuit court lowered the fee to $1, 000 for the first 90 minutes of testimony and $1, 000 for each hour thereafter. We granted State Farm's application for leave to appeal the fee ruling, Spine Specialists of Mich, PC v State Farm Mut Ins Co, unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, November 25, 2015 (Docket No. 327997), and now reverse. Dr. Radden is an employee of the plaintiff and is not entitled to a fee for testifying on its behalf.

         I

         Dr. Radden treated Garvin with epidural and facet joint steroid injections. Spine Specialists' complaint avers that State Farm has unreasonably denied its claims for payment for these medical services. State Farm's answer asserts that some or all of Garvin's injuries may not have arisen from the motor vehicle accident and that Spine Specialists' services and charges may not have been reasonable or necessary.

         Spine Specialists filed a "preliminary witness list" naming Dr. Radden as a witness. The list named another physician, Dr. Scott Primack, as a "[p]otential [e]xpert." Spine Specialists did not designate Dr. Radden as an expert witness. State Farm's witness list likewise identified Dr. Radden as an ordinary witness. Spine Specialists later filed an "amended . . . preliminary witness list" again naming Dr. Radden as a witness, but not an expert.

         State Farm scheduled Dr. Radden's discovery deposition. Spine Specialists announced that Dr. Radden required a fee of $5, 000 for three hours of testimony and preemptively filed a "motion to enforce Dr. Louis Radden's expert witness fee." The motion asserted that "Dr. Radden, in anticipation that he will be asked his medical opinion regarding the treatments rendered, requested an expert witness fee to compensate him for his testimony." The circuit court granted the motion, reasoning:

[T]he doctor in these no-fault cases, will take the position eventually, why even treat a person who's involved in an accident if I'm going to tie up a full day every time I submit a Record for payment to a carrier. Eventually, Doctors may be reluctant to treat auto accident claimants for this very reason.

         The court ordered that State Farm pay Dr. Radden $1, 000 for the first 1½ hours of the deposition and $250 for each 15 minutes thereafter. State Farm's motion for reconsideration was denied.

         II

         We review de novo a circuit court's construction and application of the Michigan Court Rules. Dextrom v Wexford Co, 287 Mich.App. 406, 416; 789 N.W.2d 211 (2010). We employ statutory construction principles when interpreting court rules, applying the rule's plain and unambiguous language as written. CAM Constr v Lake Edgewood Condo Ass'n, 465 Mich. 549, 554; 640 N.W.2d ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.