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Health Call of Detroit, Inc. v. Farmers Ins. Exchange

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 12, 2017

HEALTH CALL OF DETROIT, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
FARMERS INS. EXCHANGE, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT FARMERS'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Farmers Insurance Exchange's motions for summary judgment and for leave to file a nonconforming reply brief [docket entries 28 and 38]. Health Call has responded, Farmers has replied, and Health call has filed a sur-reply. Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2), the Court shall decide this motion without a hearing.

         FACTS

         The following facts are summarized from Health Call's complaint and briefing:

         In July 2011, six-year old Jaden was in a terrible car accident when another car going 70 mph smashed into his family's car. He was thrown from the back seat underneath the dashboard. He suffered skull fractures, sacral factures, and a hemorrhagic contusion in his right temporal lobe. Medics onsite unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him several times. He was airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital, where he spent a week in a coma. Jaden was diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injury. Because Jaden still suffers many side effects of the accident, his “physicians have prescribed 24-hour attendant care services, primarily for supervision purposes.” Pl.'s Br. p. 4.

         In October 2011, Jaden's mother Velma Sears-Roddy-acting on his behalf- assigned to Health Call “any rights [Jaden] may have as a result of Health Call providing services.” Id. at Ex. M. This included the right to “collect any and all benefits.” Id.

         In July 2012, Velma-acting as Jaden's next friend-filed a complaint against Farmers, who was refusing to pay no-fault benefits. In January 2014, the case settled, and Velma- acting on Jaden's behalf-signed a partial release of claims against Farmers.[1] Id. at Ex. K. For the next year, Farmers paid for Jaden's attendant care. In January 2015, Farmers sent a letter to Velma, stating that based on the analysis of its physician, Dr. O'Leary, it would no longer pay for attendant care for Jaden. In response, Jaden's longtime physician, Dr. Pelshaw, wrote Farmers, explaining Jaden's need for attendant care, but to no avail.

         In February 2015, Health Call began providing services to Jaden. In February 2016, Health Call filed the instant complaint against Farmers, asserting a single violation of Michigan's No-Fault Act. In June 2017, Velma signed another assignment of benefits to Health Call. Id. at Ex. N. This assignment states: “In consideration for the services provided to [Jaden] by Health Call, [Jaden] assigns and transfers to Health Call all of [his] rights and interest in his[] insurance benefits for services rendered by Health Call.” Id.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) states that any party moving for summary judgment must identify “each claim or defense . . . on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” A party must support its assertions by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). “The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). If the moving party satisfies this burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “[T]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient [to defeat a motion for summary judgment]; there must be ...


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