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Michigan Pain Management, LLC v. Esurance Insurance Co.

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

July 5, 2018

MICHIGAN PAIN MANAGEMENT, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ESURANCE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 2)

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Michigan Pain Management, LLC sued defendant Esurance Insurance Company for payment of expenses arising out of an automobile accident on October 18, 2016. This matter is presently before the Court on Esurance's motion to dismiss. (Doc. 2). Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), the Court shall rule without oral argument. For the reasons stated below, Esurance's motion is GRANTED.

         I. Background

         Demitrius Daniels was injured in an automobile accident on October 18, 2016. Daniels sought treatment at Michigan Pain Management and filed a PIP claim with his insurer, Esurance. Thereafter, Daniels assigned some of his rights to collect benefits to Michigan Pain Management. Michigan Pain Management states that it received the first assignment on November 19, 2016.

         On December 19, 2016, Daniels sued Esurance in Wayne County Circuit Court to collect benefits. Esurance removed the case, numbered 17-10209, and it was randomly assigned to this Court.

         Prior to May 25, 2017, Michigan healthcare providers had a statutory cause of action to recover no fault benefits. Relying on this statutory cause of action, Michigan Pain Management sued Esurance in Wayne County Circuit Court on March 15, 2017. Esurance removed the case, numbered 17-10954, and it was reassigned to the Honorable George Caram Steeh, III, as a companion to case number 17-10209, Daniels v. Esurance Insurance Company. But healthcare providers' statutory cause of action was eliminated by the Michigan Supreme Court's May 25, 2017 ruling in Covenant Medical Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 500 Mich. 191 (2017). Covenant held “that a healthcare provider possesses no statutory cause of action against an insurer for recovery of PIP benefits. . . .” Id. at 491. The court's decision, however, was “not intended to alter an insured's ability to assign his or her right to past or presently due benefits to a healthcare provider.” Id. at 505 n. 40.

         On June 23, 2017, Esurance filed a motion to dismiss Michigan Pain Management's case numbered 17-10954. Esurance argued that, under Covenant, Michigan Pain Management lacked standing and its claims were moot. The Court issued a notice of hearing on the motion to dismiss and required Michigan Pain Management to file a response brief by July 24, 2017. Michigan Pain Management never filed a response.

         The Court issued an order granting Esurance's motion to dismiss on August 29, 2017. The Court applied the Michigan Supreme Court's holding in Covenant and found “that plaintiff [Michigan Pain Management], as a healthcare service provider, is not the proper party to request adjudication of the issue whether Mr. Daniels is entitled to statutory No-Fault benefits under the No-Fault Act.” (Case 17-10954, Doc. 9 at Page ID 181). The Court further noted that

[i]n its motion to dismiss, defendant [Esurance] anticipated that plaintiff [Michigan Pain Management] might seek leave to file an amended or supplemental pleading based on several assignments signed by Mr. Daniels. While some of the assignments were signed before plaintiff [Michigan Pain Management] filed its lawsuit on March 15, 2017, plaintiff did not plead that it was Mr. Daniels' assignee in its complaint. In any event, plaintiff has not sought to amend or supplement its pleading to make any argument based on the assignments.

(Case 17-10954, Doc. 9 at Page ID 181). The court concluded its order by stating that “[b]ased on the holding of the Michigan Supreme Court in Covenant, the court GRANTS defendant's motion to dismiss.” (Case 17-10954, Doc. 9 at Page ID 182).

         Michigan Pain Management filed the instant lawsuit in Macomb County Circuit Court on December 13, 2017. (Doc. 1-4). Michigan Pain Management's complaint seeks PIP benefits as Daniels' assignee. (Doc. 1-4 at PageID 24). Esurance removed the case, (Doc. 1), and it was reassigned to the Honorable George Caram Steeh, III, as a companion to case number 17-10954, Michigan Pain Management, LLC v. Esurance Insurance Company, (Doc. 5). This matter is presently before the Court on Esurance's motion to dismiss, (Doc. 2), filed on February 13, 2018. Michigan Pain Management filed a response on March 13, 2018. (Doc. 7). Esurance filed a reply on March 23, 2018. (Doc. 9).

         II. Legal Standard

         A court confronted with a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must construe the complaint in favor of the plaintiff, accept the allegations of the complaint as true, and determine whether the plaintiff's factual allegations present plausible claims. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-56 (2007). “[N]aked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement” and “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s]” are insufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The complaint need not contain “detailed” factual allegations, but its “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the allegations in the complaint are true.” Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007).

         III. ...


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