United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN SURGICAL HOSPITAL, LLC, SPINE PLLC, SUMMIT MEDICAL GROUP, PLLC, SUMMIT PHYSCICIANS GROUP, PLLC, GETTER DONE TRANSPORTATION, LLC, and KEVIN T. CRAWFORD, DO, PC, Plaintiffs,
MAURICE LITTLE, Defendant.
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS AND DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT  
G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
lawsuit Plaintiffs Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital, LLC,
Spine PLLC, Summit, Summit Medical Group, PLLC, Summit
Physicians Group, PLLC, Getter Done Transportation, LLC, and
Kevin T. Crawford, D.O., PC seek to recover payment from
Defendant Maurice Little for medical services they allegedly
provided to him. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant owes $1,
075, 871.14 for unpaid medical services he received after an
before the Court are two dispositive motions: Defendant's
motion to dismiss (ECF No. 8) and Plaintiffs' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 10). Defendant seeks dismissal of
Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that the one-year statute of
limitations provided in Michigan's No-Fault Act bars
Plaintiffs' claims. In their motion, Plaintiffs seek
summary judgment in their favor and assert that there are no
genuine issues of material fact concerning their entitlement
to payment from Defendant. On July 31, 2019, the Court held a
hearing in connection with the motions. For the reasons set
forth below, both motions are DENIED.
action is the offshoot of a no-fault insurance dispute
between Defendant and non-party Farm Bureau Insurance
Company. On February 14, 2015, Defendant was injured in a
motor vehicle accident. He was a passenger in the vehicle at
the time of the accident. After the accident, Defendant
sought medical treatment from a number of healthcare
providers including Plaintiffs.
owner and driver of the vehicle was insured by a Farm Bureau
auto insurance policy. Plaintiff submitted a claim for PIP
benefits under the policy, which was denied by Farm Bureau.
On February 12, 2016, Defendant filed suit against Farm
Bureau in Michigan state court asserting claims under
Michigan's No-Fault Act. Defendant's various
healthcare providers, including Plaintiffs, intervened in
Defendant's lawsuit asserting claims for their unpaid
the course of that litigation, the Michigan Supreme Court
held as a matter of first impression that healthcare
providers do not possess statutory claims under
Michigan's No-Fault Act directly against insurance
companies. See Covenant Med. Ctr., Inc. v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 500 Mich. 191, 895 N.W.2d 490
(2017). The Wayne County circuit court, relying on
Covenant, dismissed Plaintiffs' third-party
claims against Farm Bureau. Defendant's claims, including
his claims for the unpaid medical bills submitted by
Plaintiffs, proceeded against Farm Bureau.
April 20, 2018, Farm Bureau and Defendant entered into an
agreement to settle all claims arising out of the accident.
Farm Bureau agreed to pay Defendant $35, 000 in full
satisfaction of all his claims, including his claims for
unpaid medical bills. But Farm Bureau also agreed to defend
and indemnify Defendant if the healthcare providers,
i.e. Plaintiffs, brought suit against him
individually to recover on their unpaid medical bills.
According to Plaintiffs, in order to entice Defendant to
enter into the settlement, Farm Bureau told Defendant it was
unlikely his medical providers would actually pursue their
bills against him.
turns out, Farm Bureau was wrong. On November 6, 2018,
Plaintiffs filed suit in state court against Defendant
seeking to collect on their unpaid medical bills. Defendant
removed the case to this Court asserting diversity
jurisdiction. Upon removal, both parties filed motions
seeking dispositive resolution of the case. Defendant moves
to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to Federal Rule
of Procedure 12(b)(6) arguing that Plaintiffs' claims are
barred by the one-year statute of limitations provided in
Michigan's No-Fault Act. Plaintiffs conversely seek
summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56. Plaintiffs contend the summary judgment evidence
establishes that Defendant is liable for the full amount of
their medical bills and therefore they are entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Both motions have been fully
briefed by the parties. On July 31, 2019, the Court held a
hearing in connection with the motions.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a case where the complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. When reviewing a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must “construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” DirectTV,
Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007). But
the court “need not accept as true legal conclusions or
unwarranted factual inferences.” Id. (quoting
Gregory v. Shelby County, 220 F.3d 433, 446 (6th
Cir. 2000)). “[L]egal conclusions masquerading as
factual allegations will not suffice.” Eidson v.
State of Tenn. Dep't of Children's Servs., 510
F.3d 631, 634 (6th Cir. 2007). Dismissal is appropriate if
the plaintiff failed to offer sufficient factual allegations
that make the asserted claim plausible on its face. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Supreme Court clarified the concept of
“plausibilty” in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662 (2009):
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
[Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556,
570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) ]. A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.
Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to
a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for
more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully. Ibid. Where a complaint pleads facts that are
“merely consistent with” a defendant's
liability, it “stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to
relief.' ” Id., at 557 (brackets omitted).
Id. at 678. A plaintiff's factual allegations,
while “assumed to be true, must do more than create
speculation or suspicion of a legally cognizable cause of
action; they must show entitlement to relief.”
LULAC v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir.
2007). Thus, “[t]o state a valid claim, a complaint
must contain either direct or inferential allegations
respecting all the material ...