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No medical bills outstanding No coverage under Med Pay



Courtney Young appealed the district court decision granting Shelter Mutual Insurance Company's claim for summary judgment and dismissed Young's complaint against Shelter with prejudice. Young argued that the district court erred in granting a summary judgment to Shelter and instead should have granted his claim not to file his complaint without prejudice so that he could try another way to sue the insurer. I C ourtney Young v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Company No. CV-20-201, 2021 Ark.App. 391, Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I, IV (October 20, 2021), the court wasted its time appealing after the Arkansas Supreme Court had already ruled on the same issue in favor of an insurer.

FACTS

Young was injured in an accident while traveling in a Ford Explorer. Young sued both the estate's estate and Shelter, which provided insurance coverage for Explorer. By the end of 2017, Young had settled all his claims except the claim against Shelter for $ 5,000 in medical benefits. On March 7, 2018, Shelter requested a summary assessment and requested that Young's complaint be rejected. Shelter attached exhibits showing that Young's health insurance companies paid for their medical expenses and the remaining balances were written off under federal law; thus, Young did not owe any money to any doctor. Shelter claimed that Young was not entitled to any medical benefits from Shelter under the terms of the insurance policy covered by Explorer.

On December 5, 2019, the Supreme Court of Arkansas announced Crockett & Carter v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. 2019 Ark. 365, 589 SW3d 369. Shelter believed that the Crockett holding had rejected the exact medical question Young pursued against Shelter in the complaint, which gave Shelter the right to summarize the judgment and dismiss the complaint with prejudice. On January 13, 2020, Shelter filed an "addendum" to his earlier request for summary judgment, and attached Crockett the opinion. On January 21, 2020, Young filed a motion for dismissal without prejudice and Shelter filed a response in opposition, noting that Young did not contest Crockett 's application and had waived his absolute right to dismiss without prejudice.

Shelter filed his application for summary judgment in March 2018, and in April 2018, the district court granted Young an additional forty-five days to file his response. In May 2018, Young submitted an early response to Shelter's request for a summary judgment, claiming that the provision on medical payment in the "Coverage C" part of Shelter's insurance contract was ambiguous or invalid against public policy.

The district court granted Shelter's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Young's complaint with prejudice.

ANALYSIS

Although Young rightly stated that the Supreme Court has ruled and argued that the right to non-summons described in Rule 41 is absolute and may not be denied by the district court as long as the right is asserted prior to "final submission" of the case to the jury or the court. If a case is submitted to the district court on request for a summary judgment and an invalid decision has been announced to the plaintiff, the case has been "presented" in accordance with Article 41. Once the district court has submitted it, it has room to decide whether to grant a voluntary attire. .

Young submitted a formal response to Shelter's request for summary judgment in May 2018. In January 2020, the Shelter District Court issued an opinion from the Arkansas Supreme Court from 2019 in further support of its motion filed in 2018. Young no longer requested time to submit further arguments concerning Shelter's pending request for a summary judgment or the supplementary opinion of the Supreme Court that Shelter had submitted. The district court did not request further arguments. The district court eventually entered a summary judgment on January 22, 2020.

CONCLUSION

Shelter's request for summary judgment had been submitted to the court before Young tried to bring an action. In these circumstances, Young did not have an absolute right not to present his complaint without prejudice. A summary assessment is simply seen as one of the tools in the district court's efficiency arsenal. A summary assessment is appropriate when it is clear that there are no genuine issues of material circumstance to try, and the moving party is entitled to a judgment in law. Once the moving party has established a prima facie right to summary judgment, the opposing party must face evidence with evidence and show the existence of an essential fact. When a summary judgment is rendered in accordance with the precedent of the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Arkansas Court of Appeal must confirm the summary judgment.

The protection of insurance contracts for protection to be interpreted in this case is exactly the same as that negotiated in Crockett Supreme Court case and arguments against summary judgment (that Shelter's contractual language was ambiguous or that the contractual provisions were invalid in public ) is exactly the same argument rejected by the Supreme Court.

Lawsuit insurance companies can be considered by some as a way to get rich, but here it seems to be a gross waste of time and money to handle a claim of $ 5,000 for medical bills that were not owed by the plaintiff. Once the Supreme Court ruled, there was no reason to continue.


© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to serving as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, bad faith insurance and insurance fraud almost as much for insurers and policyholders.

He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance and claims management attorney and more than 54 years in the insurance industry.

Subscribe to Excellence in Claims Handling at https://barryzalma.substack.com/welcome.

He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com. Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award. For the past 53 years, Barry Zalma has devoted his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurance companies and their indemnity staff to become liable for insurance.

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