No-Fault Case Law

Matter of Floral Park Drugs, Inc. v Nationwide Gen. Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 01114)

The court considered the case of Matter of Floral Park Drugs, Inc., a pharmacy and assignee of a person injured in a motor vehicle accident, seeking coverage from Nationwide General Insurance Company for prescription drug services. Nationwide denied coverage based on evidence that Floral Park filled prescriptions that were not electronic, failing to comply with Public Health Law § 281. The main issue was whether Floral Park was entitled to coverage for prescription drug services. The holding of the court was that the denial of the petition to vacate the master arbitrator's award was affirmed, as the arbitrators' conclusions in denying Floral Park's claim were not irrational or contrary to settled law, and that they did not violate a strong public policy or exceed a specifically enumerated limitation on the arbitrators' powers. Therefore, the petition to vacate the award was denied.
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JSJ Anesthesia Pain Mgt., PLLC v Nationwide Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50203(U))

The court considered the fact that JSJ Anesthesia Pain Management, PLLC was seeking to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits from Nationwide Insurance Company. The main issue decided was whether defendant had proven that they had paid the limits of the policy in accordance with 11 NYCRR 65-3.15. The holding was that defendant failed to prove, as a matter of law, that payments had been made, as the claim specialist did not lay a sufficient foundation for the payment log to be accepted as proof of payments. Therefore, defendant failed to show entitlement to summary judgment. Plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment was properly denied as well, as they also failed to establish that the claim had not been timely denied, or that defendant had issued a timely denial of claim form that was conclusory, vague, or without merit as a matter of law. As a result, the order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint was modified to deny defendant's motion.
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LR Med., PLLC v Nationwide Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50204(U))

The court considered an appeal from an order granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and denying the plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment in an action to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits. The main issue decided was whether the policy limits had been exhausted and whether the defendant was entitled to summary judgment. The holding of the case was that the order was modified to provide that the defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint was denied, and as so modified, the order was affirmed without costs. This decision was based on the reasoning stated in a related case.
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Good Care Chiropractic, P.C. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50205(U))

The court considered the fact that the defendant in the case was personally served with process at its Illinois office on September 29, 2020, and that they did not timely appear or answer the complaint. The defendant later contacted the plaintiff's counsel to request that the action be voluntarily discontinued, arguing that there was no coverage under the insurance policy. The main issue decided in the case was whether the defendant had a reasonable excuse for its delay in answering the complaint. The holding of the case was that the Civil Court granted the defendant's motion to compel the plaintiff to accept its late answer, finding that the defendant had proffered a reasonable excuse for its delay in serving its answer. The court found that the defendant's lack of willfulness and the absence of prejudice to the plaintiff justified the decision.
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State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Amtrust N. Am., Inc. (2024 NY Slip Op 00646)

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company sought to recover damages for unjust enrichment. The company had provided payments for medical services on behalf of individuals who had been injured in a motor vehicle accident while traveling in a vehicle insured by State Farm. It was discovered that the injured individuals had applied for and been directed to receive workers' compensation benefits by a different insurer. State Farm demanded that the defendant reimburse it for the full amount of no-fault benefits paid out. The Supreme Court initially granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the Workers' Compensation Board had primary jurisdiction over the coverage dispute. However, the Appellate Division reversed this decision, stating that the matter should be referred to the Workers' Compensation Board.
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Matter of New Millennium Pain & Spine Medicine, P.C. v Garrison Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 00599)

The court considered two separate applications to vacate master arbitration awards denying no-fault benefits for medical services rendered to insured individuals. The court explained that it would not set aside an arbitrator's award for errors of law or fact. New Millennium argued that the insurer took a 20% wage offset twice, first when issuing payment against gross wages, and second when taken against the no-fault personal injury protection limit of liability. However, the court found this argument unavailing because Insurance Law § 5102(b) allows an insurer to deduct from first-party benefits. The court also determined that New Millennium was not the prevailing party and was therefore not entitled to attorneys' fees. Ultimately, the court unanimously affirmed both orders denying the applications to vacate the master arbitration awards.
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Matter of New Millennium Pain & Spine Medicine, P.C. v Garrison Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 00599)

The main issue in this case was whether the trial court erred in rejecting the petitioner's application to vacate a master arbitration award denying their claim for no-fault benefits for medical services provided to the insured. The court held that it correctly denied the petitions to vacate the master arbitration awards, stating that generally a court will not set aside an arbitrator's award for errors of law or fact unless the award is so irrational as to require vacatur. The court also held that New Millennium was not entitled to attorneys' fees as they were not the prevailing party. Therefore, Supreme Court's decision to deny the application to vacate the arbitration awards was unanimously affirmed, without costs.
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Biotech Surgical Supply, Inc. v Country Wide Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50118(U))

The relevant facts considered by the court in this case were that a provider was seeking to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits for a claim arising from an accident that occurred in 1999. The case was settled in 2003, and a judgment was entered in 2017 awarding statutory no-fault interest from the date of the settlement. The main issue decided by the court was whether the accrual of statutory no-fault interest should be tolled from the date of the settlement to the date the plaintiff filed a motion to recalculate the interest. The holding of the court was that the Civil Court erred in tolling the accrual of interest, and the matter was remitted to the Civil Court for the entry of a new judgment in accordance with the decision and order.
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Metro Med. Diagnostics, P.C. v Country Wide Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50119(U))

The relevant facts that the court considered were that the plaintiff, Metro Medical Diagnostics, P.C. sought to recover no-fault benefits for a claim arising from a 2000 accident that was settled in 2010, but the defendant failed to pay the settlement amount. A judgment was entered in 2017, awarding the plaintiff statutory no-fault interest from the date of the settlement at a simple rate. The main issue decided was whether the Civil Court erred in tolling the accrual of statutory no-fault interest from the date of the settlement to the date of the original judgment. The holding of the case was that the Civil Court did indeed err in tolling the accrual of interest, and as a result, the judgment was reversed, and the matter was remitted to the Civil Court for the entry of a new judgment in accordance with the decision and order.
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New Life Acupuncture, P.C. v Country Wide Ins. Co. (2024 NY Slip Op 50120(U))

The relevant facts of the case included an action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits for a claim submitted to the defendant on May 4, 2000, arising from an accident that occurred on November 15, 1999. The case was settled on July 31, 2008, but the defendant did not pay the settlement amount, leading to a judgment being entered on March 22, 2017, awarding statutory no-fault interest at a simple 2% per month rate. Plaintiff moved to have the interest recalculated pursuant to the pre-2002 regulations, which required no-fault interest to be calculated at a compound rate. The main issue decided was whether the interest in the judgment should be recalculated from a simple rate to a compound rate, and the holding of the court was that the plaintiff's motion to recalculate the interest from a simple rate to a compound rate should have been granted. The court stated that the claim involved was governed by former regulations providing for compound interest, and the order of the Civil Court, denying the plaintiff's motion, was reversed.
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