Citizens Insurance wins no relief from 1.7 million dollar jury verdict over failure to provide attendant care
Tina Marie Dell sued her parents' auto insurer, Citizens Insurance Company, for unpaid attendant care incurred between a 1984 car accident and 2011. She argued that Citizens' conduct in telling her parents that she wasn't entitled to attendant care benefits violated Chapter 20 of the Insurance Code and Michigan's Consumer Protection Act [MCPA]. After her 2011 suit was filed, the Republican Supreme Court majority limited insurers' duties under the MCPA and the Republican Legislature twice amended the law to eliminate all claims against insurers who violate the MCPA.
Nevertheless, because Citizens failed to respond timely and was defaulted, and because of the language of the statutory amendments, Ms. Dell was left with a unique opportunity to hold her insurer accountable for years-old violations of the Insurance Code. The Court of Appeals analyzed Citizens' appellate issues and concluded that they were without merit: the three judges ruled that the jury verdict should stand. It probably won't withstand an appeal to Michigan's Supreme Court, however: it is widely reported that since the Republicans gained an insurance-oriented majority in the Supreme Court almost a decade ago, no seven-figure jury verdict has been sustained by it on appeal.