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Court of Appeals rejects trial judge's ruling against no fault insurer; remands

State Farm appealed after a Circuit Court Judge ruled that it owed PIP medical benefits to several providers who cared for Steve Gedda.  State Farm was assigned to cover Gedda's medical expenses through the Assigned Claims Plan.  Gedda had suffered catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle collision while driving an uninsured 2001 minivan titled in his mother's name.  If Gedda qualified as an "owner" of the minivan, because it was in his possession and available for his use for 30 days, he and his health care providers would be ineligible for No Fault PIP benefits through the Assigned Claims Plan.

Gedda's Conservator filed suit against State Farm, along with the medical providers, and all parties sought summary disposition.  The Court concluded that Gedda "had borrow his mother's car...just for that day.  There is no evidence that his use was continuous to give rise to constructive ownership."   When State Farm appealed, the higher court ruled that the judge's decision was not adequately supported by his findings on the record, and sent the case back for him to clarify his ruling.  As a result, State Farm will achieve substantial delay in paying enormous billings and also get a "second bite at the apple" in attempting to void coverage.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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