Court reverses attorney fees awarded to man who collected PIP benefits
Antoine Lee collected PIP benefits from Farmers Insurance Company, after Medicare had already paid the expenses by mistake. Farmers argued that it should not have to pay Lee because his exposure to the debt was wiped out by the Medicare payment. The Court noted that under the plain wording of the statute, Farmers still owed the expenses that Lee incurred "arising out of" the motor vehicle accident. Nevertheless, after Supreme Court prompting, it reversed the award of attorney fees to Lee because Farmers' defense argument was not "frivolous." The Court used the latter standard of interpretation rather than the statutory language requiring fees if late payment is "unreasonable." Violating the plain terms of the statute is apparently not unreasonable if you are an insurer.