State Farm avoids paying attendant care after arbitrator's math error
Teresa Dumont, the next friend of her injured daughter, Marie Dumont, sued State Farm for attendant care she provided as a PIP benefit. The parties agreed to submit the claim to an arbitrator, who ruled that Teresa was entitled to $19.00 per hour for taking care of Marie. The Dumonts were forced to seek help from the Circuit Court, however, after the arbitrator made a mathematical error in calculating the number of hours of care provided: he based the award on 9,046 hours of attendant care rather than 16,487 hours. The Circuit Court found that the arbitration award was based on a "mutual mistake" by the parties and "evident miscalculation" by the arbitrator, and increased the arbitration award accordingly. State Farm appealed, arguing that the Court did not have the authority to correct an arbitration judgment based on mutual mistake. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the ruling. The judges did, however, agree to modify the Circuit Court's judgment so as to limit State Farm's duty to indemnify the family from health care provider's claims.