The Michigan Courts punish patience
In an update to the "one year back" rule debate, on May 24 the Court of Appeals reluctantly denied the Henry Ford Health System's right to collect for $130,000.00 in care it provided to a badly injured young girl after a car accident. Henry Ford provided the care in 2004 and Traverlers Insurance did not deny the claim until May of 2005. When the conservative majority of the Michigan Supreme Court decided Devilliers v. Auto Club, holding patients and providers to one year in which to sue, (and overturning 19 years of previous practice), the Henry Ford system had only one day in which to sue Travelers. The Appellate Court judges determined that the Supreme Court left them no alternative but to deny Henry Ford's legitimate claim as a result of this "loophole" or technicality, despite its unfairness.
This is just one of many recent Michigan decisions which punish a party with a legitimate claim for its exercise of patience in negotiating with insurers prior to filing suit. Unfortunately, a majority of the Michigan Supreme Court is willing to punish potential litigants who have patiently attempted to negotiate rather than jumping to litigation, despite paying lip-service to a desire to make the courts less crowded, more efficient, less expensive and more "fair".