I’m back with the no-fault (bumped)

There are some more that vanished off the slip op site.  I'll check again tomorrow.

Update:  The cases that dissapeared, reapeared.  And there were a few new ones.

App. Div. 2nd

NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases v Esurance Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 04436 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

"A proper denial of [a] claim [for no-fault benefits] must include the information called for in the prescribed denial of claim form (see 11 NYCRR 65-3.4[c][11]) and must promptly apprise the claimant with a high degree of specificity of the ground or grounds on which the disclaimer is predicated'" (St. Barnabas Hosp. v Allstate Ins. Co., 66 AD3d 996, 996, quoting Nyack Hosp. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 11 AD3d 664, 664). A timely denial of a no-fault insurance medical claim alone does not, however, avoid preclusion where the "denial is factually insufficient, conclusory, vague or otherwise involves a defense which has no merit as a matter of law" (Nyack Hosp. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 11 AD3d at 665).

Here, the hospital established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law based on the untimeliness of the denial of claim. It submitted evidentiary proof that the prescribed statutory billing forms were mailed and received, and that payment of no-fault benefits was overdue (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 50 AD3d 1123; Westchester Med. Ctr. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 44 AD3d 750, 752; Nyack Hosp. v Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 16 AD3d 564).

In opposition to the motion, however, Esurance raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the denial of claim was timely issued by submitting the affidavit of an employee with knowledge of its "standard office practices or procedures designed to ensure that items were properly addressed and mailed" (St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 50 AD3d at 1124), wherein he attested that a denial of claim was timely issued to the hospital. We note that while the denial of claim contained errors, they were not significant by themselves, and did not pose any possibility of confusion or prejudice to the hospital under the circumstances; thus, the denial was not rendered a nullity (see St. Barnabas Hosp. v Penrac, Inc., 79 AD3d 733, 734; see also Westchester Med. Ctr. v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 77 AD3d 737, 738).

Further, Esurance raised a triable issue of fact as to whether Cancian was "injured as a result of operating a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition" (Insurance Law § 5103[b][2]). Contrary to the hospital's contention, the personal observations of the police officer present at the scene of the accident as recorded in the police accident report were properly considered by the Supreme Court under the business record exception to the hearsay rule (see CPLR 4518[a]; Westchester Med. Ctr. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 44 AD3d at 753).

NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases v American Intl. Group, Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op 04437(App. Div., 2nd 2011)

The plaintiffs made a prima facie showing that the plaintiff Westchester Medical Center (hereinafter the hospital) was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the third cause of action to recover no-fault insurance medical payments by submitting evidence that the prescribed statutory billing form had been mailed and received by the defendant insurer, which failed to either pay or deny the claim within the requisite 30-day period (see Insurance Law § 5106[a]; 11 NYCRR 65-3.5; Westchester Med. Ctr. v Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co., 60 AD3d 1045, 1045-1046; Westchester Med. Ctr. v Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. 51 AD3d 1014, 1017; New York & Presbyt. Hosp. v Selective Ins. Co. of Am., 43 AD3d 1019, 1020).

In opposition, the insurer failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether it had timely denied the claim. Contrary to the insurer's contention, its letter to the hospital stating that payment of the claim was delayed "pending adjuster's review" and "investigation" did not serve to toll the 30-day statutory period (see Westchester Med. Ctr. v Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co., 60 AD3d at 1046; Nyack Hosp. v Encompass Ins. Co., 23 AD3d 535, 536), and, in any event, was not a timely request for verification made within 10 business days after the insurer's receipt of the hospital's claim (see 11 NYCRR 65-3.5[a]). 

Failure to establish timely denial of the claim results in preclusion of the defense that the intoxication of the insured was a contributing cause of the accident and subject to exclusion under the policy (see Presbyterian Hosp. in City of N.Y. v Maryland Cas. Co., 90 NY2d 274, 286; Westchester Med. Ctr. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 81 AD3d 929, 930). Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the hospital's motion which was for summary judgment on the third cause of action.

NYU Hosp. for Joint Diseases v Country Wide Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 04219 (App. Div., 2nd 2011)

The plaintiff established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting, among other things, the requisite billing forms, an affidavit from its third-party biller, the certified mail receipt, and the signed return-receipt card referencing the patient and the forms, which demonstrated that the plaintiff mailed the necessary billing documents to the defendant, that the defendant received them, and that the payment of no-fault benefits was overdue (see New York Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Queens v Country Wide Ins. Co., 82 AD3d 723; Hospital for Joint Diseases v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 44 AD3d 903, 904; Westchester Med. Ctr. v Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 40 AD3d 984; New York Univ. Hosp. Rusk Inst. v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 39 AD3d 832). In opposition, the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether it timely and effectively denied the plaintiff's claim (see Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320, 324). "A proper denial of claim must include the information called for in the prescribed denial of claim form" (Nyack Hosp. v Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 16 AD3d 564, 565; see 11 NYCRR 65-3.4[c][11]; Nyack Hosp. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 11 AD3d 664, 664). Here, even assuming that the denial of claim form issued by the defendant was timely and was properly mailed to the plaintiff, the form "was fatally defective in that it omitted numerous items of requested information, and thus was incomplete" (Nyack Hosp. v Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 16 AD3d at 565; see Westchester Med. Ctr. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 81 AD3d 929; compare St. Barnabas Hosp. v Penrac, Inc., 79 AD3d 733). The denial also incorrectly listed Raquel Uviles as the applicant for benefits instead of the plaintiff (see St. Vincent's Hosp. & Med. Ctr. v New Jersey Mfrs. Ins. Co., 82 AD3d 871; see also Nyack Hosp. v Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 16 AD3d at 565). Accordingly, even if the denial was timely mailed, it was fatally defective (see St. Vincent's Hosp. & Med. Ctr v New Jersey Mfrs. Ins. Co., 82 AD3d at 871; Westchester Med. Ctr. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 81 AD3d at 929; Nyack Hosp. v Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 16 AD3d at 565).

For the same reasons, the defendant, in support of its cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, failed to make a prima facie showing that it timely denied the claim.

The defendant's contention that the action should be dismissed as premature is improperly raised for the first time on appeal, and therefore is not properly before this Court (see Matter of Panetta v Carroll, 62 AD3d 1010, 1010; KPSD Mineola, Inc. v Jahn, 57 AD3d 853, 854). Contrary to the defendant's contention, it does not present a pure question of law appearing on the face of the record which could not have been avoided if raised at the proper juncture (see Matter of Panetta v Carroll, 62 AD3d at 1010; KPSD Mineola, Inc. v Jahn, 57 AD3d at 854). Accordingly, this argument may not be reached for the first time on appeal.

App Term 2nd

Active Imaging, P.C. v GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50945(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

In this action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits, the parties stipulated that the only issue for trial would be whether the services rendered were medically necessary, as all elements of plaintiff's case had been established and defendant had timely denied the claim on the ground of lack of medical necessity. At the nonjury trial, defendant's attorney requested an adjournment to "secure the appearance of [its] witness in this matter." The Civil Court denied the application and issued a decision awarding judgment in defendant's favor. Defendant appeals from this decision. A judgment was subsequently entered, from which we deem the appeal to have been taken (see CPLR 5520 [c]).

It is well settled that an application for an adjournment is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court (see Nieves v Tomonska, 306 AD2d 332 [2003]; see also Samuel v F.E.G.S. Russian Ctr., 11 Misc 3d 130[A], 2006 NY Slip Op 50308[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]), and the court's determination will not be disturbed on appeal absent an improvident exercise of that discretion (see Wolosin v Campo, 256 AD2d 332 [1998]; Klein v Klein, 6 Misc 3d 132[A], 2005 NY Slip Op 50106[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2005]). We find that the Civil Court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in declining to grant defendant an adjournment. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

Queens Brooklyn Med. Rehab, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50978(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

In this action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits, plaintiff appeals, as limited by its brief, from so much of an order of the Civil Court entered June 19, 2009 as granted the branch of defendant's cross motion seeking to compel plaintiff to provide bank account information and produce copies of its corporate tax returns and its billing and management agreements, and provided that the complaint would be dismissed in the event plaintiff failed to comply with the order. Subsequent to the entry of the June 19, 2009 order, the Civil Court entered an order dismissing the action. The dismissal of the action rendered this appeal academic (see Livny v Rotella, 305 AD2d 377 [2003]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Allstate Ins. Co., 2007 NY Slip Op 50673[U], 15 Misc 3d 131[A] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]; Vista Surgical Supplies, Inc. v Lumbermans Mut. Cas. Co., 13 Misc 3d 138[A], 2006 NY Slip Op 52221[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]; Fair Price Med. Supply Corp. v ELRAC Inc., 13 Misc 3d 33 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]).

LDE Med. Servs., P.C. v Encompass Ins., 2011 NY Slip Op 50979(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Contrary to defendant's contention, the affidavit submitted by plaintiff's billing administrator was sufficient to establish that the documents annexed to plaintiff's moving papers were admissible pursuant to CPLR 4518 (see Art of Healing Medicine, P.C. v Travelers Home & Mar. Ins. Co., 55 AD3d 644 [2008]; Dan Med., P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 14 Misc 3d 44 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]). However, as the pertinent facts concerning the failure of plaintiff's assignor to appear for an examination under oath are the same as those in LDE Med. Servs., P.C. v Encompass Ins. (29 Misc 3d 130[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 51845[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]), for the reasons stated in that case, the judgment is reversed, the order granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is vacated and plaintiff's motion is denied. We reach no other issue.

LDE Med. Servs., P.C. v Interboro Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50946(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Contrary to the Civil Court's determination, "appearance at an IME is required whether the insurance company demands the IME before the claim form is submitted or after the claim form is submitted" (Stephen Fogel Psychological, P.C. v Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 35 AD3d 720, 721 [2006]). As a result, although the first IME scheduling letter was sent to the assignor before defendant received plaintiff's claim forms, the scheduling letter was not a nullity (id.).

However, since defendant's moving papers did not contain evidence in admissible form from anyone with personal knowledge of the assignor's nonappearances at the IMEs, defendant failed to establish that the assignor had failed to appear at the IMEs (see id.; Vista Surgical Supplies, Inc. v Autoone Ins. Co., 20 Misc 3d 133[A], 2008 NY Slip Op 51460[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]; Vista Surgical Supplies, Inc. v New York Cent Ins. Co., 14 Misc 3d 135[A], 2007 NY Slip Op 50165[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]). Although defendant annexed to its reply papers affirmations from each of the doctors who were to perform the assignor's IMEs, in which they attested to the nonappearance of the assignor at the scheduled IMEs, said proof was improperly submitted for the first time in defendant's reply papers (see Bednoski v County of Suffolk, 67 AD3d 616 [2009]; Haggerty v Quast, 48 AD3d 629 [2008]; Jefferson v Netusil, 44 AD3d 621 [2007]). Consequently, defendant's cross motion for summary judgment was properly denied.

While defendant argues that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment should have been denied as premature since plaintiff failed to provide responses to defendant's discovery demands, defendant failed to show that discovery was needed in order to establish the existence of a triable issue of fact (see CPLR 3212 [f]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Inteboro Ins Co., 25 Misc 3d 134[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 52222[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). As a result, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was properly granted.

Rogy Med., P.C. v Geico Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50990(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Defendant established that the denial of claim forms at issue were timely mailed in accordance with defendant's standard office practices and procedures (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 50 AD3d 1123 [2008]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Chubb Group of Ins., 17 Misc 3d 16 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]). With respect to the claim at issue in plaintiff's first cause of action, which was denied on the ground of lack of medical necessity, defendant submitted an affirmed peer review report which set forth a factual basis and medical rationale for the doctor's conclusion that there was a lack of medical necessity for the services at issue. As a result, defendant demonstrated the existence of a triable issue of fact with respect to plaintiff's first cause of action (see Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Integon Natl. Ins. Co., 24 Misc 3d 136[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51502[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). Similarly, with respect to the claim at issue in the second cause of action, an issue of fact was presented as to whether plaintiff is seeking to recover in excess of the amount permitted by the worker's compensation fee schedule. Accordingly, the judgment is reversed, the order entered November 19, 2009 is vacated and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied.

Omega Diagnostic Imaging, P.C. v MVAIC, 2011 NY Slip Op 50867(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011) 

In this action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits, the Civil Court denied a motion by defendant Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corp. (sued herein as MVAIC), pursuant to CPLR 5015, to vacate a default judgment entered against it. MVAIC's proffered defense lacks merit since Insurance Law § 5214 does not bar the entry of a default judgment against MVAIC in an action in which MVAIC is the named defendant and has defaulted (see Craniofacial Pain Mgt. v MVAIC, 29 Misc 3d 130[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 51843[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2010]; A.B. Med. Servs., PLLC v Motor Veh. Acc. Indem. Corp., 25 Misc 3d 138[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 52363[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). In view of the foregoing, it is unnecessary to consider whether MVAIC demonstrated a reasonable excuse for its default (see Toland v Young, 60 AD3d 754 [2009]).

For more about this case, check out the comments over by JT.

Central Radiology Servs., P.C. v Commerce Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50948(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

The affidavit submitted by defendant's claims adjuster was sufficient to establish that defendant's denial of claim forms were timely mailed in accordance with its standard office practices and procedures (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 50 AD3d 1123 [2008]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Chubb Group of Ins., 17 Misc 3d 16 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]). Accordingly, defendant was not precluded from raising its defense of fraudulent procurement of the insurance policy (cf. Westchester Med. Ctr. v GMAC Ins. Co. Online, Inc., 80 AD3d 603 [2011]). As the affidavits annexed to defendant's motion papers established that the assignor had misrepresented his state of residence, the assignor was ineligible to receive first-party no-fault benefits under the insurance policy in question (see A.B. Med. Servs. PLLC v Commercial Mut. Ins. Co., 12 Misc 3d 8 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]). Plaintiff, as assignee, stands in the assignor's shoes and, thus, may not recover in this action (see Matter of Insurance Co. of N. Am. v Kaplun, 274 AD2d 293 [2000]; A.B. Med. Servs. PLLC, 12 Misc 3d 8). Accordingly, the judgment is reversed, the order denying defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and granting plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment is vacated, defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint is granted and plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment is denied.

All Borough Group Med. Supply, Inc. v Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50949(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

In this action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits, the Civil Court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, which motion was based upon, among other things, plaintiff's assignor's failure to attend independent medical examinations (IMEs), which had been scheduled by Hudson Valley Medical Consultants (HVMC).

In support of its motion, defendant submitted an affidavit of an employee of HVMC which sufficiently established that the IME requests had been timely mailed in accordance with HVMC's standard office practices and procedures (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 50 AD3d 1123 [2008]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Chubb Group of Ins., 17 Misc 3d 16 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]). Defendant also submitted an affidavit of an employee of the office manager of the psychologist who was to perform the IMEs, which was sufficient to establish that plaintiff's assignor had failed to appear for the duly scheduled IMEs (see Stephen Fogel Psychological, P.C. v Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 35 AD3d 720 [2006]). In addition, an affidavit executed by defendant's no-fault specialist demonstrated that the claim denial forms, based on plaintiff's assignor's nonappearance at the IMEs, had been timely mailed pursuant to defendant's standard office practices and procedures (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond, 50 AD3d 1123; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C., 17 Misc 3d 16). Since an assignor's appearance at an IME "is a condition precedent to the insurer's liability on the policy" (Stephen Fogel Psychological, P.C., 35 AD3d at 722; see also Insurance Department Regulations [11 NYCRR] § 65-1.1), defendant properly denied plaintiff's claim based upon the assignor's failure to satisfy a condition precedent to coverage and, thus, was not precluded from raising such issue (see Westchester Med. Ctr. v Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co., 60 AD3d 1045 [2d Dept 2009]; but see Unitrin Advantage Ins. Co. v Bayshore Physical Therapy, PLLC, ___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 01948 [1st Dept 2011]). Accordingly, the Civil Court's order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint is affirmed. In light of our determination, we need not reach the remaining contentions raised on appeal.

Yklik, Inc. v GEICO Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 50868(U) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Plaintiff failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because it did not demonstrate that defendant had failed to either pay or deny the claim within the requisite 30-day period (see Insurance Law § 5106 [a]; New York & Presbyt. Hosp. v Allstate Ins. Co., 31 AD3d 512 [2006]; Mary Immaculate Hosp. v Allstate Ins. Co., 5 AD3d 742 [2004]; see also Westchester Med. Ctr. v Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 78 AD3d 1168 [2010]). Since plaintiff failed to establish its prima facie case, we need not consider the sufficiency of defendant's papers in opposition to the motion (see Westchester Med. Ctr., 78 AD3d 1168). Accordingly, the judgment is reversed, the order granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is vacated and plaintiff's motion is denied.

Pesce, P.J., and Weston J., concur. 

Rios, J., dissents in a separate memorandum.

Rios, J., dissents and votes to affirm the judgment in the following memorandum:

The plaintiff provider made a prima facie showing of its entitlement to summary judgment by submitting evidentiary proof that the medical supplies had been provided to plaintiff's assignor. It further submitted irrefutable evidence that the prescribed statutory billing forms had been mailed and received by defendant insurer, and that the claims remained unpaid (Mary Immaculate Hosp. v Allstate Ins. Co., 5 AD3d 742 [2004]). There is no assertion in the record that a partial payment of the claim was made (Westchester Med. Ctr. v Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 78 AD3d 1168 [2010]), therefore, it was incumbent upon defendant to demonstrate a timely denial. In opposition to the motion, defendant submitted the affidavit of an employee who had no personal knowledge of when the denial of claim forms were mailed to plaintiff (Hospital for Joint Diseases v Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 284 AD2d 374 [2001]), therefore, the Civil Court properly granted summary judgment to plaintiff. Accordingly, I vote to affirm the judgment.

Note the dissent.

Radiology Today, P.C. v GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 21161 (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Plaintiff contends that the discovery order was improper because, in the answer and in support of its motion to compel discovery, defendant failed to "state[] in detail" the "circumstances constituting the wrong," citing CPLR 3016 (b). There is no requirement that a defense predicated upon the failure to comply with "New York State or local licensing requirement[s]" (Insurance Department Regulations [11 NYCRR] 65-3.16 [a] [12]) be pleaded with particularity pursuant to CPLR 3016 (b) (see generally V.S. Med. Servs., P.C. v Allstate Ins. Co., 25 Misc 3d 39 [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Dists 2009]). In addition, while mere conclusory allegations are never sufficient to obtain discovery with respect to a Mallela-based defense, defendant's motion papers were sufficient to demonstrate that a Mallela-based defense was potentially meritorious. Plaintiff's motion for a protective order, filed nearly four months after defendant had served its supplemental discovery, was untimely (see CPLR 3122 [a]; Fair Price Med. Supply Corp. v ELRAC, Inc., 12 Misc 3d 119, 122 [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2006]). The failure of a party to timely challenge the propriety of discovery demands normally "obligate[s] it to produce the information sought" (New Era Acupuncture, P.C. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 24 Misc 3d 134[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51396[U], *1 [App Term, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2009]; see Fausto v City of New York, 17 AD3d 520, 522 [2005]), with the exception of items which are palpably improper or privileged (see Fausto, 17 AD3d at 522; Marino v County of Nassau, 16 AD3d 628 [2005]). As most of the discovery demands were not palpably improper or privileged, and in light of plaintiff's failure to provide any discovery, the judgment, insofar as appealed from, dismissing the complaint in the case at bar is affirmed.

Valentin Avanessov, M.D., P.C. v Progressive Ins. Co., 31 Misc 3d 139(A) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

Plaintiff commenced this action to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits by the service on October 17, 2006 of a summons with endorsed complaint. Defendant defaulted. Approximately two years and four months later, in February 2009, plaintiff moved for the entry of a default judgment. Defendant opposed the motion on the ground that it was supported by insufficient proof, and cross-moved to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3215 (c). Plaintiff failed to offer any opposition to defendant's cross motion. By order entered February 18, 2010, the Civil Court granted plaintiff's motion to enter a default judgment unless defendant served and filed an answer within 30 days of the date of the order, and implicitly denied defendant's cross motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to CPLR 3215 (c).

Where, as here, a plaintiff fails to initiate proceedings for the entry of judgment within one year after the default, the plaintiff is obligated to offer a reasonable excuse for the delay in moving for leave to enter a default judgment, and must demonstrate that the complaint is meritorious, failing which the court, upon its own initiative or on motion, must dismiss the complaint as abandoned (CPLR 3215 [c]; see e.g. County of Nassau v Chmela, 45 AD3d 722 [2007]; Jones v Corely, 35 AD3d 381 [2006]; Kay Waterproofing Corp. v Ray Realty Fulton, Inc., 23 AD3d 624, 625 [2005]). Upon a review of the motion papers, we find that dismissal of the complaint was required pursuant to CPLR 3215 (c).

Accordingly, the order is reversed, plaintiff's motion for the entry of a default judgment is denied, and defendant's cross motion to dismiss the complaint is granted.

We Do Care Med. Supply, P.C. v American Tr. Ins. Co., 31 Misc 3d 140(A) (App. Term, 2nd, 11th & 13th Jud. Dists. 2011)

In support of its cross motion, defendant submitted, among other things, an independent medical examination report which set forth a factual basis and a medical rationale for the doctor's determination that there was a lack of medical necessity for the medical supplies at issue. Defendant's showing that such supplies were not medically necessary was not rebutted by plaintiff.

In light of the foregoing, and the Civil Court's implicit CPLR 3212 (g) finding that defendant had timely denied the claim based on a lack of medical necessity, a finding which plaintiff does not challenge, defendant's cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint should have been granted (see Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v Integon Natl. Ins. Co., 24 Misc 3d 136[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51502[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]; Delta Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. v American Tr. Ins. Co., 18 Misc 3d 128[A], 2007 NY Slip Op 52455[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]; A. Khodadadi Radiology, P.C. v NY Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 16 Misc 3d 131[A], 2007 NY Slip Op 51342[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]).

App Term 1st

Excel Radiology Serv., P.C. v Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 31 Misc 3d 138(A) (App. Term 1st 2011) 

In this action to recover first-party no-fault medical benefits, defendant's motion for summary judgment was properly denied since it failed to establish, prima facie, that the notices of the independent medical examinations (IMEs) were properly mailed to the assignor and that he failed to appear for the IMEs (see Stephen Fogel Psychological, P.C. v Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 35 AD3d 720, 721 [2006]; Marina v Praetorian Ins. Co., 28 Misc 3d 132[A], 2010 NY Slip Op 51292[U] [2010]; cf. Inwood Hill Med., P.C. v General Assur. Co., 10 Misc 3d 18, 19-20 [2005]). Given defendant's failure to meet its burden, denial of its motion was required regardless of the sufficiency of plaintiff's opposition papers (see Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320, 324 [1986]; Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851, 853 [1985]).

The rest

R.E.G. Flushing Med. PC v Integon Natl. Ins Co, 2011 NY Slip Op 50975(U) (Nass. Dist. Ct. 2011)

In short, although Mr. Gomez's conflicting representations about his residence address raised legitimate issues for investigation, defendant's defense of "rate evasion fraud" (NCGS §58-2-164) was not proven by a preponderance of the evidence submitted. To the contrary, the evidence shows that Mr. Gomez maintained significant, provable ties to the State of North Carolina, including a long standing North Carolina residence address, a North Carolina driver's license, and close family ties with his mother in North Carolina. Accordingly, defendant's evidence fails to establish that Mr. Gomez was not "an eligible applicant" under the definitions of North Carolina law. As a result, defendant remained responsible under the policy for "medical payment coverage" of "reasonable expenses for necessary medical . . . services" that were provided to Mr. Gomez following an accident that occurred in New York State.

Turning to the second issue, the Court concludes, alternatively, that the defense of "rate evasion fraud" must be rejected on the ground that plaintiff is an "innocent third party" within the meaning of North Carolina's "rate evasion fraud" statute. Were this issue to be decided under New York law, the Court would be compelled to follow the lead of the Appellate Term, and to hold that New York's "innocent third party" doctrine protects "only innocent third parties who are injured" by someone who is guilty of fraudulent procurement of insurance. See A.B. Med. Services PLLC v. Commercial Mut. Ins. Co., 12 Misc 3d 8 (App Term, 2006). Thus, under New York caselaw, a health care provider acts "at its peril" when it accepts an assignment of no-fault benefits, and it remains equally subject to a defense that the insurance policy covering the assigned claim was "fraudulently procured" by the insured. Id.

The issue, here, is very similar, but the result ends up differently when analyzed under canons of statutory construction which require a court to give meaning to each part of a statute. As the Courts in North Carolina have recognized: "every part of the law shall be given effect if this can be done by any fair and reasonable intendment." Huntington Properties, LLC v. Currituck County, 153 NC App 218, 224 (2002), quoting In re Hickerson, 253 NC 716, 721 (1952).

Reading North Carolina's "rate evasion fraud" law as a whole, the Court cannot envision any class of persons or entities who would fall into the "innocent third party" category, except for the assignees and subrogees of the insured. The statutory "innocent third party exception" comes into play only if an insurer is asked to pay a claim "arising out of bodily injury or property damage suffered by the applicant" (emphasis added). So worded, the "innocent third party" language logically extends those entities who are involved in treating "bodily injuries" or remedying "property damage" that the insured has suffered. Plaintiff, a medical provider, clearly falls into this category. Consequently, the Court sees no basis for limiting the "innocent third party" exception to "innocent third parties who are injured" by the insured. Cf. A.B. Med. Services, PLLC v. Commercial Mut. Ins. Co., supra.

Admittedly, the issue is not free from doubt, and the Court has found no North Carolina cases in point. Nor has it found any illuminating legislative history. But in the absence of contrary authority from North Carolina, the Court believes that penalizing plaintiff would be unwarranted. The plaintiff is an "innocent third party." It provided medical services to a person who was insured by the defendant. It took an assignment in good faith, expecting to be paid. If Mr. Gomez committed a fraud, plaintiff was not a
party to it. Accordingly, the Court concludes that plaintiff, as an "innocent third party", should not be foreclosed from obtaining payment for its services solely on account of alleged "rate evasion fraud" by the insured.

For these reasons, the defense set forth in defendant's denials is rejected, upon the facts and as a matter of law. Judgment is granted to plaintiff. Submit Judgment on Notice.

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