Attorney Kathrine Rutkoffsky skillfully obtained an appellate victory before the Michigan Court of Appeals in MI Radiology Institute v Farmers Insurance.
Plaintiff Michigan Radiology Institute PLLC, a healthcare provider, filed a claim against Defendant Farmers Insurance Exchange asserting it was entitled to personal injury protection benefits pursuant to Michigan’s No-Fault Act.
Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Disposition asserting that Plaintiff’s Complaint failed to satisfy Michigan’s pleading requirements as it did not identify the date of the injured claimant’s motor vehicle accident. Specifically, Defendant argued such information was required to be pled in the complaint in order for Defendant to be apprised of the nature of the claim and to take a responsive position. Defendant further asserted that failure to include the date deprived Defendant from its ability to plead certain affirmative defenses. The trial court agreed and granted Defendant’s motion.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that Plaintiff’s Complaint cannot fail as a matter of law for omitting the date of the motor vehicle accident as Plaintiff’s Complaint sufficiently put Defendant on notice that Plaintiff was seeking to recover benefits pursuant to the No-Fault Act. The Court of Appeals reasoned that Michigan is a notice-pleading state and a pleading need only contain allegations necessary to reasonably inform the adverse party of the nature of the claims the adverse party is called on to defend. The Court of Appeals also agreed with Plaintiff that Defendant was not deprived of asserting any affirmative defenses as a party is free to amend such defenses when they become available.