Recent Article: Steven M. Couch, Farmington Hills

Michigan Court of Appeals Applies Covenant Retroactively in Published Opinion

By: Steven M. Couch

Since the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Covenant Medical Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., ___ Mich. ___; 895 N.W.2d 490 (Docket No. 152758) (“Covenant”) on May 25, 2017, lower courts and the litigants before them have encountered many questions about how the decision applies to pending no-fault provider cases.  One of the fundamental questions was whether the Covenant decision should be applied retroactively to pending no-fault provider cases.  Trial courts throughout Michigan have lacked uniformity on this question and have looked to the appellate courts for further guidance.

On August 31, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals answered that question in the affirmative and held in a published opinion that Covenant shall have retroactive effect.  This decision will be decisive in many no-fault provider suits throughout Michigan.  In W.A. Foote Memorial Hospital v. Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, et al., ___ Mich App ___; ___ N.W.2d ___ (Docket No. 333360) (August 31, 2017) (“Foote Memorial”), the Plaintiff hospital had appealed a grant of summary disposition in the Kent County Circuit Court.  During the pendency of that appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its decision in Covenant, which prompted the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan to seek immediate consideration and request leave for supplemental briefing in light Covenant.  The Court of Appeals granted those motions and accepted the parties’ supplemental briefs.  READ FULL ARTICLE HERE