One more reason we need socialized medicine, eliminate doctors suing insurance companies (H/T- Helga)

It seems that Mr. Unruh promised more then he could provide;

Oh, but that’s the ‘catch’ of a quacktor-pracktor, “You’ll be fine if you just keep coming in to get ‘treatments’ ” I told my mom once “If bone-benders really worked, why do you have to keep going back to them for treatments?”

#25403 WEDNESDAY, Case 3, Unruh v. DeSmet Insurance

Dorothy and Henry Lentsch were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of a driver insured by DeSmet Insurance Company (“DeSmet”).  Unruh Chiropractic Clinic (“Unruh”) treated Lentsches for their accident-related injuries.   Prior to treatment, Lentsches executed assignments of the “proceeds” of their personal injury claims against the negligent driver.  The assignments were limited to the extent chiropractic services were provided. The assignments gave Unruh a right to the proceeds from any settlement DeSmet paid on behalf of the negligent driver.

Unruh served notices of the assignments on DeSmet.  The notices informed DeSmet that if Lentsches had any unpaid chiropractic services, DeSmet “must include” Unruh as a payee on any settlement checks.  Lentsches’ son, as attorney-in-fact for his parents, subsequently settled their claims and executed releases.  The releases provided that the Lentsches would be responsible for paying their medical care providers.  Thereafter, DeSmet delivered the settlement checks directly to the Lentsches, and Unruh was not made a joint payee.

Unruh contacted Lentsches and demanded that they pay their outstanding balances due for the chiropractic services provided.  Lentsches refused.  Unruh then demanded payment from DeSmet.  DeSmet also refused.

Unruh sued DeSmet, seeking to enforce the assignments.  DeSmet brought the Lentsches into the lawsuit as third-party defendants.  Unruh and DeSmet filed cross motions for summary judgment.  A magistrate court granted summary judgment in favor of Unruh and against DeSmet.  The court acknowledged that an assignment of a “claim” for personal injuries is invalid and unenforceable under the common law. The court, however, concluded that an assignment of “proceeds” is distinguishable from the common-law prohibition on the assignment of claims. Therefore, the magistrate court concluded that Lentsches’ assignments of proceeds were valid and enforceable.

DeSmet appealed to the circuit court, arguing that assignments of proceeds violate public policy.  The circuit court acknowledged a split authority in other states regarding the validity of assignments of proceeds of personal injury claims.  The circuit court followed those authorities distinguishing between assignments of proceeds and assignments of claims.  The court also found that there was no public policy reason to preclude an assignment of proceeds.  It therefore held that the assignments in this case were valid, and it affirmed the magistrate court.

DeSmet now appeals to this Court.  The Court must determine the validity of assignments of proceeds of personal injury claims.

Mr. James R. Even, Attorney for Plaintiff and Appellee A. Unruh Chiropractic Clinic

Mr. Larry M. Von Wald, Attorney for Defendant and Appellant DeSmet Insurance Company of South Dakota



15 comments ↓

#1 Costner on 07.14.10 at 7:09 am

How much money does Unruh actually charge for his snakeoil? If he is spending this much on lawyers rather than just turning the bill over to a collections agency, it really makes you wonder.

I guess buying period specific outfits to wear while reading (while subsequently ruining) speeches from our forefathers has taken a toll on his budget.

#2 l3wis on 07.14.10 at 7:19 am

This wasn’t about this. It kinda sounds like he was suing for ‘future’ visits. Which seems odd, but very ‘Quacktor-Pracktor like’

While I have enjoyed my many convos with the Unruhs, when I see stories like this, only one word comes to mind, and it starts with an ‘H’

#3 Plaintiff Guy on 07.14.10 at 7:32 am

Hey, you can’t support an anti-abortion lobby if you don’t steal from the living.

#4 GBD on 07.14.10 at 8:11 am

I think you guys are missing that point on that case. I observed the hearing and it was certainly not about anything you have mentioned. The main issue of the case was wether SD law permitted the chiropractor to be the payee on the insurance check. This allows the chriporactor to ensure they get paid as they check would be made out in their name versus the patient, who in this case took the proceeds and went on a shopping spree.

#5 scott on 07.14.10 at 3:45 pm

suing an insurance company doesn’t sound very tea-party or christian.

#6 redhatterb on 07.14.10 at 6:15 pm

I go to a chiropractor occasionally, but unless it is something that insurance will pay for, if I am going to a different chiropractor, I tell him right out, that he doesn’t have to tell me when to come back, I can feel when I have to have an adjustment. There are some chiropractors that are more honest than others, just like there are some doctors that are more trustworthy than others, the same applies to lawyers, and various other professions and/or people.

#7 hosenpheffer on 07.14.10 at 6:26 pm

there goes your tip

#8 Sy on 07.14.10 at 7:37 pm

Hos: “there goes your tip”

That’s what she said.

Anywhoo..Regardless of what the Unruh’s or chiropracters in general do, there’s no cause to call for socialized medicine. You think they’re bad now, what happens when they line up to get paid by the Govt.?

#9 l3wis on 07.14.10 at 8:44 pm

It kind of sounds like Unruh was trying to get paid for something that he had already promised his client he could get out of the insurance company, even though he had no guarantees.

#10 Costner on 07.15.10 at 6:23 am

Sy: what happens when they line up to get paid by the Govt.

Well in a true socialized medicine example, doctors would be paid a salary and thus there would be no lining up to get paid for their services. They might receive bonuses based upon patient surveys and results, but they wouldn’t bill the govt for their personal services and as such would not feel the need to sue if they aren’t paid.

#11 l3wis on 07.15.10 at 6:54 am

In England it works that way and they get bonuses based on how many of their patients they get to live healthier lifestyles (quitting smoking, reducing weight, HBP, Diabetes, etc.)

#12 Plaintiff Guy on 07.15.10 at 9:43 am

The Al Gore masseuse should have used this tactic. She’s got but one minute of fame and no payday.

#13 Ghost of Dude on 07.15.10 at 2:01 pm

At least someone got a happy ending out of the deal.

#14 John2 on 07.15.10 at 9:11 pm

Ha! ha! ha!
Sure makes that “socialist” VA and TRICARE health care look E V I L , because . . . er, the lawyers and insurance mafia don’t get a “cut”.

#15 l3wis on 07.16.10 at 3:25 am

No kidding? Right?

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