Session February 5, 2015
Tenn. R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Appeals Affirmed. Appeal by Permission from the Court of Appeals, Middle Section Circuit Court for Davidson County. No. 12C3664. Hamilton V. Gayden, Jr., Judge.
Judgment of the Court of Appeals Affirmed.
John P. Williams, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Action Chiropractic Clinic, LLC.
Gary A. Brewer and Benjamin J. Miller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Erie Insurance Exchange.
JEFFREY S. BIVINS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which SHARON G. LEE, C.J., and CORNELIA A. CLARK, GARY R. WADE, and HOLLY KIRBY, JJ., joined.
JEFFREY S. BIVINS, J.
Action Chiropractic Clinic, LLC brought suit against Prentice Delon Hyler and Erie Insurance Exchange to recover $5,010.00 as payment for chiropractic services. The trial court granted Erie Insurance Exchange's motion for summary judgment. We granted review to determine whether the " Assignment of Rights" to Action Chiropractic Clinic as a health care provider executed by Mr. Hyler was a proper assignment. Upon a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the document in this case was not an effective assignment. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
Factual and Procedural Background
Prentice Delon Hyler (" Defendant Hyler" ) was injured in an automobile accident on October 24, 2011, and sought health care services from Action Chiropractic Clinic, LLC (" the Plaintiff" ). On October 31, 2011, Defendant Hyler executed an " Assignment of Rights" to the Plaintiff for " medical expense benefits allowable, and otherwise payable" to Defendant Hyler by his " Health Insurance, Auto Insurance, or any other party involved," naming Erie Insurance Exchange (" Defendant Erie" ) as the insurance company on the assignment. Defendant Erie was the automobile liability insurance provider for William L. Burnette, Jr., the other individual involved in the October 24, 2011 automobile accident with Defendant Hyler. Burnette is not a party to this case. On January 18, 2012, Defendant Erie received a copy of the " Assignment of Rights" that Defendant Hyler executed.
For chiropractic services rendered, Defendant Hyler incurred total fees from the Plaintiff of $5,010.00. On March 1, 2012, Defendant Erie and Defendant Hyler entered into a settlement agreement providing that Defendant Erie would pay Defendant Hyler $8,510.00 for all claims relating to the October 24, 2011 accident. As part of the settlement, Defendant Hyler executed a " General Release," releasing Defendant Erie from any other claims related to this accident. On March 6, 2012, Defendant Hyler received from Defendant Erie a check for $8,510.00 with a letter that stated:
As previously advised, Erie does not pay medical providers or reimburse health insurance carriers directly. You will be responsible for handling any balance or reimbursements out of this settlement check.
On May 23, 2012, the Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant Erie, demanding that Defendant Erie honor the " Assignment of Rights" executed by Defendant Hyler. The Plaintiff did not receive any payments toward Defendant Hyler's health care services from either Defendant Hyler or Defendant Erie. As a result, the Plaintiff filed suit against both Defendants ...