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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Delay in Serving Summonses Causes Dismissal of WD Case

The Court of Appeals just held that a wrongful death claim was barred by the statute of limitations because the plaintiffs waited eleven months to serve summonses upon the defendants. This delay was a deliberate decision by the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs intentionally caused a delay of prompt service of the summonses, which violates the Rules of Civil Procedure. See Tenn. R. Civ. P. 4.01(3).

The case is Estate of Butler v. Lamplighter Apartments, No. M2007-02508-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 20, 2008).

Here's the link to the case:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TN S. Ct. Issues New NIED Opinion

A few days ago the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion in Eskin v. Bartee, No. W2006-01336-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Aug. 14, 2008). Justice Koch authored the opinion. It traces the origins of the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress ("NIED") to the present. It's a good read and provides insight to this often confused tort.

In Eskin the Court held that a person who observes an injured family member shortly after an injury producing accident may pursue a claim for NIED. It is worth noting that the Court did not overrule its prior holdings in Camper v. Minor, 915 S.W.2d 437 (Tenn. 1996) or Lourcey v. Estate of Scarlett, 146 S.W.3d 48 (Tenn. 2004). Eskin, No. No. W2006-01336-SC-R11-CV, slip op. at 12.

Here's the link to the opinion:

Friday, August 08, 2008

Resolving Medicare Liens: Part 3

Here are steps 5 & 6:
5. As soon as your case is resolved you must fax a letter to Medicare at (734) 957-0998. The letter should state: (1) the date the case was resolved; (2) the amount involved; (3) the attorney's fee; and (4) an itemized list of expenses. Call them a few days after the letter has been sent to verify that it was received and request a final demand letter. Again, it will take 30 to 45 days for you to receive the letter. You will also receive another itemization from Medicare and a demand for payment. Be sure to check for unrelated charges. YOU ONLY HAVE 60 DAYS TO SATISFY THE LIEN (unless the the final demand letter states otherwise). You must file an appeal to get rid of the unrelated charges on the final demand letter. This takes approximately 150 days to decide. You must still satisfy the lien while the appeal is pending. Mail the check to: Medicare: MSPRC Liability, P.O. Box 33828, Detroit, MI 48232-3828.
6. This is the easiest step. Wait for Medicare to send you a letter confirming that the lien has been released and that they are closing their file.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Resolving Medicare Liens: Part 2

Here are steps 3 & 4, to wit:

3. Once the Consent to Release Form has been filed with Medicare, you will get an itemization of their lien within 30 to 45 days. Review this very carefully to ensure all charges are related. If any unrelated charges are discovered, send a letter to Medicare immediately asking that the charges be removed. You can fax the request to (734) 957-0998. You won't get a response for another 30 to 45 days. You may also call Medicare at 866-677-7220 a few days after you fax your letter to verify that they received it.

4. Before you make a demand, go to mediation, or to trial, request a conditional payment letter. This can be done by calling 866-677-7220. They will generally not give lien information out over the phone. Also, this will take another 30 to 45 days before you receive the letter.

Steps 5 & 6 to follow.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Resolving Medicare Liens: Part 1

Resolving Medicare liens can be a real hassle. As of October 2006 there is one national recovery contractor for Medicare. It's the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor ("MSPRC"). Here is MSPRC's Web site

There is a six-step process for resolving Medicare liens through MSPRC. Here are steps 1 & 2:

1. Send a letter of representation that includes details of your client's injuries (be specific). The address is: Medicare: Coordination of Benefits, MSP Claims Investigation Project, P.O. Box 33847, Detroit, MI 48232.

2. Medicare will send you a reply letter; enclosed will be a Medicare Secondary Payer Development Form. Complete the applicable portions of the form, have your client sign it, and return it to Medicare. Medicare will also send you a Consent to Release Form for your client's signature. The Consent to Release Form must be on file before Medicare will speak to you about the claim.

Please make sure all forms are compete or they will be returned.

The remaining four steps will be posted later.

Good luck!