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When it Comes to Claims Assigned Through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, Solicitation in Violation of MCL 750.410 is No Defense
Stephanie Lynn Richardson v Allstate Insurance Company stands for the proposition that when defending claims assigned through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, solicitation by an injured party’s attorney is not a defense.
When dealing with claims assigned through the MACP, the important takeaways from this case are as follows: (1) MCL 750.410 is a criminal statute, and provides no civil remedy or cause of action for its enforcement. That precludes the use of any public policy reasoning underlying the statute as a vehicle to extend the statute beyond its limits to provide relief in a civil matter; (2) an improper act of a third party will not bar a plaintiff’s claim for benefits when the improper act is unrelated to the provision of the plaintiff’s care; and (3) wrongful solicitation does not constitute fraudulent behavior that would bar a claim for no-fault benefits to the MACP.
Although solicitation by an injured party’s attorney is not a defense, Defendant insurer may seek attorney fees. Under Section 3148(2) of the Michigan No-Fault Reform Act (Senate Bill 1), a court may award an insurer a reasonable amount against a claimant’s attorney as an attorney fee for defending against a claim for which the client was solicited by the attorney in violation of the laws of this state or the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.
Therefore, in the event an injured party is improperly solicited by his or her attorney, defendant insurer should seek attorney fees from the injured party’s attorney for violating MCL 750.410.
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