ROIG Partner Gets Two Suits Voluntarily Dismissed For State Farm One Day Before Trial

April 19, 2016

A plaintiff seeking payment from State Farm for x-rays that were arbitrarily priced voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit one day before trial after, among other things, the plaintiff’s expert witness was struck based on impeachment evidence. The plaintiff agreed to pay a substantial amount of State Farm’s costs, and then dismissed another lawsuit that ROIG was defending.

Stephen Mellor, a partner in the Deerfield Beach office of ROIG Lawyers, obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice in a lawsuit one day before trial was to begin from a plaintiff/medical provider trying to collect payment from State Farm for x-rays billed at varying prices.

The x-ray provider billed State Farm for eight x-rays of the insured that ranged from $200 to $400 each. During the investigation of the claim, Stephen discovered the provider charged a low of $100 and a high of $800 for the same type of x-ray scans. In one instance, one State Farm patient was billed $250 for a cervical x-ray. For the same x-ray on the same day, another State Farm patient was billed $700.

Stephen’s deposition of the plaintiff’s expert witness revealed inconsistencies with a deposition Stephen had taken from the same expert years earlier in a different case, discrediting his opinion for the plaintiff. Additionally, Stephen and associate Claudia S. Dominguez were in the process of having other evidence struck on the eve of trial because the plaintiff failed to timely disclose it to the defense as ordered by the court.

Stephen also had retained an expert for the defense, Dr. Edward Dauer, a board-certified radiologist and professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine who has 38 years of experience operating diagnostic facilities. Dauer was scheduled to testify at trial. Stephen defeated plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, won non-binding arbitration against the plaintiff and then prepared for trial after the court granted plaintiff’s request for a new trial. Stephen’s defense centered on the plaintiff’s billing procedures not being usual and customary and the plaintiff not having any evidence to support its varying pricing scheme or the reasonableness of its charges.

The day before the trial, the plaintiff’s counsel agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice and pay a substantial amount of State Farm’s costs, as well as dismiss another suit that ROIG was defending.