Custer Medical Center v. United Automobile Insurance Co.

62 So. 3d 1086 (2010)

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Custer Medical Center v. United Automobile Insurance Co.

Florida Supreme Court
62 So. 3d 1086 (2010)

Facts

Maximo Masis was injured in an automobile accident and sought medical care at Custer Medical Center (Custer) (plaintiff). Masis had a personal-injury protection (PIP) policy through United Automobile Insurance Company (United) (defendant) applicable to injuries incurred in car accidents. Masis submitted his medical bill to United. United then ordered Masis to submit to a medical examination, which Masis refused to do. United denied Masis’s PIP claim. As Masis’s assignee under the PIP policy, Custer sued United in county court to recover Masis’s medical costs. United moved for a directed verdict, raising as an affirmative defense that Masis was not entitled to PIP coverage after unreasonably refusing to submit to United’s medical examination. At trial, Custer presented substantial evidence supporting its claim to recover the medical expenses. By contrast, United did not present any evidence supporting its affirmative defense. Regardless, the county court granted United’s motion for a directed verdict. Custer appealed to the appellate division of the circuit court. The circuit court reversed, holding that the directed verdict was inappropriate because United had failed to meet its burden of proof on the affirmative defense. United filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Third District Court of Appeal. The Third District reversed the circuit court, holding that Custer bore the burden of disproving United’s affirmative defense. Custer appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that the Third District’s exercise of second-tier certiorari review to review the circuit court’s decision was inappropriate because the Third District failed to demonstrate that the circuit court committed a grievous error.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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