24 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 159a
Online Reference: FLWSUPP 2402BARR
Insurance — Personal injury protection — Discovery — Depositions — Billing clerk — Where insurer has attempted to limit reimbursement to permissive statutory fee schedule, deposition of medical provider’s billing clerk for purposes of inquiring into reasonableness of bills is improper
GLADYS BARROSO, Plaintiff, vs. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Florida Corporation, Defendant. County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Dade County, General Jurisdiction Division. Case No. 11-10324 SP 25 (1). June 3 , 2016. Laura Anne Stuzin, Judge. Counsel: Walter A. Arguelles, Arguelles Legal, P.L., Miami, for Plaintiff. Edward Krakauer, Matt Hellman, P.A., Plantation, for Defendant.
AMENDED ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION
FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING
DEFENDANT’S SUBPOENA FOR DEPOSITION OF
THE BILLING CLERK/RECORDS CUSTODIAN FOR
PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL BUILDING GROUP
This cause having come before the court for hearing on April 19, 2016, on Plaintiff’s Motion For Protective Order Regarding Defendant’s Subpoena For Deposition Of The Billing Clerk/Records Custodian For Professional Medical Building Group, the Court having reviewed the motion and entire Court file, read relevant legal authority, heard argument from counsel of each party, and been sufficiently advised in the premises, finds as follows:
On or about August 12, 2009, the Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident in which she sustained injuries. Subsequently, the Plaintiff received medical treatment at Professional Medical Building Group. Soon thereafter, Professional Medical Building Group submitted its bills to the Defendant seeking reimbursement for the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under the subject policy. As reflected per the Defendant’s Demand Letter Response, payment was tendered pursuant to Florida Statute 627.736(5)(a)(2)f. Specifically, the bills were reimbursed pursuant to the Medicare Part B fee schedule and the Workers Compensation fee schedule. As such, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the Defendant in connection with a claim for failure to pay proper Personal Injury Protection benefits.
On or about March 23, 2016, the Defendant served the Plaintiff with a Subpoena for Deposition Duces Tecum for the Billing Clerk/Records Custodian for Professional Medical Building Group. A Motion for Protective Order regarding said deposition was filed and set for hearing.
The Court finds that once an insurer has attempted to limit reimbursement pursuant to the permissive methodology set forth in Fla. Stat. §627.736(5)(a)(2)f, the primary question to be determined is whether the policy provides sufficient notice to its insured, which is why the deposition of a party’s Billing Clerk/Records Custodian for purposes of inquiring into reasonableness is improper. See Fla. Hosp. Med. Ctr. aao Sharon Holness v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Serv., 23 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 351a; See also Fla. Hosp. Med. Ctr. aao Fabiola Barrick v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Serv., 23 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 262a; Fla. Hosp. Med. Ctr. aao Madge Forsythe v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Serv., FLWSUPP 2309MFOR.
Therefore, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Protective Order Regarding Defendant’s Subpoena for Deposition of the Billing Clerk/Records Custodian for Professional Medical Building Group is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Defendant may depose the Billing Clerk/Records Custodian for Professional Medical Building Group for the sole purpose of authenticating the records.
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