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Puch v. Key Health Medical Solutions

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department E

October 31, 2013

GREGORY PUCH, individually, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant/ Appellee,
v.
KEY HEALTH MEDICAL SOLUTIONS, a California corporation, Defendant/Counterclaimant/ Appellant.

Not for Publication -Rule 28, Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure

Appeal from the Superior Court of Maricopa County Cause No. CV2011-003623 The Honorable Arthur T. Anderson, Judge

Titus Brueckner & Levine PLC Scottsdale By Jon A. Titus And Laura C. Brooks Attorneys for Defendant/Appellant

Levenbaum Trachtenberg PLC Phoenix By Geoffrey M. Trachtenberg And Knapp & Roberts, P.C. Scottsdale By David L. Abney Attorneys for Plaintiff/Appellee

MEMORANDUM DECISION

JON W. THOMPSON, Judge

¶1 Key Health Medical Solutions (Key Health) appeals from the trial court's summary judgment in favor of Gregory Puch (Puch), the denial of its summary judgment motion, and from the subsequent award of attorneys' fees and costs to Puch. Finding no material unresolved questions of fact and no legal error, we affirm the trial court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 In August 2007, Puch was injured in an auto accident and taken to the hospital. At the hospital, Puch was determined to be eligible for Arizona's Medicaid program (AHCCCS), and was immediately given an identification number and assigned a health care plan. As part of his ongoing treatment for the accident, Puch was referred to Insight-Biltmore Advanced Imaging Center (Insight) for radiology studies in January and February 2008.

¶3 Puch, in his affidavit, swore that he provided Insight with his AHCCCS information when filling out his paperwork in January 2008 just as he had with all his providers. There is no evidence in the record to the contrary. At the same time, as part of the paperwork he was given at intake by Insight, Puch completed an assignment of proceeds/lien in favor of Key Health.[1] That assignment form contained language asserting that the patient had no insurance coverage of any kind, including government coverage, and agreed to a lien that patient's lawyer would pay out upon recovery. Puch's attorney signed the assignment. After two radiology appointments, the amount billed for Insight's services was $4, 435.90. Key Health purchased the two receivables from Insight in April 2008 and sought to recover that amount from Puch.

¶4 Puch received $15, 000 in settlement of the tort matter. Puch brought an interpleader action in superior court regarding the distribution of proceeds as between himself and several medical providers or companies attempting to collect for medical providers, including Key Health. Key Health filed an answer asserting that Puch was unable to avail himself of an interpleader because he had an interest in the monies at issue and filed a counterclaim asserting breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

¶5 Cross motions for summary judgment were filed by Puch and Key Health. The trial court granted Puch's motion finding that Key Health, as assignee, stepped into the shoes of Insight and, as such was expressly prohibited by section 15 of the AHCCCS PPA from billing or attempting to recover from Puch. Key Health's motion for summary judgment was denied.

¶6 The trial court awarded Puch his reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 12-341.01 (2012) in the amount of $23, 455. Because Key Health had previously rejected Puch's offer of judgment, the trial court awarded Puch double costs in the amount of $1, 339.92. Key Health filed a timely notice of appeal.

ISSUES

¶7 Key Health asserts three issues on ...


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