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Sever it.December 9, 2009

Today, the last nail was placed in the coffin for the joining of claims from different assignors, which arise from different accidents and do not implicate a common coverage defense.

In an appeal I took up – mainly because I did not think it was fair that certain firms were not playing by the “rules” involving the joinder of claims that arise from different accidents – the Appellate Term reversed the order of Civil Court and severed the claims of the 2 assignors involved in different accidents.

In Georgetown Mind-Body Med., P.C. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2009 NY Slip Op52464(U)(2d Dept. 2009), the Appellate Term observed the following:

“The claims allegedly arose out of two separate accidents. The Civil Court denied defendant’s motion pursuant to CPLR 603 to sever the causes of action into two separate actions. Defendant’s answer clearly places at issue with respect to each assignor, among other things, the necessity and reasonableness of the particular medical services rendered. The facts relating to each claim are therefore likely to raise few, if any, common issues of fact (see Radiology Resource Network, P.C. v Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 12 AD3d 185 [2004]). A severance can be properly based solely upon allegations set forth in the answer, and there is no need to demonstrate prejudice (see Ladim DME, Inc. v GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 15 Misc 3d 139[A], 2007 NY Slip Op 50997[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2007]).”

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