Sutter Medical Care v. Progressive Casualty Ins.
Judge Michael Ciaffa
Insurer Progressive Casualty Ins. moved to dismiss provider Sutter Medical Care's no-fault complaint on grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Progressive commenced a declaratory judgment action against Sutter, alleging that it failed to satisfy conditions precedent to Progressive's obligation to cover no-fault claims by failing to appear for examinations under oath and by failing to provide requested verification of the claims. Progressive requested a declaration that it had "no obligation to pay" any outstanding claims for services rendered by Sutter to the named claimants. Sutter later commenced no-fault lawsuits against Progressive seeking payment of no-fault benefits. At least six of the suits involved claims for payment for medical services it rendered to six of the same claimants who were referenced in the declaratory judgment complaint. Progressive moved to dismiss those six cases on the ground that each was barred by the default judgment rendered in the declaratory judgment action. The court granted Progressive's motion in one of those six cases, noting that the default judgment was final and binding with respect to Progressive's liability for paying medical services rendered to the claimant.