Ahn v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
In two consolidated cases, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company denied personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to Chung Ahn and Kee Kim (collectively, Insureds) for treatments after motor vehicle accidents. Insureds each sought administrative reviews with the Insurance Division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA). The DCCA granted summary judgment to Liberty Mutual based on the holding in Wilson v. AIG Hawaii Insurance Company, which stated that unless an insurer's non-payment of PIP benefits jeopardizes an insured's ability to reach the minimum amount of medical expenses required to file a tort lawsuit, insureds are not real parties in interest allowed to pursue lawsuits seeking payment of PIP benefits to providers. The circuit court reversed, concluding that Act 198 of 2006 had legislatively overruled Wilson. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) upheld the circuit court. On appeal, the Supreme Court (1) overruled Wilson, holding that insureds are real parties in interest in actions against insurers regarding PIP benefits; and (2) vacated the ICA and circuit court judgments because at the time of judgment, Act 198 of 2006 was not retrospective, and the real party in interest holding of Wilson was still in effect. Remanded.