Rhoades McKee attorney Stephen Hulst recently obtained a significant victory for catastrophically injured individuals and their fight to keep the care they need to survive.
Stephen Gedda suffered a spinal cord injury in a 2011 auto accident, rendering him a quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator. Gedda’s auto insurer, State Farm, paid for the 24/7 home care Gedda needed for over 10 years, until September of 2021, when payments completely stopped. The Gedda family tried for months to obtain proper payment from State Farm, but to no avail. With no other options, and with Gedda at risk of losing the care he needs to survive, Matthew Gedda, Stephen’s brother and legal guardian, retained Hulst and Rhoades McKee to file suit against State Farm. Seeking emergency injunctive relief, Hulst asked the court to enter an order requiring State Farm to pay reasonable rates during the course of the case, in order to protect Gedda and ensure that he does not lose his care. State Farm responded by arguing that new fee schedules in the No-Fault Act allowed it to cut reimbursement of Gedda’s home-care bills by approximately 45%, to financially unsustainable levels. The judge granted the emergency motion, entering an order stating that the new fee schedules are unconstitutional; the schedules do not retroactively apply to Gedda; and that Gedda was entitled to full payment of his home-care bills. The judge ordered State Farm to pay Gedda’s home care bills in full and to continue to do so during the litigation.
Commenting on Rhoades McKee’s and Hulst’s representation, Matt Gedda states: “I cannot recommend attorney Steve Hulst and his firm Rhoades McKee more highly. They have a grasp of the issues like no one I’ve ever spoken with. I thank God for this victory and for the judge who had the temerity to send a message with his strong ruling in favor of my brother. It is not an exaggeration to say his ruling saved my brother’s life.” The ruling has received media attention across the state, from Fox News in Detroit1 and ABC/WZZM in Grand Rapids,2 to Crain’s3 and Michigan Radio.4
Michigan’s no-fault reform legislation, passed in 2019, has created a care crisis throughout Michigan. Injured individuals and providers have been imploring the Legislature to fix aspects of the law for over a year. In the past eight months, numerous home-care providers have been forced out of business due to insurance companies’ improper payments and individuals like Stephen Gedda have been placed in life-or-death situations. The Michigan Legislature has been presented with many options to fix the law to ensure that injured individuals can maintain and receive the care they need to survive. To date, the Legislature has taken no action. Rhoades McKee and Hulst continue to fight for individuals and providers throughout the state and hope the ruling in favor of Gedda is followed by other courts.
3Crain’s Detroit: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/insurance/judge-orders-state-farm-pay-home-care-bills-lawsuit-over-no-fault-rates
4Michigan Radio: https://www.michiganradio.org/transportation-infrastructure/2022-04-22/judge-orders-state-farm-to-resume-paying-for-care-for-quadriplegic-car-crash-survivor