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Renown Regional Medical Center v. The Second Judicial Dist. Court of the State

Supreme Court of Nevada

October 2, 2014

RENOWN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, A NEVADA CORPORATION, Petitioner,
v.
THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF WASHOE; AND THE HONORABLE BRENT T. ADAMS, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and MICHAEL WILEY, AN INDIVIDUAL, Real Party in Interest

Original petition for a writ of mandamus challenging a district court order granting partial summary judgment in an action regarding a hospital lien.

Holland & Hart, LLP, and Jeremy J. Nork, Frank Z. LaForge, and Stephan J. Hollandsworth, Reno, for Petitioner.

Snell & Wilmer, LLP, and William E. Peterson and Janine C. Prupas, Reno; Leverty & Associates and Vernon Eugene Leverty and Patrick R. Leverty, Reno, for Real Party in Interest.

Matthew L. Sharp, Ltd., and Matthew L. Sharp, Reno, for Amicus Curiae Nevada Justice Association.

Cherry, J. We concur: Gibbons, C.J., Parraguirre, J., Hardesty, J., Douglas, J., Saitta, J.

OPINION

Page 200

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.[1]

CHERRY, J.:

A district court may grant summary judgment sua sponte if it gives the defending party notice and an opportunity to defend. In this case, the district court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff on two claims for relief that were not argued in the summary judgment briefing or in oral argument. The district court did not give notice to the defendant that it intended to do so. We conclude that the district court erred by granting summary judgment on those two causes of action and grant, in part, this petition for a writ of mandamus. We decline to consider the other issues and arguments raised by the parties and therefore deny the remainder of the petition.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Real party in interest Michael Wiley was injured in a motorcycle accident for which he was not at fault. Wiley was treated for his injuries at Renown Regional Medical Center. Renown did not bill Wiley's health insurance plan administrator, Cigna, for the treatment. Instead, it recorded a hospital lien against Wiley's potential tort recovery. Nevertheless, Wiley sent his medical bills to Cigna. Cigna sent payment to Renown in the amount of the special, discounted rates that Cigna had previously negotiated with Renown. Cigna's discounted rates were set by its provider agreement with Renown in which Cigna agreed to send patients to Renown and Renown agreed to provide Cigna and its members with discounted rates. Renown did not accept this payment because it believed that Cigna did not actually cover injuries caused by a third party's negligence.

Page 201

Wiley and the tortfeasor's insurer subsequently reached a settlement. The insurer delivered two checks to Wiley. The first was made out to Wiley. The second was made out to Renown in the amount of Renown's standard, nondiscounted rates in order to satisfy Renown's hospital lien. Wiley refused to give the check made out to Renown to Renown. He believed that he was entitled to the full settlement payment and that Renown should have accepted Cigna's payment as full and final instead of recovering via the hospital lien. Because Wiley did not deliver the check, Renown did not release its lien. Wiley was later refused a loan on account of the outstanding lien.

Wiley brought a putative class action against Renown regarding its lien practices. Wiley alleged, among other things, that Renown's lien violated Nevada's hospital lien statutes, NRS 108.590 and NRS 449.757, that Renown breached its provider agreement with Cigna, and that Renown intentionally interfered with Wiley's policy with Cigna. Renown moved for summary judgment, arguing that Wiley's Cigna policy did not cover Wiley's treatments, that Wiley could not assert breach of the provider ...


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