This past October, MLMIC Insurance Company, one of the largest providers of medical malpractice in New York, became part of Berkshire Hathaway. As a result of becoming a stock company, a sum of money was to be paid out to policyholders who had policies between the years 2013-2016.
Yet, a problem emerges for many who find themselves in a dispute over who owns the funds:
- the policy holder (the individual practitioner)
- the policy administrator (the group or practice, who paid the policy premiums)
For those who are embroiled in this battle, and who have provided the necessary documents to appeal the payment to the policyholder, MLMIC will hold the disputed funds in escrow, waiting on the parties to resolve the issue. To help facilitate determinations, MLMIC will cover the costs to pay for mediation/arbitration. Despite this, many claims are bypassing arbitration and being filed directly in court.
There is no simple answer: each case is different and the individual facts will be used by each party to prove their case in favor of the funds being rightfully theirs. As these cases are only just starting, it is unclear what the courts will look at or what evidence will be in the best favor for either party.
The only thing that is clear is that practitioners and practices are finding themselves at odds with each other, whether in a lawsuit or arbitration, over who truly owns the funds being released by MLMIC.
As such, it is important that all practices and individual practitioners who find themselves in these disputes review their employment agreement, as it relates to the malpractice insurance. Understanding the fine print (or determining if there is any) may save time, money, and energy at a later date.
Stephanie J. Rodin, Esq.
Rodin Legal, P.C.
Tel: (917) 345-8972
Fax: (917) 591-4428