August 2015 – Heinz Receives Directed Verdict in Hospital Lien Impairment Case

Ben Heinz obtained a directed verdict on behalf of a liability insurer in a Mobile County hospital lien impairment case. The hospital alleged the insurer had impaired multiple liens by settling underlying claims of three injured persons who had received treatment at the hospital. The hospital attempted to prove that the actions of the insurer impaired the lien but did not trigger the running of the 1 year period for filing the hospital’s impairment claim. The hospital contended the signatures on the underlying settlement agreements had been forged and thus did not “finally determine” liability in order to trigger the period. Ben proved that the all of the entities involved in the underlying settlement believed a true and complete settlement had been reached and convinced the trial judge that the hospital had no legal excuse to avoid the application of the 1 year deadline. After allowing the hospital to present its case in full, the trial judge granted the directed verdict motion Ben made on behalf of the insurer.