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The Unreasonable EUO

Parisien v Travelers Ins. Co., 2021 NY Slip Op 50396(U)(Civ. Ct. Kings Co. 2021)

I did mean to write on this one sooner as it was a very well written lower court opinion. It is probably a primer or a history lesson of the EUO no sow defense over the last ten (10) years.

It discusses common-law mailing, the bust statement as proof of the no-show, the lack of necessity of the objective reasons, and the inability to apply the doctrine of wifullness,

The case then goes on to discuss mutual rescheduling v. stonewalling, which is something that has not had a lot of attention from the Courts:

“However, one cannot assume that an EUO is mutually rescheduled merely because a request to reschedule an EUO was made (Alas Lifespan Wellness, PT, P.C. v Citywide Auto Leasing, Inc., 64 Misc 3d 131[A], 2019 NY Slip Op 51040[U] [App Term, 2d Dept, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2019] [a phone call from the assignor on the day of the scheduled IME asking to adjourn the IME, without more, is insufficient to show that an issue of fact exists as to whether the IME was mutually rescheduled]).

However, if plaintiff requested to reschedule an EUO and received no response, then the insurer is not entitled to summary judgment dismissing the complaint as a matter of law (Island Life Chiropractic, P.C. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 64 Misc 3d 130[A], 2019 NY Slip Op 51038[U] [App Term, 2d Dept, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2019] [plaintiff’s owner submitted an affidavit in which he stated that he had called defendant to reschedule each EUO and that he left messages for defendant’s investigator, but that plaintiff was not contacted by defendant in response to the messages]).

If an insurer refuses a timely and proper request to reschedule, then an issue of fact arises as to whether the EUOs were scheduled to be held at a time or place which was “reasonably convenient” to plaintiff (Parisien v Metlife Auto & Home, 68 Misc 3d 126[A], 2020 NY Slip Op 50845[U] [App Term, 2d Dept, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2020]). One lower court has ruled [*6]that an insurer may not unreasonably refuse to adjourn the exams “where a good-faith request is made to re-schedule and the adjournment sought is not excessive” (Diagnostic Radiographic Imaging, P.C. v GEICO, 42 Misc 3d 1205[A], 2013 NY Slip Op 52247[U] [Civ Ct, Kings County 2013]; see also A.B. Med. Servs. PLLC v USAA Gen. Indem. Co., 9 Misc 3d 19, 22, 2005 NY Slip Op 25297 [App Term, 2d Dept 2005]).

Here, defendant’s submissions indicate that the requests of plaintiff’s counsel to reschedule were made days before the EUOs were to occur, even though defendant’s counsel had mailed the scheduling letters more than a month before the scheduled EUOs. Defendant’s counsel apparently received plaintiff’s letter dated January 5, 2007 on January 10, 2017, the day before plaintiff’s EUO, as indicated by a date stamp on the letter (see defendant’s exhibit B in sup”

The court finishes with the discussion of what is a reasonable fee. “As a practical matter, the duration of an EUO may be an important factor in calculating the reimbursement of lost earnings. In this case, the request of plaintiff’s counsel for a flat, up-front fee of $5,000 per claimant was improper (Professional Health Imaging, P.C. v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 51 Misc 3d 143[A], 2016 NY Slip Op 50698[U] [App Term, 2d Dept, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2016] [“plaintiff improperly demanded that defendant pay a flat, up-front fee of $4,500 for plaintiff to attend the EUO, as opposed to seeking reimbursement for any loss of earnings and reasonable transportation expenses as set forth in the regulations”]).”

Case dismissed.