The case of Demery v. AAA, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals decided August 30, 2011, (Docket No. 297189) involves an issue over the rate of attendant care payable to a catastrophically injured claimant. In 2003, the Plaintiff sustained various injuries in an auto accident, including severe damage to his left forearm and a closed head injury. He was insured by defendant AAA at the time of the accident.
In 2005, the Oakland Circuit Court entered a judgment for plaintiff’s recovery of attendant care benefits, whereby AAA was required to pay $30 per hour for family provided attendant care to/for the Plaintiff.
The $30.00 per hour was based upon evidence that the Plaintiff required skilled nursing care.
AAA complied with the judgment until February 29, 2008, when it reduced the hourly rate it paid for family-provided attendant care services to $11.00 per hour.
The Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against AAA to fight the reduction in the hourly rate.
The trial Court held that AAA was bound by the prior judgment, and barred from re-litigating the rate issue because AAA could not show a change in circumstances that would justify reducing the payment for attendant care benefits from $30 per hour to $11 per hour.
The Court of Appeals reversed stating that there was a question of fact as to whether the Plaintiff required skilled nursing care as opposed to unskilled supervision. Thus, the Court held that whether AAA was required to continue to pay $30.00 per hour for skilled care as opposed to $11.00 per hour for un-skilled care should be decided by the jury.