Insurer says lawyer breached agreement

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 22, 2015

BECKLEY – Erie Insurance Company has filed a lawsuit against Charleston-based Michael Martin & Associates for failing to pay as part of a settlement agreement.

R. Michael Martin and Michael Martin & Associates provided legal representation to Stephen Perry against Erie after Perry alleged that he was injured in an automobile accident on March 19, 2012, according to a complaint filed Dec. 23 in Raleigh Circuit Court.

Nationwide Insurance Company of America maintained a medical payment subrogation lien in the amount of $3,333 for medical payments made on behalf of Perry and in relation to the accident.

Martin and his practice agreed to pay Nationwide's subrogation lien on Feb. 13, 2013, according to the suit.

Erie claims on Feb. 18, 2013, it issued a letter to Martin and the firm discussing the settlement agreement and confirming that Martin would pay Nationwide's subrogation lien.

Perry entered into a settlement agreement and agreed to be responsible for any liens or charges against the payments to be made, according to the suit.

Erie claims a check to satisfy the settlement agreement on Feb. 15, 2013, and the check was cashed on Feb. 25, 2013.

The defendants failed to reimburse Nationwide for its medical subrogation lien  and on Nov. 1, 2013, Erie issued a letter to Martin indicating that Nationwide had not received reimbursement for their subrogation lien and requested the payment be made to Nationwide immediately, according to the suit.

Erie claims on Feb. 20 and April 9, it issued more letters regarding Nationwide not being paid.

On May 15, Nationwide obtained an arbitration judgment against Erie and on Sept. 9, a representative of Erie advised that Nationwide obtained a judgment against Erie and requested that Martin reimburse for the amount of the judgment, according to the suit.

Erie claims on Nov. 5, Erie's counsel issued a letter to Martin, again advising of the judgment in favor of Nationwide and requesting reimbursement.

To date, the defendants have not reimbursed Erie for the arbitration award, according to the suit.

Erie claims Martin breached the settlement agreement and breached its contract.

Erie is seeking judgment against the defendants in an amount that will fully and completely compensate Erie for all damages, including $5,000 with pre- and post-judgment interest.

It is being represented by P. Joseph Craycraft and Katherine Dean of Swartz Campbell LLC.

Raleigh Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1129

More News

The Record Network