Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 98-2604.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation727 So.2d 391
PartiesEugene RITTMAN, Jr., Appellant, v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 98-2604.
Decision Date10 March 1999

727 So.2d 391

Eugene RITTMAN, Jr., Appellant,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee

No. 98-2604.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

March 10, 1999.


727 So.2d 392
Charles W. Dodson of Charles W. Dodson, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellant

Charles A. Stampelos, Harold R. Mardenborough, Jr. and Rogelio J. Fontela of McFarlain, Wiley, Cassedy & Jones, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee.

PER CURIAM.

Appellant, Eugene Rittman, Jr., seeks review of the trial court's non-final order staying action of appellant's claim against Allstate Insurance Company pending arbitration.1 We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Appellant sued Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) to recover damages for injuries resulting from an automobile accident involving a motor vehicle insured by Allstate. The pertinent allegations of appellant's complaint against Allstate provide:

4. As a result of the accident, the Plaintiff suffered bodily injury, expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, and loss of ability to earn money. The losses are either permanent or continuing and he will suffer the losses in the future.
5. At the time of the accident the Plaintiff did not own a motor vehicle nor was he otherwise entitled to motor vehicle insurance coverage with any insurance company other than the Defendant. As a result of the accident he has obtained medical treatment and is in need of further medical treatment.
6. At the request of the Defendant, the Plaintiff was examined by Dr. G. Pierce Jones on March 4, 1998. Dr. Jones concluded that no further medical treatment is reasonable, related or necessary. Accordingly, the Defendant has informed the Plaintiff it will pay no further medical benefits as a result of this accident.
7. The Plaintiff asserts that further treatment is reasonable, related or necessary. The Plaintiffs primary treating physician has informed him that further medical treatment is reasonable, related or necessary.
8. Additionally, the Plaintiff has incurred medical bills for his treatment which he has submitted to the Defendant for payment. The Defendant has refused to pay some of the bills, stating the service for which the bill was rendered was not medically necessary. The Defendant has paid only a portion of other bills, claiming the charge exceeded a reasonable amount for the service. The Plaintiffs
727 So.2d 393
treating physicians assure the Plaintiff their services are reasonable or medically necessary, and that their charges are reasonable. The Plaintiff is entitled to full payment of all those charges.

Allstate filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action, alleging as grounds therefor that appellant assigned his personal injury protection benefits to his medical care providers who agreed to accept the assignment. Allstate further alleged that due to the assignment of personal injury protection benefits, "the exclusive remedy of the medical care providers is binding arbitration pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 682 of the Florida Statutes (Florida Arbitration Code)." Allstate alleged the complaint should be dismissed, "because Plaintiff has no standing to bring this lawsuit, given that he has assigned any cause of action he might have against this Defendant to his medical care provider, and the exclusive remedy of the medical care provider is binding arbitration." Contemporaneously with the motion to dismiss, Allstate filed a demand for arbitration, pursuant to section 627.736(5), Florida Statutes.

In the order ruling on Allstate's motion to dismiss and demand for arbitration, the trial court observed: "Although dismissal would be appropriate under the circumstances, a more reasonable and efficient alternative is to stay the action pending arbitration." In accordance with this conclusion, the trial court ordered the action stayed pending arbitration, scheduled a status conference, and requested the parties to notify the court if the matter were resolved before the date of the scheduled status conference.

Our review of the non-final order here at issue is circumscribed by the rather unusual procedural posture of the proceedings in the lower tribunal. Allstate did not answer the complaint, or allege entitlement to arbitration as an affirmative defense. At oral argument of this cause, counsel indicated that no record was made of the proceeding before the trial court. In an appendix to the initial brief, appellant's counsel has provided copies of the complaint, Allstate's motion to dismiss, Allstate's demand for arbitration, and the trial court's order staying the action pending arbitration. In a supplemental appendix, Allstate's counsel has provided a copy of the notice of hearing on its motion to dismiss and demand for arbitration.2 Since the parties have not stipulated or agreed to the existence of an assignment, we must resolve the issue on the basis of the complaint and the appealed order.

The sufficiency of a complaint in a civil action is a question of law. See McKinney-Green, Inc. v. Davis, 606...

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34 practice notes
  • City of Gainesville v. STATE, DOT, No. 1D99-4548.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 5, 2001
    ...of review is de novo. See Andrews v. Florida Parole Comm'n, 768 So.2d 1257, 1260 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) ("The sufficiency of a complaint in a civil action is a question of law."); Sarkis v. Pafford Oil Co., 697 So.2d 524, 52......
  • Humana Med. Plan, Inc. v. Reale, No. 3D12–2883.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 2, 2015
    ...facts, the circuit court's ruling was based on pure issues of law. We review pure issues of law de novo. Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999). Whether a court has subject-matter jurisdiction involves a question of law and is also reviewed de novo. Nissen v. C......
  • Andrews v. Florida Parole Com'n, No. 1D98-1931.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 18, 2000
    ...This appeal followed. Standard of Review We review the order granting the motion to dismiss de novo. See Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) ("The sufficiency of a complaint in a civil action is a question of law."). In ruling on the motion, the trial court ......
  • Vlx Properties, Inc. v. Southern States Utilities, Inc., 5
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 21, 2000
    ...in these proceedings is one of law and this requires that we review the lower court's decision de novo. See Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So. 2d 391 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999). This is the second time the parties to this litigation have appealed to this court issues relating to the underlying ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • City of Gainesville v. STATE, DOT, No. 1D99-4548.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 5, 2001
    ...of review is de novo. See Andrews v. Florida Parole Comm'n, 768 So.2d 1257, 1260 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) ("The sufficiency of a complaint in a civil action is a question of law."); Sarkis v. Pafford Oil Co., 697 So.2d 524, 52......
  • Humana Med. Plan, Inc. v. Reale, No. 3D12–2883.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 2, 2015
    ...facts, the circuit court's ruling was based on pure issues of law. We review pure issues of law de novo. Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999). Whether a court has subject-matter jurisdiction involves a question of law and is also reviewed de novo. Nissen v. C......
  • Andrews v. Florida Parole Com'n, No. 1D98-1931.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 18, 2000
    ...This appeal followed. Standard of Review We review the order granting the motion to dismiss de novo. See Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) ("The sufficiency of a complaint in a civil action is a question of law."). In ruling on the motion, the trial court ......
  • Vlx Properties, Inc. v. Southern States Utilities, Inc., 5
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 21, 2000
    ...in these proceedings is one of law and this requires that we review the lower court's decision de novo. See Rittman v. Allstate Ins. Co., 727 So. 2d 391 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999). This is the second time the parties to this litigation have appealed to this court issues relating to the underlying ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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