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Kahnke v. Green

April 26, 2005

CAROL E. KAHNKE, APPELLANT,
v.
HARVEY GREEN, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Halbrooks, Judge. Hennepin County District Court File No. PI 02 19811.

Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Hudson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

For the purposes of the collateral-source statute, an assertion of subrogation rights is reasonable and timely when it is made prior to the district court's ruling on the collateral-source motion.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Halbrooks, Judge

Reversed and remanded

OPINION

The district court reduced appellant's jury award pursuant to the collateral-source provisions of Minn. Stat. § 548.36 (2004). The district court included payments made to appellant by her health-care insurer in its collateral-source reduction, based on its determination that the insurer did not properly assert its subrogation rights. Because we conclude that the insurer's subrogation rights were reasonably and timely asserted, we reverse and remand for recalculation of the award.

FACTS

In May 2001, appellant Carol E. Kahnke was involved in an automobile accident with respondents Courtney and Harvey Green. Kahnke's insurer, Medica, paid medical expenses for Kahnke in the amount of $16,088.16.*fn1 The case was tried to a jury, which found total damages of $114,874. With respect to liability, the jury found Kahnke and Courtney Green each 50% at fault for the accident.

The Greens subsequently filed a motion for determination of collateral sources pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 548.36 (2004). A hearing on the motion was held on April 27, 2004.*fn2 The Greens argued that the payments made on Kahnke's behalf by Medica should be included in the collateral-source computation because Medica failed to properly assert a subrogation claim in a timely manner. Kahnke contended that the subrogation claim was properly asserted and, therefore, Medica's payments on her behalf should not be included in the calculation of collateral-source payments.

The district court ruled in favor of the Greens, noting that "Medica failed to properly assert its subrogation right." Accordingly, the district court held that "Kahnke must deduct [from the jury award] the [$16,088.16] already paid by Medica for [her] medical bills." This appeal follows.

ISSUE

Did the district court err in failing to exclude the payments made by Medica on Kahnke's behalf from the collateral-source ...


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