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Kennestone Hospital, Inc. v. Travelers Home & Marine Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

January 16, 2015

KENNESTONE HOSPITAL, INC.
v.
THE TRAVELERS HOME AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY

Cert. applied for.

Hospital lien. Gwinnett State Court. Before Judge Iannazzone.

Elizabeth S. Richards, Thomas L. Carnes III, for appellant.

Hicks, Casey & Foster, William T. Casey, Jr., Erica L. Morton, for appellee.

McMILLIAN, Judge. Phipps, C. J., and Ellington, P. J., concur.

OPINION

Page 520

McMillian, Judge.

Appellant Kennestone Hospital, Inc. d/b/a WellStar Kennestone Hospital (" Kennestone" ) brought suit against The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company (" TH& M" ) to enforce its hospital lien for medical treatment and services provided to Wanderson B. Silva following a motor vehicle collision[1] with TH& M's insured, Deborah M. Chasin. TH& M moved for summary judgment on the basis that Kennestone failed to comply with the procedure set out in OCGA § 44-14-471 for perfecting a medical services lien, and Kennestone filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, contending that it had in fact satisfied all requirements to perfect its lien, and that, in any event, any defects in perfecting its lien were irrelevant in light of the fact that TH& M had actual notice of the lien. Following a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment to TH& M, and Kennestone filed a timely appeal from that order. As more fully set forth below, we now affirm.

1. We start with the pertinent statutory framework. Pursuant to OCGA § 44-14-470 (b), hospitals and other designated medical providers

... shall have a lien for the reasonable charges for hospital ... care and treatment of an injured person, which lien shall be upon any and all causes of action accruing to the person to whom the care was furnished or to the legal representative of such person on account of injuries giving rise to the causes of action and which necessitated the hospital ... care[.]

The method for perfecting a hospital or other medical lien is set out in OCGA § 44-14-471 (a), and requires the lienholder to

(1) ... provide written notice to the patient and, to the best of the claimant's knowledge, the persons, firms, corporations, and their insurers claimed by the injured person or the legal representative of the injured person to be liable for damages arising from the injuries ... . Such notice shall be sent to all such persons and entities by first-class and [330 Ga.App. 542] certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested[.]

(Emphasis supplied.)

After the notice is sent and within the specified time ...


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