Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kelly Health Care v. The Prudential Insurance Co. of America case brief

Kelly Health Care v. The Prudential Insurance Co. of America case brief summary
309 S.E.2d 305 (1983)

Plaintiff health care facility sought review of a decision of the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond (Virginia), which granted defendant insurer's motion for summary judgment in a suit to recover the amount of the insured's medical bills.

The health care facility first earned a default judgment against the insured, then pursued its claim against the insurer on the theory that the insurer was the insured's assignee. As proof of assignment, the health care facility relied upon two documents drafted by the insurer and signed by the insured that authorized the insurer to make payments on the insured's behalf.


  • The reviewing court upheld the grant of summary judgment. 
  • An assignment is a transfer, but a transfer is not necessarily an assignment. 
  • If the transfer is less than absolute, it is not an assignment; the obligee must have intended, at the time of the transfer, to dispossess himself of an identified interest, or some part thereof, and to vest indefeasible title in the transferee. 
  • Here, the documents appointed the insurer as the agent and granted it authority in the nature of a power of attorney to make such payments. 
  • As such, each was revocable, so neither was an assignment. 
  • Therefore, the health care facility could not bring the instant suit.

The judgment was affirmed.

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