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Florida Supreme Court to hear ‘PIP' payment dispute

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(Photo by Tim Ross)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A divided Florida Supreme Court has decided to take up a dispute about how much State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should pay to a firm that provided MRI services to auto-accident victims.

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will take up the case pitting State Farm and MRI Associates of Tampa, which does business as Park Place MRI.

Justices were split, however, about whether to wade into the case.

Chief Justice Charles Canady and justices Jorge Labarga, Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck supported hearing the case, while justices Ricky Polston, Alan Lawson and Carlos Muniz dissented, according to Wednesday’s order.

The court did not immediately schedule oral arguments.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal last year ruled in favor of State Farm in the case, which centered on 19 MRI claims for people who were injured in auto accidents in 2013 and had personal-injury protection coverage.

The insurer paid portions of the bills submitted for the MRIs, limiting the payments to a schedule of charges in the state’s so-called PIP law.

The MRI firm challenged the insurer’s payment decision.

While the 2nd District Court of Appeal sided with State Farm, it also asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issues in the case, a step known as certifying a question of “great public importance.”