Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable Jennifer M. Phillips, Judge
Before: Lisa White Hardwick, Presiding Judge, Gary Witt,
Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge
Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin (American Standard)
appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment to
Truman Medical Center, Inc. (Truman Medical) on Truman
Medical's First Amended Petition to Enforce
Hospital's Lien Pursuant to Section 430.250, RSMo. 2000.
American Standard argues that the court erred in granting a
judgment enforcing the lien because the lien was not a valid
and enforceable lien under Section 430.240, RSMo Cum. Supp.
2013, because the lien notice failed to include the name of
the person alleged to be liable to the injured person and,
further, Truman Medical failed to perfect the alleged
hospital lien by supplementing the lien notice once the
identity of the person alleged to be liable to the injured
person became known. We affirm.
is no dispute regarding the underlying facts. On November 19,
2013, Charles Fanning was involved in an automobile accident
with a driver insured by American Standard. Fanning received
treatment at Truman Medical for injuries he sustained as a
result of the accident. He had outstanding medical bills in
the amount of $4, 347.02 arising out of that treatment.
Fanning claimed that the injuries sustained and the resulting
damages were caused by the negligence of American
Standard's insured driver.
day of the accident, Fanning was interviewed by an agent of
Truman Medical. Fanning advised the agent about his claim
with American Standard, including the claim number, but he
could not recall the name of the woman who collided with his
vehicle, only saying "a lady" ran a stop sign.
Truman Medical's attorney contacted American Standard on
behalf of Truman Medical to verify the claim information
prior to sending the hospital lien notice. There was
apparently no discussion regarding the name of the
"lady" who had insurance liability coverage through
American Standard. On November 25, 2013, Truman Medical sent
a written lien notice to American Standard regarding
treatment it provided to Fanning for injuries sustained in
the accident. The notice stated that the "name of the
person or persons, firm or firms, corporation or corporations
alleged to be liable to Charles Ray Fanning for the injuries
received is unknown." No party disputes that Truman
Medical was actually unaware at the time the lien notice was
sent of the name of the woman alleged to have caused
Standard received Truman Medical's lien notice and
matched it to the correct claim file. Fanning's attorney
wrote to American Standard on April 22, 2014, making an offer
to settle Fanning's claim for $25, 000.00, citing the
treatment at Truman Medical as related to the accident.
American Standard considered Fanning's medical bills from
Truman Medical in evaluating Fanning's claim and when
making an offer of settlement to Fanning. American Standard
had a discussion with Fanning's attorney regarding the
validity of Truman Medical's lien, and decided not to pay
the lien because American Standard did not believe the lien
to be valid. On or about June 20, 2014, American Standard
settled Fanning's claim for $25, 000.00. No portion of
the settlement was paid by American Standard to Truman
Medical for the medical services rendered to Fanning stemming
from the accident associated with the settlement.
Medical filed suit pursuant to Section 430.250 to enforce its
lien. American Standard refused to honor the lien contending
that the lien was invalid pursuant to Section 430.250.
American Standard argued that Section 430.250 provides that a
lien is only valid if the requirements of Section 430.240 are
complied with, and Section 430.240 requires that the lien
notice include the name of the tortfeasor alleged to be
liable for the injuries the hospital provided services for;
because Truman Medical's lien notice did not include the
name of the lady whose collision with Fanning caused Fanning
injuries, the lien was ineffective. Truman Medical disagreed
and argued that Section 430.240 only requires designation of
the tortfeasor if that person or entity was actually known at
the time the lien notice was drafted.
Truman Medical and American Standard filed motions for
summary judgment on stipulated facts. In its judgment the
court indicated that the "sole legal question before
this Court is the importance of the words 'if known'
in R.S.Mo. § 430.240." The court ultimately
While the statute is confusing as written, this Court reads
R.S.Mo. § 430.240 to waive both the requirement
to mail the lien notice of the allegedly liable party and the
requirement to list the name of the allegedly liable party in
the written notice. The inclusion of the phrase 'if
known' recognizes that a hospital might have only partial
information about a patient's accident. It seems the
intent of the inclusion of the phrase 'if known' was
to excuse a hospital from including this information that it
didn't know or could not know. Courts should presume that
the legislature intended that every word, clause, sentence,
and provision of a statute have effect. Steven v.
Residential Funding Corp., 334 S.W.3d 477, 498 (Mo. App.
2010). A hospital can only include information in a lien
notice insofar as it has the information to include.
circuit court granted Truman Medical's motion for summary
judgment, denied American Standard's motion for summary
judgment, and entered judgment in favor of Truman Medical and
against American Standard in the amount of $4, 346.02.
American Standard appeals.
propriety of summary judgment is purely an issue of law"
and, therefore, our review of a summary judgment is de
novo. ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine
Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). We
will affirm the circuit court's grant of summary judgment
if no genuine issues of material fact exist and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Id. at 381.
review questions of statutory interpretation de
novo. Ivie v. Smith, 439 S.W.3d 189, 202 (Mo.
banc 2014). Our primary rule of statutory interpretation is
to give effect to the legislative intent as reflected in the
plain language of the statute at issue. Id. We will
look beyond the plain meaning of the statute only when the
language is ambiguous or would lead to an absurd or illogical
result. Bateman v. Rinehart, 391 S.W.3d 441, 446
(Mo. banc 2013).
A statute is ambiguous when its plain language does not
answer the current dispute as to its meaning. Ambiguities in
statutes are resolved by determining the intent of the
legislature and by giving effect to its intent if possible.
When determining the legislative intent of a statute, no
portion of the statute is read in isolation, but rather the
portions are read in context to harmonize all of the
statute's provisions. Rules of statutory construction are
used to ...