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First-party no-fault (PIP), uninsured motorist benefits

Motor Vehicle Litigation / April 30, 2020

Court/Case No: 16th Circuit Judicial Court /19-2528-NF

Tried/Argued Before: Judge

Demand: Co-Defendant demanded pro-rata split of Plaintiff’s alleged damages

Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted

Name of Judge(s): Honorable Carl J. Marlinga

Keys to the Case:

Plaintiff filed a first-party no-fault and uninsured motorist benefits action against two no-fault insurers claiming they were responsible for damages allegedly incurred in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a paying passenger in a vehicle being operated through a ride share application. The ride share company’s insurer (Co-Defendant) and Plaintiff asserted that Defendant was liable pro-rata for Plaintiff’s alleged damages pursuant to a personal policy of insurance that listed the vehicle at issue.

Defendant asserted that the personal policy of insurance contained provisions that excluded all benefits owed to individuals while the vehicle was being operated to carry persons for charge and had alternative qualifying insurance in effect. Plaintiff and Co-Defendant refused to acknowledge the provisions were applicable. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Disposition alleging there was not a genuine issue of material fact that the policy contained provisions which excluded all benefits to any individuals occupying listed vehicles being operated for a charge to carry persons at the time of loss. Plaintiff and Co-Defendant asserted the plain language of the policy provisions at issue did not contain applicable exclusions.

In reply, Defendant walked the judge through the provisions, the application of the multiple defined terms contained within the provisions, and how, when read contemporaneously with other sections of the policy, the at issue provisions unambiguously excluded all benefits. Therefore, the judge was mandated by the cited case law to enforce the policy as written and dismiss all actions against Defendant arising from the motor vehicle accident. The judge granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Disposition during oral arguments and an order was entered that day.

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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